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 »
Editors’ note: This study investigating the value and safety of Candin for clinical use in children demonstrated effectiveness and safety. Candin is a reagent or skin test for sensitivity to Candida albicans, a yeast microorganism that can cause infection. The study recommends using Candin in combination with other reagents in infants with anergy to see if they react to antigens other than Candida albicans. Anergy is described in Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary as the impaired or absent ability to react to common antigens administered through skin testing. Antigens are markers on the surface of cells that stimulate production of antibodies. In this study, Candin was tested at the same time as a skin test for tuberculosis (purified protein derivative tuberculosis) for comparison of results. Read More »
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 »
If you’ve ever lived with undiagnosed Celiac Disease – chances are you’ve been to a psychologist at one time or another. Perhaps your doctor told you that you had severe depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, or simply that it was “all in your head.” Believe me – I’ve been there, done that. I had even convinced myself as an undergrad in psychology, that with all the knowledge I was gaining, I would not only be able to fix my own problems, but that I’d some day be able to help everyone else fix their problems too. I would become so mentally tough that nothing could conquer me. The problem was -something was wrong … and it wasn’t really in my head. No amount of “positive thinking” could get me out of what I was going through. I didn’t want to be depressed – and yet I had depression. I didn’t want to feel anxiety, didn’t have any reason to be anxious – and yet, I had anxiety all the time. I knew who I was – but when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t that person. Something else was going on- and it was beyond my control.
During my time as a psych student, I had begun to realize that what I was putting into my body had a direct effect on my mood, energy level, and overall happiness. I started paying close attention to what I was eating and how I would feel afterwards – which eventually led me to walk into my doctors office and ask for a blood test for Celiac Disease. When I finally got some answers – I thought, “Wow, no wonder I felt horrible at school all the time” because I would eat a Gordita or Mexican Pizza just about every day on the way to class at our campus Taco Bell. (Just for the record, Gluten + addicting Taco Bell cheese opiates = not a good combo ;) I began to truly understand that what I was putting into my body had a direct effect on my mind. (The GUT-BRAIN connection). Read More »
According to WebMD, approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, and of them, 28 million suffer from migraines.(1) A migraine headache is a neurologic disorder characterized by reduced cerebral blood flow. They are marked by periodic, usually one-sided pulsing headaches with or without aura and light and noise sensitivity or nausea.(1)
A 2003 medical study testing migraine sufferers for celiac disease showed that 4.4% had the disorder.(2) That would equate to more than 1.2 million migraine sufferers in the US having celiac disease. Read More »
Every morning my freshman year in high school, I felt sick. I would miss a lot of first period class & summer swim workouts as a consequence. My mother and I could not figure out what was wrong.
Every day shortly after breakfast, I would get nauseous and have to lie down. One morning, I told my swim coach, who was frustrated with me missing so many workouts, I had “morning sickness.” At the time I was 14 and clueless to the usual context in which that phrase in used. Mom was mortified. I had to clarify to coach that I was not actually with child, and then it was off to the doctor, who confirmed I was likely lactose intolerant, so I stayed off dairy.
Down the road in college, I started getting sick after many meals, and after a few years of searching, I finally got a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity. First milk, now Read More »
National Jewish Health Expert Discusses Psychological Aspect of Living with Life Threatening Food Allergies
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary Klinnert, PhD at National Jewish Health. Mary is an expert in child psychology and has numerous previous research studies on the effects of asthma on mental health. She started her career mostly focusing on asthma, but in recent years, has turned much of her attention to the psychological aspects of living with life threatening food allergies.
While meeting with Mary, she briefed me on a study she is conducting on the psychological aspects of food allergies and how this study differs from the majority of previous studies that mostly focus on quality of life issues related to living with food allergies. The hope of Mary and the rest of the team is to get to the root of what is happening to families that sometimes contributes to deeper Read More »
The brain is a delicate organ, where billions of cells, electrical and chemical reactions have to interact correctly to function optimally. When something unbalances brain chemistry, interrupts reactions or damages the cells, brain dysfunction results. Gluten does all these things – whether or not you have celiac disease.
Neurological disorders from gluten can arise in either, or both, of the following ways. Gluten can penetrate the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, by its own mechanism, travel to the brain where it can damage or disrupt cells or cause inflammation. This is the direct effect of gluten on the brain. Gluten can also lead to malabsorption of nutrients in celiac disease. In this case, the body does not absorb the nutrients it needs. Nutrients are chemicals. The brain, therefore, does not receive the chemicals it needs to function correctly and problems develop.
Nervous system disorders have been found in over 50% of newly diagnosed celiacs. The list of nervous disorders is long: autism, gait ataxia, gluten ataxia, progressive myoclonic ataxia, chorea, tremors, brain atrophy, cerebral perfusion abnormalities, cortical calcifying angiomatosis (cerebral calcifications), dementia, headaches, epilepsy, chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, multiple sclerosis, vasculitis of the central nervous system, chronic maladaptive anxiety, apathy, depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia, irritability, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and peripheral neuropathy. New disorders are being added as the link between
These nervous disorders can include either hard or soft disorders.
Examples of hard disorders would be epilepsy, ataxia (motor abnormalities), myoclonus, internuclear ophthalmoplegia, multifocal leukoencephlopathy, dementia and peripheral neuropathies. Hard disorders, besides peripheral neuropathies, do not respond to gluten restriction – so identifying gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease early is critical.
Soft disorders in celiac disease include a broad range of what are considered common neurological disorders. Hypotonia (flaccid muscles in babies), developmental delay, learning disorders and ADHD, headaches and cerebellar ataxia are examples. Importantly, there does not seem to be a difference in whether people with infantile-onset gastrointestinal symptoms, those with late onset symptoms or are asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all) develop soft disorders.
This means you may never experience a gastrointestinal symptom, yet still suffer from neurological disorder due to celiac disease.
Recovery from these neurological disorders usually depends on length of time gluten has been digested. The gluten-free diet can result in complete recovery, improvement or no recovery depending on the amount of damage incurred. This means the earlier gluten is removed from the diet, the greater the likelihood of successful recovery.
For these reasons, anyone with an unexplained neurological disorder that does or does not respond to traditional treatment should be screened for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
(This Health Alert was taken from information found in Issue #10 – “How Gluten Perturbs the Brain” of the Gluten Free Gazette.)
Celiac disease is a hereditary, auto-immune disorder estimated to affect 1% of the human population (3 million in the US). Less than 3 % are estimated to be medically diagnosed, but numbers are expected to rapidly increase as diagnosis improves. Celiac disease is caused by the ingestion of wheat, barley, rye and oats and treated by removing these items from the diet. Signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications can affect any part of the body and removal of the offending foods can result in complete recovery.
Visit Glutenfreeworks.com for more information.
[Editor’s Note: Originally published October, 11, 2012]
Lately, it seems like more and more celebrities and professional athletes are openly talking about going gluten free. Whether it’s due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, or simply because they want to get healthy, many of them have noted a weight loss as part of the benefits they’ve been seeing. Then why is it, that so many doctors and specialists will dismiss a diagnosis of celiac disease in a patient simply because the patient is not underweight?
In a recent article by Sonia Kupfer, MD, the belief that people with un-diagnosed celiac disease are all underweight is revealed to Read More »