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Tired Of Having Frequent "colds"
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Hello everyone,

I am really tired of getting colds. In the last two months I have had four colds that have lasted five or more days each.

I get influenza like symptoms and my sinuses are causing me a lot of facial pain. I am quite certain that this is not triggered by gluten, but is the result of a super low functioning immune system.

I was officially diagnosed with celiacs disease 2 months ago, and have been 100 % gluten free for four months.

Before I got the diagnosis I had the same problem with frequent colds. But they are not improving.

I went my GP today and I suggested I had a low immune system as a result of celiac. He looked at me funny and said "Oh, does the immune system get affected by celiacs disease?" Safe to say I am feeling very discouraged at the moment.

I am taking vitamin B, B12 in addition to multivitamins and probiotics. Any thoughts to as why my immune system is failing me?

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You poor thing. I totally sympathize! You have definitely probably got these colds because of your low immune system... or exhausted immune system! Also, don't forget your body is trying to clear all the toxins out that it has accumulated over the period you were eating gluten. This can manifest in flu/cold type symptoms. Warming foods and herbs would work well to boost your body's own natural defenses without making it work too hard. Ginger and garlic are fantastic for warming the body, peppermint is great also for warming and helping digestion. Liquorice is fantastic for adrenal fatigue, which is one of the reasons you may not be fighting things adequately. Don't take too much and if you have high blood pressure poss. better to keep away from it. I depend on a lot of herbs and cooking spices/herbs for supporting my body as it heals. A lot of the supplement herbs are quite harsh on an already stressed body and digestive system. Hope that these help a little.

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I had constant colds, flu, even pneumonia before I started thyroid meds (this was years before I went gluten-free). If you haven't had your thyroid checked, and been checked for Hashimotos Thyroiditis, it would be a good idea. Hashis and Celiac patients have a lot of overlap in symptoms.

You need a full thyroid panel (not just tsh), including TPO.

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actually, Celiac is an auto-immune disease, which means your immune system is OVER active, not low functioning!

This doesn't mean of course that you're safe from cold and flu viruses, or even more susceptible. I'd hazard a guess that you've just come into contact with a lot of them lately. To ward them off, wash your hands often after/when you're out in public, get lots of sleep, and eat properly.

I'll also add that before I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease (also an auto-immune disease) my sinuses were stuffed up beyond belief for about a year and a half. I couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, it was horrible! You might want to look into thyroid disease, as pricklypear suggested above.

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actually, Celiac is an auto-immune disease, which means your immune system is OVER active, not low functioning!

This doesn't mean of course that you're safe from cold and flu viruses, or even more susceptible. I'd hazard a guess that you've just come into contact with a lot of them lately. To ward them off, wash your hands often after/when you're out in public, get lots of sleep, and eat properly.

I'll also add that before I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease (also an auto-immune disease) my sinuses were stuffed up beyond belief for about a year and a half. I couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, it was horrible! You might want to look into thyroid disease, as pricklypear suggested above.

Of course the immune system is over active to your own body... my mistake. But not to invaders such as colds/flu/other viruses... I kind of corrected myself by saying it was 'exhausted'. The adrenals as well as thyroid should be tested for too. To be honest, a lot of diseases stem and are aggravated from a condition like this of things like thyroid, graves, leaky gut, PSC, AIH, etc. Tests are fine but the underlying whole body needs to be addressed, not just an individual disease, hence the holistic approach of herbs. Acupuncture is also really very helpful at getting the body to stop fighting itself and fight the true invaders like colds/flu.

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I agree the whole system is a mess. In my case, the thyroid supplementation made a HUGE difference, though.

In retrospect, the one thing the meds did perfectly was relieve cold/flu episodes. Gluten relieved the rest.

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Thank you all very much for your answers. They are very helpful and encouraging. :)

I had my thyroid checked a few months ago, but tomorrow I

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Hello all- this seems like a good place to ask. I had my TSH looked at in May and it was quite within the normal range, nothing to worry about. My severe onset of celiac symptoms, although in retrospect being at a low level for most of my life, became quite severe around the june, july, august timeframe. I've been gluten free for about a month and a half now.

Do you all think it's worth getting the thyroid rechecked NOW for Hashimoto's (full panel), or wait until May, which is when I have it regularly scheduled? I'm still experiencing pretty severe hair loss, despite D and K supplementation. My Doctor said yesterday that it could take some time to reverse that trend, so it was worth waiting.

And Rebekka, I'm totally with you on the crap immune system. I seem to get every bug that goes through the workplace, and the most severe forms of them, too.

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If you had vitamin blood panels run, you probably know your deficiencies. If not, I'd ask to have them run.

I am on the side of "fix it and be happy" - so if I suspected thyroid I'd get it checked asap. Remember, some tests have a big range .5-5.5, and the new trend is to lower "normal" to .5-2.5....so get a copy of your tests and insist on the TPO for Hashis.

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This is really interesting re. the Thyroid. I think that mine goes up and down as sometimes my acupuncturists picks it up and sometimes she says it's fine. My bloods last January were 0.82mu/l where normal is (0.35-4.94). This is a UK test so the parameters may be different. Does anyone from the UK know if my reading is normal... it would seem on the low side to me?! There are other things that came up in the bloods like a fairly low potassium and calcium reading, but I was drinking coffee at the time like it was going out of fashion so I suppose that could skew results too.

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you don't want to "boost" your immune system though, if you have an auto-immune disease. Taking herbs like echinacea and the like, can actually make you feel worse and make an already over active immune system even moreso.

Having a healthy diet, proper sleep patterns, and washing your hands regularly is really the best you can do to ward of colds and 'flu.

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you don't want to "boost" your immune system though, if you have an auto-immune disease. Taking herbs like echinacea and the like, can actually make you feel worse and make an already over active immune system even moreso.

Having a healthy diet, proper sleep patterns, and washing your hands regularly is really the best you can do to ward of colds and 'flu.

This got me thinking. It sounds really logical!

Thank you for your advice ;)

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Pricklypear- thanks for the advice! I shall have it looked into.

Reba- The autoimmune portion of my immune system is overactive, yes, hence, Celiac. Too much self-recognition going on there. However, the fact that I get every passing bug seems to indicate that something else is going on with the rest of the immune system. Longitudinal studies have also indicated that celiacs are MOST likely to die from respiratory diseases, not cancer. This seems to indicate DEPRESSED immune function.

Luckily, I think there's a fairly easy explanation for that, malabsorption and long term nutrient deficiencies.

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Pricklypear- thanks for the advice! I shall have it looked into.

Reba- The autoimmune portion of my immune system is overactive, yes, hence, Celiac. Too much self-recognition going on there. However, the fact that I get every passing bug seems to indicate that something else is going on with the rest of the immune system. Longitudinal studies have also indicated that celiacs are MOST likely to die from respiratory diseases, not cancer. This seems to indicate DEPRESSED immune function.

Luckily, I think there's a fairly easy explanation for that, malabsorption and long term nutrient deficiencies.

Saintmaybe, I totally agree. I think it is important to understand the immune system. Auto-immune means that the body is too busy fighting itself to fight the real invaders. Echinachea as someone mentioned above absolutely should not be used in this type of disease... absolutely right. There are other mild and supportive herbs though, particularly for liver, spleen and kidney support, hormone production and gut reconstruction... all of which can be used without any effects on the efficacy of the immune system's ability to fight external invaders.

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and the malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies can be remedied by eating entirely gluten free and a healthful balanced diet, which includes healthy fats, proteins and moderate carbohydrates. It will take a while for the gut to heal yes, but as it heals the body will absorb more and more nutrients and vitamins from the foods. Avoid manufactured packaged foods, and go for the stuff that Nature made naturally healthy and gluten free.

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    • Mnoosh,    Can you give us a link to the article you read about the increased risk after being diagnosed and maintaining a strict gluten-free diet??       IMO,   You are over reacting to a misprint or most likely a misread article.
    • Yes!  With dairy, celiacs can often have a temorary lactose intolerance due to damaged intestinal villi (where the enzymes normally are released to digest lactose).  Of course you could be naturally lactose intolerant based on race or age.  It is best to stick to a whole foods diet while you are healing.  Really, is ice cream or potato chips going to provide you with nutritional value?  Stick with naturally gluten free foods like meat, fish, fats,  veggies (even those with carbs like sweet potatoes or winter squash) and fruit.  Avoid that processed junk as you may react to the additives right now.  Later, you can add back in dairy (test) and other foods you miss and crave.   Good luck!  
    • Take a deep breath and calm down!    The incidence of cancer with Celiac Disease is rare.......it can happen but the vast majority of people never have that experience.  You may have somewhat enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation from undiagnosed Celiac but that will all calm down and go away once you get going on the diet.  Believe me, there are many of us that have things happen during the diagnosis and early recovery period and everything turned out just fine.  There is an elevated risk for some cancers with Celiac but that risk goes back to that of the general population after a couple of years on the gluten-free diet. I cannot remember the exact time frame but it is somewhere between 2-4 years, I think.  So many of us went years without a diagnosis and when it was all figured out, we have gone on to be healthy with little complications.  Really...do  not worry about this.  Concentrate on learning all the ins and outs of this disease and how to live gluten free happily.  We are here to help you and guess what? The diet is not as bad as some make it out to be. Many things can be made gluten free and are every bit as good as their gluten counterparts. The diet may not be convenient but it is not hard. I would not lie to you!   
    • Well....one common symptom that most celiacs have when they are diagnosed (or undiagnosed) is anxiety.  So, there is a risk of cancers, but science has demonstrated that that risk goes down on a gluten free diet (if you have celiac disease).  In goes down to the same risk as those without celiac disease.   I kind of was a basket case.  I drive my family a bit crazy because I was anxious.  I felt a bit stupid too.  I guess I had a little brain fog going on too.  All that resolved after I healed. Welcome to the fourum.  Read our Newbie 101 thread under "Coping" (pinned at the top of the page) and learn about hidden sources of gluten and cross contamination.  I think most of us do not worry about cancer. We mourn the freedom to eat anything anywhere!   I did not have swollen lymph nodes, but I am sure others have and they did not have cancer.  Hopefully, they will chime in and set your mind at ease.  If not, you can search for "lymph nodes" at the top of the page (little magnifying glass).  There are lots of members with the same issue!  
    • I was recently diagnosed as having celiac and to be honest the part I'm having the most trouble with isn't the change in food or lifestyle. I'm really upset about what I've read about the risk of cancer increasing with celiac disease. I think this is playing into my fears because I currently have lymph nodes all over my body-my Doctor says they are not considered swollen or concerning, but I don't usually feel nodes. The lymph nodes and horrible diarrhea for the last 3 weeks were what got me into the the doctor for lab work. My blood work came great so I'm wondering if anyone else experienced lymph nodes reacting when they found out they were celiac? Also how do you deal with anxiety surrounding the increased risk of cancer? Thanks!
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