I recently attended a seminar on gluten sensitivity… a “quickie” 6 hour overview based on 14,000 medically published research articles. I’m still compiling all of the new research, but basically if you have a gluten sensitivity, it just wreaks havoc on your system.
If gluten sensitive, gluten initiates the inflammation response, and the body starts attacking itself, which is why it is associated with a myriad of auto-immune diseases.
If it affects the small intestine (which it does in some, but certainly not all cases), it also affects absorption in two major ways:
1) Villous Atrophy – the “shag carpet” lining of your small intestine increases surface area for absorption of nutrients. Each shag is nutrient-specific. This can become “Berber carpeting,” decreasing your ability to absorb vital nutrients (ex. calcium, mal-absorption of which can lead to osteoporosis).
2) Increased Intestinal Permeability – “leaky gut”… your intestinal walls end up with micro-holes that allow macromolecules and antigens, including microbial antigens, usually too large to enter the bloodstream, into the bloodstream. Not good. One consequence can be increased reactivity to other foods (ex. a new food allergy to tomatoes).
To hear a great webinar (1 hour long) by Dr. O’Bryan (the chiropractor who compiled the research and is educating the medical community on gluten sensitivity), go to http://www.metagenics.com/webinars/ <http://www.metagenics.com/webinars/>.
June 10th by Dr. O’Bryan is the best place to start. Additional webinars are on July 15th and August 12th.
You have to give your name and email address to view, but no worries, they won’t spam you.
These include, but are not limited to, thyroid problems , fibromyalgia, chronic pain, muscle atrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, brain lesions, neurological problems, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, cancer, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), mal-absorption issues, psychological disorders (including schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa), and Type I diabetes.
To date, research indicates not that gluten sensitivity is the cause every time, but that it is a cause enough of the time to warrant testing, or even better, (complete) abstinence from gluten for at least a month to see how the body reacts to the non-exposure. Improvement during the month indicates a gluten sensitivity. (Non-improvement does NOT, however, rule out gluten sensitivity.)
HISTORICAL AND STILL COMMON MISCONCEPTION:
A common misconception is that someone with a gluten sensitivity will have outward signs and symptoms (many times they DO NOT) or that he/she will have dysfunction in the small intestine or bowels and will show villous atrophy in a biopsy of the small intestine. This is true in some cases, but again, many times the sensitivity will not even affect the small intestine, OR it will show up much sooner as an increased number of lymphocytes in the tissue (up to 7 years before villous atrophy takes place).
Still getting the ins and outs of this down. However, from what I understand, the best course seems to be to take a few months off of gluten and see how your body likes it. Dr. O’Bryan has all of his patients start with a month off of gluten, sugar, caffeine (except for green tea), and dairy. Of course, it’s best to work with a trained nutritionist, knowledgeable chiropractor, naturopath, or integrative manual therapist who can monitor lab results and other changes in your body, such as body mass index, to make sure you are still getting the proper nutrition while abstaining.
There are two major tricky parts to a month gluten free.
1) 20-30% of patients will not show improvement or will show decreased improvement due to still having mal-absorption issues. This is where it’s especially important to work with someone who can do some testing and monitor vitamin and nutrient absorption, etc.
2) The other tricky part is the “COMPLETE.” A few mg of gluten in a month can prevent improvement, and it has lots of sneaky ways of being in your food. (Ex. Gluten is in wheat, rye, barley, and soy sauce and can be in vinegars (red wine or apple cider is OK), natural flavors, maltodextrin, corn syrup, etc.) See below for some references. Easiest to stick to non-processed whole foods as much as possible.
At this point most of the testing has not fully caught up with the most recent research. Much of the medical community is still unaware of the research and latest findings also. A brand new saliva test exists that is supposed to be more in-line with newer findings, but I was unable to find it on the site he referenced. (The test may have not been officially released yet).
GLUTEN FREE REFERENCES:
http://www.missionhillspt.com <http://www.missionhillspt.com> – Ralph Havens PT, OCS, IMTC recommends eliminating gluten and artificial sweeteners to ALL patients as he finds it produces such great clinical results and due to the research above. He does various detoxes and supplements also and is starting a series of weekly classes and community evenings addressing nutrition and how to go gluten-free. Let me know if you’d like to be on the info list.
(For more info on artificial sweeteners, see documentary “sweet misery” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-566922170441334340)
glutenfreegirl.com – Personal story of one gluten-free girl – her journey going gluten free, the results, and resources for anyone going GF.
celiac.com – of course, has lists of “safe” and “non-safe” ingredients.
Alright! Hope that was helpful… of course let me know if you have any questions – I’ll certainly help anyway I can!!!
Take care and stay in touch…
MHPT Field Consultant