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  • Gluten Intolerance Affects Hormonal Balance

    Dr. Vikki Petersen D.C, C.C.N
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter 2012 Issue


    Image: CC--woodleywonderworks
    Caption: Image: CC--woodleywonderworks

    Celiac.com 03/29/2018 - Fatigue is the most common symptom plaguing a majority of patients. Trouble sleeping, weight issues, PMS, headaches, fertility or libido issues, and achy joints are also very common and can all be affected by hormonal imbalance that continues after gluten has been removed from the diet.  The trouble with trying to resolve such symptoms is that the root cause can vary. If every patient with fatigue had a thyroid problem, it would be easy to correct because we would know exactly where to look. 

    If you're gluten intolerant you may have suffered from some of the complaints listed above prior to discovering your celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But perhaps now, despite your gluten-free diet, some of these same symptoms continue to plague you.  If so, read on.



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    Let's review the list of symptoms and add a few more:

    • Fatigue
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Weight trouble
    • PMS
    • Migraines
    • Infertility or miscarriage
    • Achy joints or muscles
    • Allergies
    • Light headedness
    • Frequent illness
    • Asthma

    While the list is long, believe it or not, there is a common cause to all of them.  I'm not saying it's the only cause, but what I do wish to discuss is the reason why someone can be found gluten intolerant, successfully institute a gluten-free diet, yet continue to suffer from many of the above symptoms.

    There are two glands in your body called the adrenal glands. They sit atop each of your kidneys and they are the masters of multi-tasking! If I asked you if one part of your body was responsible for:

    Giving you energy, maintaining your weight, keeping your immune system strong, maintaining stable mood, anti-aging, controlling sleep quality, assisting with hormonal balance, keeping allergies at bay and more…what would you say? 

    You might think to yourself that if there was one type of body part responsible for all those things then you had better start treating it well! You'd be very right in your analysis.

    As you've probably guessed the aforementioned adrenal glands are responsible for that very long list and, unfortunately, those very same adrenal glands tend to be quite stressed in the gluten intolerant individual.

    Why? Because adrenal glands are sensitive to, and get very stressed with, unstable blood sugar. Stable blood sugar comes from eating healthy food that your body finds nourishing. As you well know if you're gluten intolerant, gluten, for you, is a poison. Therefore years of eating gluten created unstable blood sugar and thereby put a tremendous strain on your adrenal glands.

    Because of the many, many jobs that the adrenal glands do, simply removing gluten as a stressor is typically insufficient to restore them to normal function. They need to be 're-set' with a nutritional and dietary program, to restore their good health. This explains why many who are gluten intolerant continue to suffer with the symptoms mentioned above.

    Therefore, even if your gluten intolerance has been diagnosed and you've instituted a strict gluten-free diet, if you haven't also found a clinician who understands and specializes in restoring health and function to the adrenal glands, you may very well continue to suffer with symptoms associated with adrenal stress.

    The good news is that the treatment to normalize adrenal function is not at all difficult. It is a completely natural program, when done correctly, involving no dangerous drugs or surgery. There are lab tests to determine the level of adrenal malfunction occurring but these are functional specialized lab tests rather than traditional ones. I mention this because I want to ensure that there is no confusion created when I mention adrenal function lab testing.

    The adrenal glands can become diseased but the disease isn't common. If you ask your traditional doctor to test for adrenal malfunction he or she will test for adrenal disease – once again a rare occurrence – and will likely pronounce your adrenal glands 'fine'. What I am discussing is malfunction vs. disease, two very different conditions. While adrenal gland disease is rare, adrenal gland malfunction is extremely common. It is this latter condition that we are discussing here. 

    This is an important distinction because I want to make sure that if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue that you aren't given a 'clean bill of health' incorrectly. Unfortunately this happens often. If it took you a while to receive a diagnosis of gluten intolerance then you will understand this phenomenon. Sadly this area of health is fraught with misunderstanding and it is the patient who suffers, often unnecessarily.

    If you need any help finding a clinician to help you, feel free to contact me. Normalizing adrenal function is one of our areas of expertise and patients visit us for treatment, at our destination clinic, from across the country, as well as internationally. If we cannot find a clinician close to you that specializes in this then we are more than happy to see you here. The good news is that the treatment is natural and inexpensive.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

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  • About Me

    Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Chiropractor and Certified Clinical Nutritionist is co-founder and co-director, of the renowned HealthNow Medical Center in Sunnyvale, California. Acclaimed author of a new book, "The Gluten Effect" - celebrated by leading experts as an epic leap forward in gluten sensitivity diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Vikki is acknowledged as a pioneer in advances to identify and treat gluten sensitivity. The HealthNOW Medical Center uses a multi-disciplined approach to addressing complex health problems. It combines the best of internal medicine, clinical nutrition, chiropractic and physical therapy to identify the root cause of a patient's health condition and provide patient-specific wellness solutions. Her Web site is:
    www.healthnowmedical.com


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