Author Archives: Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Is Low Stomach Acid Making You Sick??

Low stomach acid is common in celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.  It is also common in the general population, as well, affecting 50% of people age 60 years and about 80% by age 85 years.  Nevertheless, low stomach acid is not generally looked for as a cause of acute and chronic disorders that rob health with far-reaching effects.

Is Low Stomach Acid New?

No. Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), has been well investigated much of the past century in both the general population and those with gluten sensitivity. For example, a 1985 study investigating gastric acid secretion in 116 subjects with dermatitis herpetiformis found that 41% had low stomach acid and 26% were achlorhydric (no acid). Of those older than 50 years, 47% were achlorhydric. When compared to subjects with celiac disease, the frequency of achlorhydria was significantly higher in those with dermatitis herpetiformis than in those with coeliac disease. There was no correlation between achlorhydria and small intestinal villous atrophy (damage).

Why Is Low Stomach Acid Overlooked?

Failure to understand nutrition and malabsorption…an area of science that is barely taught in medical schools is a big factor. Also, Read More »

Easy Bruising Due to Vitamin K Deficiency in Celiac Disease

Do you know someone who bruises easily? Do the marks develop into dark bluish swellings that hurt and take a long time to go away? If you have celiac disease, perhaps you had this problem before starting the gluten-free diet.

Easy bruising is a type of ecchymosis, or superficial bleeding under the skin or mucous membrane, common in untreated celiacs – and may be the only symptom of celiac disease. While always a sign of an underlying problem, Read More »

Gluten-Free Risotto with Fresh Herbs

Risotto is a unique rice dish with a full-bodied creamy mouth feel. Try it once and you are sure to make it often.

Ingredients
  • 5 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 ¾ cup Arborio rice (fat short grains)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

 

Process

Read More »

Understanding and Treating Calcium Deficiency in Celiac Disease

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. About 99% of this essential nutrient is contained in bones and teeth with the rest being in blood and other tissues. Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth and for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, heart muscle function, blood pressure regulation, glycogen to glucose conversion, initiation of blood clotting, many hormone actions, many enzyme activities and making acetylcholine, an important chemical for nerve transmission. Calcium plays a part in the prevention of colon cancer.

Most importantly, calcium opposes phosphorus as a buffer to maintain the acid-alkaline balance of the blood and is critical for milk production in the nursing of infants.

Calcium absorption in the small intestine is complex and has specific requirements.  Read More »

MEDICAL RESEARCH: “Copper Deficiency in Infants with Active Celiac Disease.”

Editor’s note: In this case report of infants with severe malabsorption from celiac disease, the treating physicians found copper deficiencies based on blood studies that showed severe low copper levels and white blood cell count.  Treatment required copper supplementation in addition to the gluten-free diet.  Normally, in the last few months of gestation, an infant  stores a large amount of copper in their liver.  This storage must last about 6 months because infants must derive their nourishment from copper-poor milk.  This case report shows dramatically the terrible effect of malabsorption coupled with a naturally occurring huge demand for copper that could not be satisfied through digestion. Read More »

Osteoporosis in Celiac Disease and How to Prevent It

osteoporosis celiac disease glutenOsteoporosis, or brittle bones, is a generalized bone disorder involving the slow loss of bone mass throughout the skeleton that results in diminished bone mineral density (BMD). Thinning, fragile bones maintain normal cell appearance but have a rapid turnover so that more bone is taken up and removed than is laid down. The result is bone weakness that predisposes people with osteoporosis to fractures.

Osteopenia refers to the progression of bone tissue loss in the range between normal to osteoporosis.

What are Bones?

Bones are dynamic structures made up of living connective tissue and certain minerals. Connective tissue provides the shape of bones and holds calcium phosphate mineral for hardness and Read More »

Does the severity of celiac disease symptoms correspond with degree of villous atrophy?

Editor’s note: The study below, investigating whether the degree of villous atrophy (intestinal damage) correlates with the symptoms that are presented, found they do not. Therefore, more research is needed to find out why symptoms do not correlate with the degree of intestinal damage.

The pathologic range of villous atrophy seen on small intestinal biopsies ranges from severe (total villous atrophy and subtotal villous atrophy) to milder, partial villous atrophy. Read More »

Niacin (Vitamin B3) deficiency in celiac disease

Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is required by all the cells of our body making it essential for vitality and life itself.

Niacin is essential for keeping our skin and digestive tract healthy, our brain and nervous system  functioning normally, certain key cell processes repaired, our adrenal glands producing steroid hormones at demand levels, sex glands producing the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and, most especially, for producing energy to keep our body alive.1

When absorbed from the small intestinal tract, niacin becomes part of a process including more than 200 enzymes involved in metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fatty acids, that is, chemical reactions that maintain life.1 Niacin is stored by the liver.2

Niacin must be digested to release its absorbable forms, nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. These molecules are absorbed across the intestinal lining at low concentrations by sodium-dependent facilitated diffusion, meaning they need help to get into the bloodstream.1 Read More »

Understanding and Treating Selenium Deficiency in Celiac Disease

Selenium is a trace mineral required for good health. We should not be complacent about the small amount of this essential nutrient needed because not having enough of it has serious consequences.

Selenium is required for antioxidant protection, DNA repair, thyroid hormone activation, immune system enhancement, production of prostaglandins, muscle function and protection against cancer. Read More »