Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Restorative Health Solutions blog!
This is the third and final article about gluten sensitivity. In case you’ve missed out, the first gluten post talked about the myriad of symptoms that gluten can cause (add link to first article here). The second post was about gluten testing and how standard blood tests are missing many people (add link to second article here).
This article is particularly about solving the gluten problem. What is the “cure” for celiac disease? Officially, a gluten-free diet is the treatment for celiac disease. If you need help on how to go gluten-free, this is not the post for you. We have a pamphlet we hand out to our patients and there are numerous websites and books devoted to gluten free diets that you can easily access. If only this whole problem were as simple as just not eating gluten. Let’s look at some research to see what a gluten-free diet does for patient’s suffering from Celiac disease.
Celiac Disease Review published a 2007 article from the New England Journal of Medicine that says the following: “The therapy for [Celiac Disease] is a gluten-free diet; however, the response to therapy is poor in up to 30% of patients.” According to this review, 7/10 celiacs achieve good results going on a gluten free diet, but 3/10 do not get better! What happens if you are in the 3/10!? Let’s look at another study. This study looked at 465 patients with Celiac disease before and after going on a gluten-free diet for 16 months. According to the study, 8% of patients had complete resolution, 65% got better, 26% had no change, and 1% had continued deterioration .
These articles were astounding to us! Finally, we could make sense of patients walking into our office saying “I don’t think my gluten-free diet is working.” These articles helped me realize this happens “up to 30% of patients!” The question we wanted to know next is “why?” Why or how does this happen to people? The answer came when we were introduced to PhD immunologist, Dr. Vojdani. He explained to us the concept of “cross-reactive foods”. To an immunologist, antibody cross-reactivity is: The ability of an antibody to react with similar antigenic sites on different proteins. This means different food proteins can “activate” the gluten allergy response! The food most commonly cross reacting food with gluten is casein (dairy). Hence, if you’ve done some searching you’ve probably found some articles or posts about gluten and dairy-free diets. While dairy is common, Dr. Vojdani put together a lab of common cross reactants to gluten you can find at www.cyrexlabs.com under Array 4. This lab tests dairy, oats, coffee, sesame, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, millet, hemp, amaranth, tapioca, teff, soy, egg, rice, and potato for their gluten cross-reactivity (a little different than a traditional allergy test but I won’t go into the details here).
This test has been a phenomenal tool in our practice. It has helped many people that try so hard to eat right, but still don’t get the results. It provides an individualized blue print for what is causing you problems and has been a life-saver for our patients who went gluten-free, but still didn’t get results.
In conclusion to our gluten series, let us give you a “To-Do List.”
1. If you have Celiac disease, thyroid disease, or almost any other chronic illness that is bothering you (especially if you have any autoimmune disease) please try going gluten-free. If you read the new book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, you will realize gluten causes problems all over your body and going gluten-free can have DRAMATIC effects on people. Something I must point out is gluten-free is like being pregnant. You either are, or you aren’t. There is no such thing as kind of or mostly gluten-free. Just as there is no such thing as kind of pregnant. If you are going to go gluten-free, then you must do it completely and I recommend 3-6 months before you make a judgment call on it.
2. If you have already gone gluten-free and still have symptoms, please consider the possibility of cross-reacting foods in yourself. We recommend looking into the Cyrex Labs Array 4 panel to help you determine if cross-reacting foods are a big deal for you.
At Restorative Health Solutions, we provide a unique approach to your health. We take on a personalized/individualized approach to each patient’s case. We pride ourselves on figuring out the “why” and are determined to find the underlying cause of dysfunction in our patients’ health and, therefore, help them heal. If you are interested in what functional medicine can do for you, please give us a call at 952-479-7801 for a free 15-minute phone consultation!