Author Archives: Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Nutty Buckwheat Pancakes

They have a pleasing aroma, brown color, and a hearty bite. Buckwheat is famously healthy, strengthening blood vessels and supplying essential vitamins and minerals. Note: buckwheat is not a grain or a member of the wheat family. Rather, it is the seed of a vegetable and belonging to the rhubarb family. Early settlers named these nourishing, native seeds ‘buckwheat’ because they could be used like wheat when ground into flour. Read More »

Understanding Copper Deficiency in Celiac Disease

 

Copper usually receives little coverage, but this unpretentious nutrient deserves center stage.  It is time for a serious role review.

Here are two reasons: First, deficiency of this trace mineral can debilitate and threaten our lives, and second, deficiency develops with increased frequency in those of us with celiac disease, unlike the general population.

Copper plays a critical role in the formation of a variety of proteins and enzymes involved in functions that keep us alive. Consequently, many disorders caused by copper deficiency stem from failure to adequately produce or release copper proteins and enzymes. Read More »

Probiotics and Prebiotics can Improve Health of Celiacs

probiotics gluten celiacCeliac disease is a complex inherited digestive disorder that affects I in 100 persons worldwide. This condition involves a unique immune response within the digestive tract to gluten, a protein found in the grains of wheat, barley, rye and oats.  All persons with celiac disease, regardless of age, race or gender, are susceptible to intestinal damage when they eat food containing gluten or its derivatives. The treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet that stops damage and allows recovery.  Probiotics and prebiotics should be incorporated into the diet to improve the quality and balance of intestinal bacteria that inhabit the colon.

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Understanding and Treating Zinc Deficiency in Celiac Disease

The mineral zinc is classified as an essential nutrient due to the vital functions it performs in our bodies.  It is found in almost every cell of the body with highest concentrations in the liver, pancreas, kidney, bone, and muscle. High concentrations occur in the brain, middle ear, eye, prostate gland, sperm, skin, hair, and nails. This micronutrient is essential for the activity of approximately 100 enzymes. Enzymes promote biochemical reactions in the body.

Zinc supports a healthy immune system. It is needed for wound healing and DNA synthesis. It helps maintain our sense of taste and smell and is involved in energy metabolism, hemoglobin production, carbon dioxide transport, prostaglandin function, synthesis of collagen, protein synthesis, and vitamin A metabolism. Zinc is important for male fertility. It supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Read More »

MEDICAL RESEARCH: “Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG enhances gastric ulcer healing in rats.”

Editors’ note: This animal study investigating the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a strain of probiotic bacteria, on ulcers of the stomach lining of rats demonstrated that bacteria placed directly into the stomach significantly and according to dose reduced gastric ulcer size.  If the results of this animal research are reproduced in humans, it would demonstrate that probiotics may hasten recovery for people suffering from stomach ulcers.  The bacteria did not affect the function of normal gastric mucosa but normalized those with abnormal changes during ulceration. Read More »

Vitamin A Deficiency in Celiac Disease…Common Before & After Diagnosis

Vitamin A was first identified in 1913 because of its crucial role in vision.  Subsequent discovery of its many other duties show that a deficiency will cause a broad range of health problems.

Vitamin A is not a single compound but actually comprises a fat-soluble family of molecules that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and retinyl ester. The term vitamin A also includes certain plant carotenoids called provitamin A because they are dietary precursors of retinol.

Vitamin A is essential for normal vision and eyeball health, a properly functioning immune system, gene regulation, reproduction, embryonic development, health and protection of all the tissues that line the body, including skin and mucosa of the lungs, digestive tract, urinary tract, and genital tract, bone metabolism and normal growth and strong teeth in children.

 

Vitamin A Deficiency

The United States National Institutes of Health recommends testing vitamin A levels in people with celiac disease at diagnosis. This is because vitamin A deficiency is common in celiac disease. Deficiency can result from incomplete digestion, absorption, or metabolism. Read More »

Understanding Probiotics and Prebiotics in Celiac Disease

Our well-being is uniquely tied to the condition of our colon, which is commonly unhealthy at diagnosis of celiac disease. To keep our colon healthy, we need to understand what happens there on a microscopic level.  Hundreds of varieties of intestinal microbe populations called “flora” live there, numbering in the billions.  To put these numbers into focus, dead bacteria make up about a third of each bowel movement.  Our resident microbes, whether beneficial or harmful, play a decisive role in nourishing or damaging the cells that form the intestinal lining.  Probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements restore and feed our friendly microbes. Read More »

Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency in Celiac Disease

 

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin for strong bones and teeth, turns out to be a multi-tasker! Since its discovery in the early 1920s, this important fat-soluble vitamin was labeled simply as “the antirachitic vitamin” (prevents rickets). Not any more. A major discovery of how it functions as a hormone in the body when converted into its active form by the liver has spurred intense research which is revealing much more about this amazing vitamin.

We now know the active form of vitamin D is essential for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus balance in the body, the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the digestive tract, proper neuromuscular function, normal growth and development and normal bone and tooth formation and maintenance. Recent medical research suggests vitamin D may also provide protection from hypertension, cancer, and several autoimmune diseases. Read More »

Magnesium Deficiency in Celiac Disease – Common and Dangerous

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, providing an indication of just how important this nutrient is for the body.

Magnesium keeps us moving, thinking and behaving normally. Magnesium is a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes involved in the metabolism of food components and many products such as protein synthesis. It balances calcium in the body to maintain normal muscle and nerve function and works in concert with calcium to keep bones strong. It keeps heart rhythm steady and supports a healthy immune system. Magnesium is required for parathyroid hormone secretion, helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure.1

Studies show that magnesium deficiency is common in those with celiac disease. Read More »

Celiac Disease Health in Depth: Natural Remedies for Chronic Constipation

About 20% of people with untreated celiac disease have chronic constipation instead of the classic symptom of diarrhea. As the rate of diagnosis improves, constipation is becoming recognized as a common symptom of celiac disease.

Constipation is a common problem in the general population of the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 4 million people have frequent constipation. It is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States, resulting in about 2.5 million doctor visits and 92,000 hospitalizations annually, although most people treat themselves. This high rate of constipation results in annual laxative sales of over $735 million in this country.

This article will discuss the following topics:

1. How to recognize constipation.

2. Natural remedies that have been shown to help constipation.

3. How to induce a bowel movement.

WHAT IS CONSTIPATION?

Constipation involves problems with stool formation, consistency, and evacuation. It is characterized by one or more of these features:

· Hard, dry stool or soft, putty-like stool.

· Difficult defecation.

· Infrequent defecation, less than one bowel movement per day.

· A feeling of incomplete evacuation following bowel movement.

Constipation can give rise to many different ailments including indigestion, a white coated tongue, bad breath, gas, hemorrhoids, hernia, body odor, depression, fatigue, headache, insomnia, and varicose veins.

The three main causes of constipation are abnormal bowel motility, malabsorption and dysbiosis. Each one, or all three together can cause constipation.

1. Abnormal bowel motility is altered peristalsis, where food passes through the intestine too slowly, due to ineffective muscle action of the intestines. It may take the form of spastic colon or atonic colon.

· Spastic colon is characterized by a spasms, (irregular and excessive muscle contractions of the intestinal walls), so that the muscles resist stretching and thereby decrease the diameter of the inside of the intestine. This restricts the passage of food.

Hard, dry stools are produced as the colon absorbs too much water from the slowly advancing stool. Spasms can result from magnesium deficiency, chronic stress, lack of exercise, lack of water or lack of fiber in the diet.

Spastic constipation is associated with variable degrees of abdominal pain or distress, erratic frequency of bowel action, and variation in stool consistency. Read More »

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