Somewhere in all of your research you have probably read something about the little wheat protein called gluten that is causing a big fuss. Perhaps, you may be one of many people who is noticing the ever expanding Gluten-Free section at your local grocery store. What is the big idea with this little grain? After all, we have been eating it all of these years right? So why is it being ever so publicized today? Maybe perhaps it’s just a fad-diet? Well fad diet or not this gluten-free thing is here to stay, and it may be contributing to how you are feeling, especially those who have thyroid related issues.Read More
From the Desk of Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC.....
I going to explain the difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. Celiac Disease is one kind of gluten sensitivity. It is not the only kind of gluten sensitivity.
As I explained in my last post, Celiac disease (CD) is much more prevalent than many doctors and patients realize. I also revealed the research that shows most people with CD have silent CD. Silent CD means the person afflicted doesn't have any GI symptoms, but instead has other life-robbing disease symptoms.
The longer sensitive individuals eat gluten, the more likely they are to develop other autoimmune diseases
A 1999 landmark study published in Gastroenterology found that the duration of exposure to gluten in celiac disease patients affects the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases. The finding made age at diagnosis an important factor in the overall health of patients with celiac disease.
For the study, an Italian research team screened 909 patients with celiac disease for other autoimmune diseases, including IDDM (Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus), DH (Dermatitis herpetiformis), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, autoimmune hepatitis, alopecia, atrophic autoimmune gastritis, connective tissue disease (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, or Sjogren’s disease), psoriasis, Addison’s disease, unexplained cerebellar ataxia, epilepsy with cerebral calcification, or immune anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia. They then compared the prevalence of these conditions in three different subgroups, which were separated based on when the patient was diagnosed with celiac disease (before age 2, between ages 2 and 10, and after age 10).
The team found that the prevalence of the other conditions was highest in the subgroup of patients diagnosed after age 10. Similarly, patients diagnosed between ages 2 and 10 had a higher rate of other conditions than those diagnosed before age 2. This suggests that the prevalence of autoimmune conditions increases with increasing age at diagnosis of celiac disease (ie, increasing duration of exposure to gluten).
The researchers’ chart below demonstrates the frequency of developing other autoimmune diseases.
The Link Between Celiac Disease and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
More and more patients are presenting with the symptoms of Celiac disease—loose and greasy bowel movements, abdominal or full-body discomfort, fatigue…but it’s only now that we’re beginning to discover the true nature of this intestinal autoimmune disorder, as well as its pivotal relationship with fibromyalgia and thyroid complications.
Interestingly, scientific research is pointing to the abnormal formation and residence of certain types of intestinal bacteria as a significant contributor to Celiac disease, fibromyalgia and thyroid disease. Normally, the presence of such bacteria in the digestive system is harmless…in fact, their contribution to digestive breakdown is often beneficial. However, common intestinal bacteria also are known to produce a wide variety of toxins (bacterial lipopolysaccharides for example) and carcinogens that the body has a more difficult time excreting. When this happens, the body begins to develop a negative autoimmune response to these internal pollutants, often opening the door for the onset of Celiac disease or various other autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto's.
As you may know, the thyroid is a small gland located in the anterior portion of the lower neck and is responsible for the creation and distribution of metabolic hormones. When the thyroid is underproducing or underexcreting, the result is hypothyroidism. Sufferers of this condition often deal with fatigue, cold intolerance and weight gain. The contrary issue is an overactive thyroid, with symptoms ranging from heat sensitivity and excessive sweating to nervousness, fidgeting and weight loss. This condition is called hyperthyroidism. Both of these thyroid malfunctions may be the result of Celiac disease (also known as gluten intolerance).
I've often explained to patients and audiences about the fact that the contents of the gut are outside the body? The gut is a hollow tube that passes from the mouth to the anus. Anything that goes in the mouth and isn’t digested will pass right out the other end. This is, in fact, one of the most important functions of the gut: to prevent foreign substances from entering the body.
An additional important function of the gut is to host 70% of the immune tissue in the body. This portion of the immune system is collectively referred to as GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue. The GALT comprises several types of lymphoid tissues that store immune cells, such as T & B lymphocytes, that carry out attacks and produce antibodies against antigens, molecules recognized by the immune system as potential threats. Common antigens in sensitive individuals are bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), gluten and other undigested proteins that enter the blood stream through the "leaky gut"
Problems occur when either of these protective functions of the gut are compromised. When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable (i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”), large protein molecules escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Studies show that these attacks play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.
As these processes continue to take place in the body, the more likely it is that Celiac and thyroid disease sufferers are further punished by longer-term effects that the diseases have on their bodies. As less and less nutrients are digested because of the amplified auto immune response, symptoms of fibromyalgia (i.e. chronic pain and widespread fatigue) may begin to set in. Fibromyalgia is often a misunderstood diagnosis, and there are widespread theories as to its root cause. However, evidence continues to mount proving that Celiac disease/gluten intolerance is a major culprit in interrupting some of the body’s major digestive and metabolic functions. Fortunately, due to recent advances in testing, Johnson Chiropractic Neurology & Nutrition in Shelby Township, Michigan has the ability to test for leaky gut and sensitivity to gluten and other epitopes so months and years are not wasted looking for the reason for your suffering.
Celiac Disease: A Precursor to Fibromyalgia and Thyroid Dysfunction
So what do we know for sure? As early as 2003, the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago reported some startling numbers regarding the prevalence of Celiac disease in America. A fact sheet distributed by the center made the claim that Celiac disease affects approximately one percent of healthy, average Americans. That means as many as 3 million people in the United States are living with Celiac disease. Of those 3 million, more than 90 percent of sufferers remain undiagnosed, attributing their chronic pain, intestinal irritability and bowel issues to something other than Celiac disease, fibromyalgia or thyroid maladies.
Luckily, several advancements in these specific areas of digestive medicine have been made, and a variety of treatment and testing options are now available to those who want to address their pain. In today’s world, patients are required to take charge of their own health. Only with the guidance, support and knowledge of a medical team that understands the underlying issues can patients truly begin to experience the benefits of modern medicine. Johnson Chiropractic, Neurology & Nutrition can guide you to a new existence—one in which the sting of fibromyalgia and thyroid issues can be addressed or eliminated by first conquering what may be undiagnosed Celiac disease and the issues that so often accompany it.
Gluten can cause health issues for many people. Some may have an intolerance or allergy, also known as Celiac disease, some may not be sure if they have a problem with it or not, but would like to try avoiding it in order to find out. This however, may not be as easy as it sounds. At first it seems easy, cut out breads, muffins, bagels, and so on. Simple right? Maybe not.
Did you know that you could be unaware of some of the foods that has gluten hiding in them? Or foods you might not think about when you think about cutting it out of your life. Of course when you think fried chicken, you think flour used for frying which makes it easy to see you should stay away from it. You might not think the same way about meatloaf, yet meatloaf will almost always have bread crumbs in it, meaning it should be avoided as well.
If you enjoy soy sauce on your Chinese food, you could be getting a dose of gluten. Soy is not the only sauce either, any thickened sauce you have on food could have been made with a Roux to thicken it, and a roux is nothing more than butter and flour. If you are only thinking about foods in your decision to go gluten free, think again, beer and even some teas which contain barley should be taken out of your diet. If your allergy is very severe, you may have to research your beauty products. Avoid those with wheat or oat based ingredients.
As you can see it can be hiding in many foods, the only sure way to know if something you are eating has it or not is to read the label. Look for labels that say the product is free of it. Though to make it even more confusing, be careful about oats, which can be in gluten free products, yet they are often contaminated by coming into contact with wheat during processing.
When you shop, it is a good idea to print out a list of foods to be avoided and words to look for on labels that will let you know to stay away from it. There is a lot of information about gluten free living on the Internet, you can find lists of words that indicate it is something to be avoided. With some research and homework, you will find that it gets easier as time goes on, You will become more and more adapt at making good food choices.
Remember the best way to find out if you have food intolerances - especially to gluten is with proper testing. You want the BEST testing available (developed by Dr. Aristo Vojdani and you can find it at Johnson Chirpractic Neurology & Nutrition in Shelby Township, Michigan. Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D., M.Sc., C.L.S., a leading researcher in the fields of autoimmune disease and neuroimmunology who has published more than 120 scientific papers.
Feel free to download my gluten free, casein free, soy free, yeast free eating guide by clicking on the link below. You will find this guide super helpful in your transition to your health supporting life-enhancing dietary changes!