celiac disease

  • Advanced Natural Therapies for Celiac Disease

    There is no doubt that the most important treatment for Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity is a gluten-free diet. However, in most cases it takes more than the avoidance of gluten for optimal health to be achieved. There are several Naturopathic treatments available to help restore the health of people with Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity. In this week's column we will focus on Intravenous Nutrient Infusions.

    Intravenous Nutrient Infusions can be a very important part of treatment for people with compromised digestive systems. This is because, for these people, nutrients from oral supplementation and diet are typically absorbed very poorly into the body. By using the intravenous administration we avoid the compromised digestive system and ensure complete absorption.

    Intravenous Nutrient Infusions are not intended to replace optimal nutrition and supplementation. However, they are intended to replenish the body's nutrient status and repair damaged tissue in a relatively rapid manner.

    There are 5 main advantages to intravenous nutrient infusions for people with compromised digestion. First of all, the nutrients administered in the IV are 100% absorbed into the bloodstream. This gives the body the best chance to get these nutrients to all the cells of the body. This is extremely important for the damaged and inflamed cells of the intestines as they immediately become infused with the nutrients. This stimulates repair faster and more efficiently than oral supplementation.

    Secondly, the dosage administered in the IV can be much higher and more potent than the oral route. For vitamin C, magnesium, and several B vitamins to have a therapeutic effect they must be given in relatively high doses. The high doses can not be achieved in oral supplementation because of the side effects like diarrhea and digestive upset. However, these therapeutic doses can be achieved in the intravenous infusions without adverse effects.

    Thirdly, when vitamins, minerals, amino acids, homeopathics and other nutrients are administered intravenously they do not go through the liver before going to the other cells of the body. This is very important because it means the nutrients are not altered. When nutrients are administered orally they must pass through and get processed in the liver before they make to any other cell in the body. This can add burden to the liver and reduce the potency of the nutrients given.

    Fourthly, specific nutrients like glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, and homeopathic medicines can be used in combination with the basic vitamins and minerals to support multiple parts of the body in one treatment. There are hundreds of intravenous nutrient infusion formulas that can be used to treat very specific disease processes in the body and support recovery. Intravenous Infusions are not a one size fits all approach.

    Lastly, we find Intravenous Nutrient Infusions to be very cost effective over the long run. For people with compromised digestive systems like in Celiac Disease there can be a great deal of time, energy, and money wasted on oral supplements that are not absorbed effectively. A lot of time, energy, and money is also spent on other therapies that are not nearly as effective as Intravenous Infusions. IV therapies can help rapidly repair the digestive system and other tissues of the body so that there is less need for intense oral supplementation and other treatments.

    In the next column we will investigate the use of Neural Therapy for the treatment of Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity.

  • Celiac Disease and Oral Health

    Celiac Disease and Oral Health Flora Stay

    Celiac disease is one of the most common chronic genetic autoimmune disorders in the world and can affect children and adults. Individuals with this disorder have permanent intolerance to gluten, which is a protein in wheat, rye, barley and related grains. The gluten leads to damage of the small intestine lining. Heredity plays a role in the onset of the condition with symptoms occurring through an autoimmune function.

    According to the National Institute of Health, in the United States, celiac disease affects an estimated two million individuals, or one in 133 people and occurs twice as often in females. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet. This disorder can start at any age when the diet first includes gluten.

    With celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine that eventually leads to inflammation and damage of the small intestine's lining. With this damage, food is not absorbed properly, called malabsorption. With malabsorption, vital nutrients cannot be delivered to the brain, nervous system, bone, liver and other organs.

    • Due to malabsorption, children with celiac disease can experience growth and developmental problems. There is no cure for celiac disease. Following a strict gluten-free diet helps management of symptoms. The common symptoms associated with celiac disease include the following, however, some people may have no symptoms.
    • Abdominal pain (especially after eating)
    • Bloating
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss
    • Dermatitis
    • Osteoporosis
    • Dental defects

    Oral Manifestation of Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease has particular signs that show up orally, and dentists can have an initial important role in recognizing and identifying it in people who may not know they have the disorder. It's estimated 90 percent of individuals in North America remain undiagnosed. Early referral to a gastroenterologist and treatment can help prevent complications of this gluten intolerance condition.

    If celiac disease appears before age seven, the outer surface of the teeth (enamel) can have an abnormal appearance. The permanent teeth will show the following defects:

    • Delayed eruption of teeth
    • Cream, yellow or brown spots on the surface
    • Rough surface with grooves and shallow pits
    • Shape of tooth may be dramatically changed

    These same oral symptoms can be caused by other dental conditions. In fact, dentists may diagnose the abnormal appearance of colored spots enamel to a condition caused by too much fluoride or that the mother took the antibiotic tetracycline during pregnancy.

    Other oral related conditions of celiac disease include:

    • Recurring mouth ulcers (canker sores also known as aphthous ulcers)
    • Dry mouth
    • Red, smooth, shiny tongue (atrophic glossitis)
    • Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer of the pharynx and mouth)

    Treatment of Oral Manifestations of Celiac Disease

    Unfortunately, tooth defects that result from celiac disease are permanent and don't improve with a gluten-free diet. However, there are treatments that your dentist can provide to help improve esthetics. These include:

    • Tooth bonding to improve slight defects
    • Veneers to improve the whole front surface of the tooth
    • Crowns for teeth that are damaged throughout

    Veneers and crowns are cosmetic solutions for older children and adults, while tooth bonding can also help with children's teeth.

    For dry mouth, avoid toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate. This harsh detergent can dry the tissues and exacerbate mouth sores. Mouthwash with alcohol also tends to worsen dry mouth.

    For canker sores, it's reported taking 500 mg of the amino acid L Lysine helps to reduce the occurrence and hasten healing.

    Proper oral hygiene is crucial towards maintaining oral health, especially if you notice dry mouth. Harmful bacteria thrive in a dry oral environment. To keep the bacteria from causing gum disease, practice proper oral hygiene on a daily bases. Of course, regular dental check ups are important to detect early potential problems.

  • Diagnosing Celiac Disease Grain Sensitivity

    It takes on average 10 years for someone to be accurately diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This is in part because many medical practitioners are not looking for Celiac Disease and in part because of the less than perfect testing methods.


    Celiac Disease is considered by many to be an extremely rare condition and therefore is not often considered as a possibility. However, in North America, Celiac Disease affects somewhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 200 people. This means that between 5 to 10 people in a group of 1000 will have Celiac Disease. That's not too rare if you ask me or anyone suffering from the symptoms of Celiac Disease. Unfortunately, most of these people will be unaware for many years if they ever do get an accurate diagnosis.

    Grain Sensitivity is probably more common than Celiac Disease but it is diagnosed much less frequently. The reasons for the low rates of diagnosis are basically the same. Most medical practitioners are not looking for Grain Sensitivity as a contributing factor to their patients' ill health and many practitioners are not aware of how to test for Grain Sensitivity.

    The "Gold Standard" test for diagnosing Celiac Disease is a biopsy of the small intestine. In fact, the biopsy is considered to be the only definitive testing measure. Blood tests like tissue transglutaminase are available and utilized as a screening tool but are not considered to be diagnostic. You may ask, what is the problem? It seems like it is pretty simple. For patients who have any possible symptom of Celiac Disease you should run a blood test to screen for it then do a biopsy if the blood tests are positive to confirm the diagnosis. This sounds great but unfortunately these testing measures are not perfect.

    We do not know how accurate or inaccurate biopsies of the small intestine are in diagnosing Celiac Disease. They are believed to be the most accurate test available but that does not mean they are perfect. The small intestine is over 20 feet long and it is quite possible to obtain a sample from a section of the small intestine not affected by Celiac Disease. And, what about diagnosing Grain Sensitivities where there may be no inflammatory response in the intestines?

    I have seen a number of patients who have been tested for Celiac Disease and were told that they do not have it. I have also seen a large number of patients who have done skin prick allergy testing for food allergies, including wheat, and been told that they have no allergy or sensitivity. These people, with significant symptoms and health conditions are told that gluten and wheat are not playing a role in their health problems. However, when we remove gluten from the diet and accurately test for food allergens through blood testing we often find that wheat and/or gluten are significant contributing factors to their health concerns.

    The main message I would like to communicate in this article is that Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity are often not considered and often have false negative results with the standard testing measures when they are considered. If a person's health improves when they eat gluten-free or wheat-free does it really matter what the lab tests results say? If symptoms disappear and the person feels better perhaps this is the most important test of all.

    In the next column we will discuss the conventional medical approach for treating Celiac Disease.

  • Neural Therapy for Celiac Disease

    Neural Therapy is one of the treatments I use most in my practice because it is a method of treatment that works with the nervous system (neural means nerves). More specifically it works with the autonomic nervous system, which is the wing of the nervous system that is not under conscious control. It is the part of the nervous system that controls things like heart rate, digestion, liver metabolism, breathing, kidney perfusion, and the function of other organs. Neural Therapy can help restore optimal function of these organs by supporting optimal function of the nerves sending information to and from them.

    In most Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity cases the autonomic nervous system is not functioning optimally, especially around the organs of the digestive system. This is because these organs have been continually aggravated with exposure to wheat and gluten over years or decades. Once diet has been improved Neural Therapy can be a very effective way to restore healthy function of the organs of digestion.

    Neural Therapy is also known as German acupuncture because it is a therapy largely developed in Germany and it utilizes many Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points. However, instead of using acupuncture needles it employs therapeutic injections of the acupuncture points with homeopathic medicines, B vitamins, and local anesthetics like procaine. Both acupuncture and Neural Therapy can be used to support the function of the stomach, pancreas, small intestine, colon, liver, and gall bladder. However, I have found that Neural Therapy often works faster because it utilizes therapeutic injections into the acupuncture points. Restoring the health of these organs is of utmost importance for people with Celiac Disease and Grain sensitivity and Neural Therapy is the treatment I use most to achieve this.

    Scar tissue formation is another major issue for many people with Celiac Disease or Grain Sensitivity. The most significant cause of scar tissue for these patients is surgery. Gall bladder removal, exploratory laparoscopy, appendectomy, hysterectomy, and C-section scars are extremely common and often prevent optimal function of the organs near the scar tissue. Neural Therapy is the most effective treatment for Scar tissue because it can break down scar tissue and restore the nervous system conduction through the tissue. This improves the function of the nearby organs by improving the information flowing to and from these organs.

    Neural Therapy is a very cost effective form of treatment because long term restoration of the nervous system, scar tissue, and organs can be achieved with relatively few treatments. This usually means that less supplementation and other treatments are required. Most people prefer taking fewer supplements and Neural Therapy is a very effective way to get results with less supplementation.

    The most important part of treatment for Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity is the avoidance of wheat and gluten-containing foods. However, doing that alone is not enough to restore optimal health in most cases. Neural Therapy in conjunction with Intravenous Infusions, and some specific supplementation makes the most effective treatment protocol to treat Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity and promote optimal health.

    In the next column we will examine the most important oral supplements for the treatment of Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity.

  • Supplements For Celiac Disease and Grain Sensitivity

    In this week's column we will investigate the 3 most important oral supplements for repairing the integrity of the digestive system.

    Glutamine
    Glutamine is an amino acid found in most foods containing protein. However, to obtain enough glutamine to have therapeutic effects one must take it as a supplement in capsule or powder form. Glutamine is a very important nutrient for repairing damage and rebuilding the integrity of the cells that line the intestines. These cells gobble up glutamine like it is going out of style. They use glutamine to rebuild their structural components so they can withstand the rigors of existence in the digestive tract. Relatively high doses of glutamine should be taken for several months in order for optimal healing to occur.

    Probiotic Bacteria
    Probiotic bacteria are the "good guys". They are the native bacteria that live along our digestive tracts. Species like acidophilus, bifidus, and hundreds of other species colonize our digestive system and live in harmony with the cells of our intestines. Basically, we give these bacteria a home to live in and they keep that home neat, tidy, and clean no matter what we throw at them. However, people with digestive system disorders like Celiac Disease and Wheat Sensitivity typically have an imbalance of the "good" bacteria vs. "bad" bacteria and yeast species. A major part of treatment is to use probiotic bacteria to restore a healthy population of the "good guys" and dismantle the "bad guys". For probiotics to be therapeutically useful you must take in more than is available in most yogurts. In fact, I typically recommend a probiotic with at least 20-30 billion live organisms per day.

    Essential Fatty Acids
    Essential fatty acids are amongst the most important nutrients for all of us. They play several crucial roles in every cell of the body. The most significant may be the role they play in the cell membrane. This is the outer lining of a cell. The cell membrane is where most of the cell-to-cell communication takes place. It is also the part of the cell that allows nutrients and other molecules either into or out of the cell. When cells of the digestive tract are damaged by the inflammatory processes associated with digestive disorders like Celiac Disease and Wheat Sensitivity they need higher than normal amounts of essential fatty acids for optimal repair.

    The most important essential fatty acid for the digestive system is an omega 3 fatty acid called EPA. This is a highly anti-inflammatory molecule that helps to damper down inflammation in the digestive system so that repair can begin. However, it is best to take more than just EPA because the other types of essential fatty acids also play crucial roles in repair. The best sources of essential fatty acids are purified fish oils, hemp oil, and flax oil. However, there is a great deal of other benefits in consuming some essential fatty acids from flax seeds, hemp seeds, or chia seeds. These sources also provide extremely healthy forms of fibre that supports the proper elimination of toxins from the bowel.

  • Urban Legend: The Whole Grain Scam

    You can’t swing a rope without hearing some spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association tell you how great whole grains are and how you should make them a big part of your diet.

    “Whole grains” are definitely better than processed grains. The question is “how much better” and the answer is… not so much.

    Sure, this sounds like nutritional heresy, but consider the facts. Processed grains—like most cereals, pastas and breads—are bad because...

    1. They contain almost no nutrients (except the ones the manufacturers put back in with “fortification”).
    2. They contain minimal fiber.
    3. They are almost always high on the glycemic scale, meaning they raise your blood sugar quickly. This inevitably leads to a sequence of events resulting in energy fluctuations, cravings, and for some, the fogginess and mood swings associated with low blood sugar.

    Whole grains are supposed to offer the solution to the problems of processed grains, but the truth of the matter is... they don’t. Grains—unlike fruits, vegetables and most nuts—can never be eaten without some processing. You can’t pluck a stalk of wheat and start chowing down. Even a natural, whole grain has to be turned into a food, and its “natural” state is much farther from “edible” than a berry or a carrot.

    “If your whole grains have been ground into flour, then it’s not whole grain anymore,” says Todd Narson, DC. “The flour in these products was once a whole grain but it isn’t anymore.” Big food companies love to proclaim their products are a “good source of whole grains” but read the ingredients, not the advertising copy on the package. “Whole grain flour” is only marginally better than regular flour.

    It’s amazing how many people buy into the conventional wisdom about grains being a great source of fiber. They’re not. Most commercial breads have one or two grams of fiber at best, and there’s not much difference between the amount of fiber found in breads made with whole grain flours and the amount of fiber found in breads made with white flour. For comparison, a cup of beans contains between 11–17 grams of fiber, and half a Florida avocado contains 8.5. Those are real high-fiber foods.

    Then there’s the blood sugar issue. Because whole grains— in theory—are higher in fiber, they are supposed to have a much more muted effect on blood sugar.

    But that’s not always the case. A quick glance at the glycemic load tables shows there’s only a few points difference between white spaghetti and whole wheat spaghetti, and brown rice and white rice are within spitting distance of each other. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good things in brown rice that aren’t found in white rice, but it does mean if you’re trying to control your blood sugar, whole grains are very far from a “free lunch”.

    Finally, there’s the gluten issue. Gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley and rye—is a very reactive substance that causes a lot of problems for an awful lot of people. Shari Lieberman, PhD, CNS linked gluten to an enormous range of symptoms and disorders including neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, and digestive disorders, and that’s just for openers. Dr. Leiberman suspected gluten sensitivity may be an issue in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anemia, asthma and many other conditions.

    Many people who have tried going off gluten report remarkable improvements in a host of symptoms they hadn’t suspected were linked to their food. If gluten might be a problem for you, whole grains won’t solve it.

    So does this mean you should discard the concept of eating whole grains? No. But read labels carefully. Try to find “flourless” breads, or those made from sprouted grains. Check the fiber content on the nutritional facts label.

    And remember, there’s no basic physiological need for grains in the human diet, so don’t worry too much about it if grains just aren’t doing it for you.

    Eat them if you like—but if you’re one of the many people who feel better without them, don’t give it a second thought.

  • Why Choose Organic?

    Why Choose Organic? Elly McGuinness

    You may have heard that ‘going organic’ is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it’s such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason 1: Glyphosate
    You may be aware that organic food and products are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Advocates of conventional farming (the type that does allow use of these artificial substances) argue that recommended levels of these chemicals are not exceeded.

    This statement may be true for one chemical in one product but it does not consider the sheer number of potentially toxic chemicals that we are subjected to in modern society—in our food, our water, in the materials we use to make products and clothing, and in the air we breathe.

    A chemical may be tested and found to be safe at a certain level, but it is unlikely that the full cocktail of chemicals contained in a product have been tested. Molecular biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini has demonstrated that the full formulations of pesticides are much stronger than the declared active ingredient. Additionally, the ‘active’ ingredient may not be the most toxic ingredient in pesticide formulations.1

    Coupled with these issues, there is little consideration for variations in sensitivity between individuals, nor for the consequences of being exposed to so many different chemicals over the course of a day, or a lifetime.

    Glyphosate is a chemical under hot discussion in the farming world. Being on the market in the form of the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, virtually all conventional produce and food products contain traces of this chemical. As with all subjects of debate, there are many studies that claim Roundup herbicide poses no risk to humans.2

    However, in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies.3,4,5

    Advocates for organic farming believe it is wise to err on the side of caution—who wants to risk a build-up of toxic residue that could lead to serious health problems? It is much safer to ban ‘questionable’ chemical ingredients and to find a proven safe alternative than to live by the mantra of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    The links between glyphosate and a wide range of health concerns and conditions are becoming increasingly evident. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found strong links between glyphosate use, and the rise in celiac disease. She explains that the villi in the gut are destroyed by glyphosate, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and can result in gut problems.6

    Glyphosate has been highlighted as a potential endocrine disruptor7 and has shown a strong correlation with the increased incidence of many diseases, from cancer to dementia, to autism.8,9,10 The World Health organization lists the adverse health effects caused by glyphosate as airway, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, abdominal, pain, nausea, vomiting, shock, dyspnea, respiratory failure.11

    For consumers who are not convinced about the safety of food production methods using synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate, the only ways to currently drastically reduce exposure are by choosing certified organic produce and products, growing your own, or by getting food from a local farmer who you know is not using these chemicals.12,13,14

    For those who are not sure how to start shifting from a conventional to an organic diet, or who have concerns around personal budgeting restraints, a good place to start making changes is by focusing on the ‘dirty dozen’— a list of the twelve foods in New Zealand that have been identified as having the highest pesticide residues.

    Reason 2: Healthy soil, healthy body
    Many people are now choosing organic as one way to help optimize their health and wellbeing. The vitamin and mineral content of fresh produce and other foods will vary based on how the soil is cared for, the environment they are grown in, and how they are processed, among other things.

    In organic farming, caring for the soil is of the utmost importance, because it forms the basis for health, for all life forms. As Sophie Grigson and William Black explain, “Healthy soil encourages healthy plants, plants which are strong and disease resistant, which means there is less need for artificial pesticides in organic production.” Their book “Organic—a new way of eating” highlights the fact that if we feed the soil, the plants will look after themselves.15

    Sally Fallon reiterates this in her book “Nourishing Traditions,” when she explains that nitrogen fertilizers used in conventional (non-organic) farming produce high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In turn, the food suffers because the vitamin and mineral contents are depleted. She explains that vitamin and mineral content between conventional and organic crops can vary hugely, and that some commercially raised oranges have been found to contain NO vitamin C!16

    The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true. If you are consuming food that was once a sickly animal who was fed routine courses of antibiotics and a genetically engineered diet of pesticide sprayed grains that it is unable to digest, how healthy do you think you will be?

    If you are eating food that has been sprayed copious times with a herbicide that has been engineered to kill EVERYTHING around it, except that particular crop, how do you think this affects the health of the soil, and the subsequent health of your body? Similarly, with the skin being the largest organ in the body, and readily absorbing anything you rub on it, have you considered what is entering your system via this method (by way of creams and lotions)?

    Yes, our bodies are amazing, and yes they can process and eliminate a certain degree of ‘rubbish.’ But, when they become overloaded they are unable to summon the resources required to neutralize the onslaught of poisons entering them. Therefore it makes sense to limit our intake of toxins wherever we are able to do so; for example by making organic choices.

    Organic farming helps ensure you are receiving the best quality for your body, allowing your cells to be as healthy and strong as possible. Growth hormones, protein rich feeds and the routine use of antibiotics are not allowed, nor are synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or pesticides.

    If you consider health as a holistic word encompassing people, animals, and the planet, then choosing organic is a positive step in this direction.

    Endnotes:

    1. “Food Matters – Life matters!” article. Organic NZ magazine. May/June 2015.
    2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/10408444.2013.770820.
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate.
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Agency_for_Research_on_Cancer#IARC_categories.
    5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/.
    6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiacdisease-connection.aspx.
    7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257596/.
    8. http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf.
    9. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-yousick.
    10. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documentsreveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers.
    11. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/3/07-041814-table-T1.html.
    12. https://www.organicnz.org.nz/node/120.
    13. Organic – a new way of eating.” Sophie Grigson and William Black. Headline Book Publishing 2001.
    14. Nourishing Traditions." The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Revised second edition. Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig. Ph.D. 1999, 2001 New trends Publishing Inc.
    15. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/food-monitoring-programmes/foodact-1981/frsp/documents.htm.
    16. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/2003_04-Analyses_Environmental.pdf