Have you ever wondered why going gluten free hasn’t solved your problems? You may know to avoid gluten if you have the autoimmune disorder Celiac disease, but did you know current research indicates going gluten free will not solve all of your problems? The single most important aspect of celiac and gluten sensitivity is a gluten free diet.
Conventional medicine agrees that the proper treatment of Celiac disease is a gluten free diet, but that’s not enough. One of the preeminent Celiac research institutions, the University of Chicago indicated:
“While healing may take up to 2 years for many older adults, new research shows that the small intestines of up to 60% of adults never completely heal, especially when adherence to the diet is less than optimal.”
Those odds are bleak! You may think that this indicates those people are not following a strict gluten free diet, right? Wrong! A 2009 study from the Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics indicated that after studying 465 Celiac disease patients only 8% of the group reached “histological normalization” after following a strict gluten free diet for 16 months. That is, only 8% of the group regained a healthy gut! Their final conclusion:
“Complete normalization of duodenal lesions is exceptionally rare in adult coeliac patients despite adherence to GFD.”
Top Ten Reasons People With Celiac Disease Fail To Heal
It’s a jungle out there but with the right tools and support you to can become symptom free and avoid some of the most common diseases affecting people with Celiac!
1) Continued Exposure to Gluten – Experts agree that the single most important thing post diagnosis is removing gluten from your lifestyle. This may sound obvious and a “duh”, but in reality gluten is everywhere around us. From cooking surfaces, shared kitchen spaces and cosmetics, gluten contaminates our entire environment! Were you aware that gluten is used as a clarifying agent in alcohols and other solutions? What’s more, the company doesn’t have to disclose if they used a clarifying agent in their wine! This may make you pause and consider where that glass of wine is coming from at dinner. The hardest aspect I’ve found is educating other people around you that this is not a fad, it is a serious condition and if it is not treated as such your health will suffer from cross-contamination or direct exposure. For example, I went to dinner with my family last night to a Thai restaurant we frequent commonly. They had a kids menu and we ordered sweet and sour beef for the kids. My first tip that something was abnormal was a menu change. I spoke with the waiter and she assured me it was gluten free. But, when the meal came out it was clearly breaded and after I asked the waiter again she notified me the sauce was gluten free but the meat was not! The problem was corrected but if I had not had my gluten radar up there would have most likely been serious tantrums and nightmares later that night! Learning to identify these hidden sources is incredibly important and although it may seem like a foreign language at first it is critical you become fluent!
2) Failing to Heal Leaky Gut – Have you heard this buzzword? In academic research it is called intestinal permeability and is the underpinning how the Celiac disease process starts. Alessio Fassano, MD originally found that a protein called zonulin became the target of our immune system’s attack, allowing a large influx of materials into the bloodstream. This starts a vicious circle of inflammation which triggers the auto-immune process. Genetics, Environmental influences and Triggers are the back drop of this process and to heal permeability the environment and triggers must be removed to stop the auto-immune process!
3) Failing to Heal Dysbiosis.
4) Micronutrient Deficiencies.
5) Macro nutrient deficiencies (fats, proteins, carbohydrates).
6) Vitamin D Deficiency.
7) Impaired Detoxification.
8) Abnormal Microbiota.
9) Identifying Concurrent Disease Processes – Are you aware that the second most common autoimmune diagnosis after Celiac is Hashimoto’s? Brain fog, inability to lose weight, anxiety and depression are hallmarks of this disease and many times the patient has no idea! Working with a qualified functional medicine practitioner can help determine what labs are necessary to plot a course of treatment!
10) No back up plan when exposures happen – Have you been glutened? Unfortunately, so have I! There is no way we can navigate our environment without hidden exposures. We can lessen the occurrence but unfortunately they are part of life. I have a few tips and tricks including smart supplementation that can help create a safety net so that when it happens, the impact is dramatically less!
You may have been suffering for years or you may just suspect there is a problem that has been undiagnosed. Whatever your situation, we can help provide you with the information to start taking charge of your health immediately!
Let Your Health Soar,
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP, CGP