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WHY?? The Gluten-Sensitivity Explosion

I open up my mailbox this week, and what do I pull out? My new “Bottom Line Health” magazine. It includes wellness strategies from the world’s leading medical experts.

The front page article was …. “The Silent Cause of Stomach Trouble…” (As many as 20 million Americans are suffering unnecessarily) by Alessio Fasano, MD.

The article went on to explain that an international panel of experts are talking about non-celiac gluten sensitivity issues. Praise God! They shared how doctors, for years, have insisted that symptoms were imaginary… and how they pushed patients to get psychiatric help.

SERIOUSLY?

Yes. Seriously.

But, I can see how things go down that path after experiencing a similar response first hand.

Even this “most recent” article seemed to be months/years behind in not having answers how people can get tested for gluten sensitivity issues.

How about GENE testing to ENSURE you don’t have a gluten sensitivity gene, or a celiac gene – to rule out the permanent damage and chronic inflammation factor?

The book, “Healthier Without Wheat”, shares the importance of being gluten-free for even non-celiac gluten intolerance. Stories are shared from parents who weren’t told that even if a test comes back negative to celiac initially, and yet the genes are THERE – continued exposure will increase the changes to triggering celiac and other major diseases, like cancer. Doesn’t it make sense to do gene testing right off the bat so a person can know if their geno-type?

The bottom line is, if the genetics are there – then you shouldn’t be eating gluten… otherwise, you’re just increasing your chances of activating the autoimmune disease, or allowing gluten to destroy your body in a whole host of other major ways. It’s not a matter of IF it will cause problems… it’s a matter of WHEN.

So, you might be wondering WHY is this all coming to a head for so many people right now? Why is a disease I’ve never heard about (Celiac) and things like gluten sensitivity – everywhere all of a sudden, and why are diets like Paleo and Vegetarian talked about SO much. Is it because everyone is on a health kick? Is it a fad, like some suggest, to just lose weight? Or are we putting the pieces together of the REASONS of rising health care nightmare in our country and we’re making lifestyle choices to avoid what a majority of people are experiencing?

Excess of chemically engineered food for convenience pushed through the FDA + lack of study on nutrition in the medical field + poor diet = a HUGE role in this health mess for all of us.

Many people interested in nutrition have seen the typical documentaries on our food sources… Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Fresh, Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Rescue, Supersize Me… the list goes on an on. (If you don’t have a Netflix subscription – you could be educated for hours on what is going on in our food industry, and it can be pretty shocking if you’re in the dark.) More importantly – you can begin to evaluate what those options are doing to our society as a whole, or within your own family… and decide what changes need to be made for the future of your health.

*A recent research study by Joseph Murray, M.D. professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues shows a shift of more celiac disease in Europe and the US than just a few generations ago. In fact, it’s 4x more likely than a half a century ago. Here is how he explained what is going on, “Of course human genetics will change in response to the environment, but that change is extremely slow. It’s far more probable that the increase is due to an environmental change, and the most likely factor is a change involving the grain in our diets,” Murray said. “Consumption of wheat has increased steadily over the past 50 years, but is still less than it was a century ago, so the issue is not simple consumption.”; Murray noted. “It more likely involves the wheat itself, which has undergone extensive hybridization as a crop and undergoes dramatic changes during processing that involves oxidizers, new methods of yeasting, and other chemical processes. We have no idea what effect these changes may have on the immune system.”

Fantastic. “No idea what effect….” Have you ever felt like a test rat?

The other environmental change has to do with hygiene changes. Murray’s theory on that talks about our immune systems being exposed to the right bacteria to develop properly, but because of such “clean” environments, children are more susceptible to immune disorders and allergic disease. “There are no doubt multiple environmental factors that interact to trigger the onset in people who are genetically predisposed,” Murray said. “The increasing prevalence makes it more important that health care providers and patients are alert to the possibility of celiac disease.”

** and gluten intolerance.

Fabulous. I’m a neat-nick… and a germo-phobe. One more strike against my kids for the environmental factor trigger! *sigh* But the issues regardng our chemically engineered food being such an issue makes COMPLETE sense for an increase in cases!

What could medical doctors glean from this? Genetic testing needs to be an option when the “simple” antibody blood test doesn’t show anything and the sometimes irrelevant upper GI biopsy doesn’t show anything either and the symptoms are all there. As a patient, please don’t give up if you are struggling for answers. If you’re suffering digestively in any way, OR with neuropathy symptoms, thyroid issues, asthma or unexplained rashes and ailments… keep on your doctor or do the tests needed OR if that doesn’t work – get an at home test from Enterolab.com. You shouldn’t believe everything thing you see/hear on the internet… but I’m a HUGE believer in self-educating. Keep reading, and putting the pieces together so you and YOUR family can be HEALTHY FOR HIM.

** Quoted information from Murray’s studies were found in the downloadable book “21st Century Medical Sourcebook, Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance – Clinical Data and Practical Information.” that was updated in March of 2012.

Here it is! My 20th loaf of bread, and perhaps my tallest one yet! ūüôā It needed a bit more Xanthum Gum – but the kids loved the taste!

“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

James 5:8

Unequally Yoked?

The DNA testing from Enterolab.com {for gluten sensitivity/celiac} looks like this. Just swab your cheeks – mail in, and wait. Super simple!

The Bible talks about being unequally yoked in marriage.  God warns us against it.

Any one in an unequally yoked marriage could probably let you know why this isn’t a good idea…it makes things more difficult, if not, a disaster.

Often times people enter into a marriage – equally yoked. ¬†Perhaps they’re both UNbelievers. ¬†Maybe they’re both NEW believers, or perhaps they’re both believers at the time. ¬†Whatever the case, God said – to be equally yoked.

Thankfully my husband I were equally yoked when we were married.  We were BOTH newer, quickly growing believers.

A Bible study we did early on explained that to grow a marriage stronger, it’s important that there are three in the marriage… Yourself, your spouse, and God.

If you think of your marriage as a triangle – God being at the top, and you and your spouse at the bottom points… and if you both are growing towards God individually {working on yourself, because you shouldn’t try to change others} then clearly you are growing together to a coming goal of being more Christ-like. ¬†If only one is growing, then essentially, you are growing apart.

Personally, I’ve seen this throughout our marriage. ¬†Since we don’t always grow at the same rate – when one of us is closer to God, often times the other isn’t growing – and therefore, we can feel distanced from the other. ¬†There has been more than one occasion when my husband felt called to something I didn’t… yet. {homeschooling, *cough*… more children… *cough-cough*} ¬†God might have been working on me… sometimes I just forgot to listen when it wasn’t in my original plan. ¬†Thankfully, God yoked me with one of the most patient men on the planet.

He would have to be… to put up with my knee-jerk reacting, heart on my sleeve wearing, often over-speaking – Self.

Often times my friends ask me, “So how is your husband doing with all of THIS.” ¬†(Meaning the gluten-free living, expenses and changes…) ¬†Yes, it has been quite drastic and I can see how it might be a stress in many marriages.

To which I reply…“HE was the first one who suggested we all be gluten-free, before we even knew all of the kids were symptomatic for gluten sensitivities.” ¬†Their mouths gape open. ¬†(Much like MINE did when he suggested it to me the first time.)

He realized the importance of it for ALL of us – THAT MUCH.

Their next question is… “But does he have ANY gluten issues?”

Honestly? ¬†We don’t really know. ¬†Personally I suspect some… ¬†not celiac disease, but a gluten sensitivity… and to us – it was worth knowing for sure.

SO… he actually requested to be tested too, for HIS family’s sake – when my results came back! ¬†{We’ll let you know in 3 weeks how it turns out.}

There is a certain level of guilt one has… feeling as though you’ve passed your “less than perfect” genes on to each one of your offspring, that will have life-long lasting effects. ¬†At least… for ME there is.

Maybe I hope that it’s not JUST me… and him testing positive for gluten sensitivity would lighten my heart on the guilt-factor. ¬†Either way, he feels it’s a non-issue… even if we are unequally yoked – {when it comes to gluten sensitivity.}

To me, a supportive spouse is ESSENTIAL in being positive for changes within your family. ¬†It keeps the kids positive, and your outlook bright when you’re trying to tackle what sometimes feels like the impossible. ¬†They can also take a really rotten feeling you have inside and make you remember how each part of life is ALL part of God’s master sanctification plan. ¬† His sacrifices, and selflessness attitude have been invaluable to healing our family back to health.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?

Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

2 Corinthians 6:14

Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance? – Testing: Part Two

Finally got my OWN copy of “Gluten Free Made Simple” (Cookbook), and this great educational book called, “Healthier Without Wheat”

Before I knew anything about celiac disease,  I did know you could get a simple blood test to check for the antibodies that were attacking gluten in your body.  If a doctor suspects celiac disease, this is usually the first test run.  The test checks out the following:

Deamidated Gliadin Abs, IgA (Gliadin is the gluten found in wheat, each grain has a different gluten name)

Demidated Gliadin Abs, IgG

t-Transglutaminase (tTG), IgA

Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG), IgG

Endomysial Antibody IgA

All of my numbers were low to below the “negative” response.

So given this test, most doctors throw out the possibility¬† of a gluten issue altogether.¬† Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t consuming enough gluten at the time this test was run.¬† Although I’m not sure it would have shown anything anyway…¬†¬† About 1% of the general population is IgA deficient (and 2% of celiacs), meaning they produce very little IgA.¬† Therefore, any IgA test result will be low, and the IgA gliadin antibody test might be falsely negative, indicating they don’t have a gluten intolerance – even if they, in fact, do.

If that test were to come back showing a positive result (meaning, a reaction to gluten), most doctors would do a biopsy of the small intestine.¬† I was already scheduled for an upper and lower endoscopy to check for a parasite or crohns, so I just made sure to ask at my appointment, that the GI specialist would test for celiac disease.¬† Because that order was not on my information from my doctor, I believe the GI specialist was taken off guard.¬† I just wasn’t sure what else to do to be heard.¬† I had laid out my medical history, and reasons for my desire for the biopsies – but I’m unsure of how many test samples he took.

I do know he took a  BIG stomach biopsy to test for a parasite, because that really hurt for days.  It felt like a big area anyway.  {Incidentally that test came back negative for the parasite.}

The biopsy then came back negative for celiac too.¬† As he warned me before the test, because I had been off of gluten, this was highly probable to not be accurate.¬† I already knew in my heart it probably wouldn’t show up, but I still prayed for answers.¬† His suggestion for myself, and our kids (based on symptoms) was a gluten-free life.¬† I wish that was enough for me.¬† I needed that piece of paper – that proof.

It was during this time that I was reading on what else to do to get answers for myself, and now my children… who I realized were very symptomatic.¬† Many of the national celiac message boards were filled with people like myself.¬† They knew they had¬†celiac, but felt like they were trying to get that information in their charts.¬† I felt like if it was this difficult for me, how on earth would I be able to get those answers for my kids – without running a whole hosts of unneccessary tests.

It was then that I heard about Enterolab.com.  I heard they had other testing resources available for people to do at home Рand send in.  One of them was the DNA test.  It was a simple test (cotton swab) Рand fairly inexpensive $150.  I knew if I could get the results back on my genes, I could get someone to help us.  I just needed proof that I knew what was going on.

So, I ordered the test, and waited the painstaking 3 weeks for the results.

In the mean time, my mother asked her oncologist about the DNA testing, and her Dr. didn’t bat an eye about running the antibody test, AND the DNA test right off the bat.

My husband announced that my results had been posted, and with a smile said… “You had better go look!”

It came as NO surprise to either of us –¬†that my DNA test showed the following:

I have one of the main genes that predisposes me to gluten sensitivity and celiac sprue.  I also have a 50% chance of passing that gene onto each of our 8 children.

I also have non-celiac gene that predisposes me to gluten sensitivity… and have passed that on to every child.

With those genes combined, it told me that BOTH of my parents have that gluten sensitivity gene – that they have passed to each of their children (myself, and both of my brothers), and at least one parent also has the celiac gene.

My mother’s tests confirmed the same.¬† She was positive for the celiac gene.

This explained WHY my symptoms were so strong.  When you have TWO copies, like I did, this means there is an even stronger predisposition to gluten sensitivity than having one gene, and the result of gluten sensitivity or celiac is more severe.  Let me be clear that having ONE gene is enough for gluten sensitivity to still cause inflammation and major issues within your body, and the cure is the same as with celiac disease.

I’m currently reading a book called “Healthier Without Wheat” – which is a great book on all aspects of gluten sensitivity.¬† I highly recommend if you suspect gluten could be causing some health issues in your life, or in the lives of people you love.¬† Here is an except from that book, regarding the continued exposure to gluten, while having the¬†gluten sensitive gene¬†–¬†pg. 134

“If you have a non-celiac form of gluten intolerance and you have been eating gluten for many years, you have accumulated¬†a history of ingesting something that is toxic to your body.¬† You may notice that avoiding it 95% of the time relieves the symptom that you are treating, but you are still suffering some ill effects of ingesting gluten, whether you realize it or not. And it takes energy for your body to continue to deal with the problem (gluten).¬† It also increases the load on your immune system and decreases its ability to deal with other problems.¬†

The point here is that the more thorough you are at avoiding gluten, the healthier you’ll be.¬† If you want to truly optimize your health, you should avoid all sources¬†of gluten.¬† Of course, the choice is yours.¬† But remember that the symptoms you experience from ingesting gluten are not the same as the damage caused.¬† Even if you perceive no symptoms at all, your body may still be undergoing change.”

It’s unfortunate that people must have active celiac disease “at that moment” they are tested to get that label to stay away from gluten. ¬†Clearly, that is flawed or there wouldn’t be story after story like mine.¬† I’m thankful to get the answers I need for myself and my family now… so I can avoid 10 years of biopsies to get that ONE positive, and they can avoid 30 years of inflammation and malnutrition – like I have.¬† I no longer¬†need that.¬† BUT, there are people – like me… who continue to suffer – and THAT¬†is what drives me to¬†keep talking.¬† Like the video I shared last week said (By Dr. Peter Green), having a biopsy be¬†a gold standard for celiac disease, is like taking a cup of water out of the ocean and if you don’t see¬†fish saying, “There are no fish in this¬†water.”

Insanity.

For tips on how to start a GIG Stepwise Program check out www.gluten.net

“Sanctify them by the Truth; your Word is Truth.”

John 17:17

Inattention? What’s the Cure? Testing: Part One

What an “on the nose” letter to the editor this was in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks back. (See wording below)

When I was at my lowest point this last spring. I kept doing the exact thing you’re NOT supposed to do.

“Googling” the internet for answers.

It appeared all of the tests for my gall bladder and abdomen were coming up with a whole lot of, “nothing is wrong with you.” But I knew they were wrong.

Left side pain *click*

Upper left side pain *click*

Ribs feeling bruised *click*

Then I would read articles of people who had all of these troubles… for months, years… sometimes 10-20 years, and still no answers.

It left me feeling like I might die in the process of figuring out what was wrong.

When I Googled gall bladder symptoms, NONE of them fit my symptoms. I knew that wasn’t it… but as a patient, how could I figure out how to get things pointed in a different direction.

I found myself feeling similarly to how I felt when my mom’s cancer was carrying on with no “plan B” of a stem cell transplant.

Do I request to go to Mayo? Is this all just in my head? Do I just need to deal with this like I have all of these other symptoms for years?

It was draining.

I’m so thankful that God filled me up, and continued to put just the right person in my life, the right comment to be made, the right book for me to pick up… everything. According to His plan. When my friend suggested celiac disease, I actually went to the library, and got books on crohns, celiac disease, and other gut issues. It was that prodding that led me to REAL answers… and now I just want to help other people find THEIR answer too.

Similarly, The View’s co-host – Elizabeth Hasselbeck was on Dr. Oz yesterday. I don’t watch tv ironically… but my mom wanted to let me know it was on. I was thankful – #1 that more information was going to be nationally touted regarding gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, and #2 that my mom was wanting to see it…

So while I think it was too short of a segment, and could have been a lot deeper in information (as they still say 99% of people STILL aren’t diagnosed, and are struggling – That’s TOO many people with a solution that is AVAILABLE!) I was grateful she shared HER struggle publicly, and that they went over a handful of the 300 symptoms out there. Hopefully it helped some people. What she didn’t really touch on though, was her testing process… and I feel like that is one MAJOR flaw in this whole game, and the reason why SO many people are left suffering, undiagnosed. She just happens to have one of the BEST doctors in the nation helping her, which is awesome. I’d love to go to Houston and have him help my family.

Suspect gluten sensitivity/celiac? What do most doctors do? The “simple” blood test… which tests for antibodies that shows if your body is attacking gluten.

The problem? Only some 7% of patients with celiac are showing positive on this test.

The “gold standard” (biopsy) through an endoscopy – only helps 30% of people get diagnosed.

What about the other 70% of people?

What do you think happens when BOTH of those KEY tests fail?

They give up. They move on, and look elsewhere for answers… when the answer STILL might be gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

I believe this is where gene/DNA testing is so vital. Not just to get some specific (hard-earned) label of “celiac disease” – but to let the patient know… YES, you indeed have a tendency for either A) gluten sensitivity, and here is the havoc it can cause in your body if you continue to eat gluten (mainly celiac, cancer, thyroid issues, asthma, endocrine problems, behavioral issues, migraines, anxiety, and depression to name a few…) OR B) You have a higher probability for celiac disease – so those symptoms you have, indicate an autoimmune disease as well, caused by that gluten sensitivity.

Either way – that chronic inflammation response that gluten creates in someone who is either gluten sensitive, or also has celiac disease… isn’t good a good outcome.

Wouldn’t you avoid cancer and a host of other medical issues if you could?

The only answer is to be gluten-free for life!

Regarding the inattention of observation in the medical field, I want to say that this seems to be across the board, and I don’t blame my doctor for not putting all of the pieces together sooner, after all – he was really only my doctor for 1 year, and didn’t have many past records to go off of. However, I also know of several people who went to large, research hospitals – who were unable to find out the root cause of their “mystery illness” – was also gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease. It seems the technology that was invented to advance our world, has also deteriorated that face-to-face discussion we once had. That is why being your own advocate is SO important. If you don’t feel right – speak up, until you get the answers YOU need.

{from article above}

“It’s a sad day for the medical profession when instruction in observation, the most basic skill, is assigned to a museum curator. Any doubts I had about the demise of classical medical education have been removed.

Apparently medical-school professors have been so caught up in clawing their way up the academic ladder and applying for grant money that they have forgotten to teach medical students this primary method of diagnosis.

I had a traditional professor who told all of the students: “Look at the patient. The patient will tell you the diagnosis.” I’m no professor, but that advice has proved valuable over a 30-year career.” Leo A. Gordon, M.D. – Los Angeles

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‚ÄĚ

John 8:32

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