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    Can Non-Dietary Sources of Gluten Make You Sick?


    Dr. Vikki Petersen D.C, C.C.N


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter 2014 Issue


    Image Caption: Image: CC--S J Pyrotechnic

    Celiac.com 12/14/2016 - Just when you think you've heard everything, something brand new enters the arena. When it comes to non-dietary sources of gluten, I think of things such as lipstick (it's not a food but we still eat some of it), Play-Doh (also not a food but if you've ever seen children playing with it, you'll note that some ingestion occurs), and some cosmetic items like body lotions and shampoos. The skin does ‘ingest' what you put on it and we've definitely seen negative reactions from topical application of gluten-containing ingredients. But prior to becoming acquainted with a recent published paper in Clinical Pediatrics, my list of non-dietary sources of gluten would likely have ended there.


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    This brand new study entitled "An orthodontic retainer preventing remission in celiac disease" gives it all away in the title… or does it?

    Yes, it turns out that the specialized plastic used by manufacturers of retainers contains gluten. And the gluten can get mobilized into the body of the person utilizing the retainer. The story cited by the researchers involved a 9 year old child with celiac disease. She complained of abdominal pain and was diagnosed via blood and biopsy as having celiac. Upon implementing a gluten-free diet, the young girl's physical complaints persisted and her lab findings also showed an active form of the disease.

    Brilliantly, someone thought to suspect her retainer, which contained a plasticized methacrylate polymer. It turns out that gluten is a common additive to plastics. And despite the idea that a hard plastic would be stable, it turns out that nothing could be further from the truth.

    After discontinuing use of her retainer, not only did her symptoms resolve, but so too did her blood and biopsy findings become normal.

    I did a little digging and this specific form of plastic is used in more than just retainers. It's found in dentures, white dental fillings, hard lenses for the eye in the treatment of cataracts, hard and some soft contact lenses, as a bone cement in orthopedic surgery, in cosmetic surgery as fillers, and more.

    The history behind the use of this plastic is rather interesting. It turns out that during World War II pilots flew in planes that had side windows made from this particular type of plastic (abbreviation PMMA). When they were shot at, splinters from the windows lodged in the pilots eyes. Unlike glass splinters that did create problems, the plastic caused no rejection by the eyes. This human tissue compatibility was then used for cataracts, contact lenses, etc.

    If you know of someone who continues to be ill despite a strict gluten-free diet, looking into non-dietary forms of gluten may yield the answer to their problem.

    I hope you found this informative. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. If you need assistance with your health, consider contacting us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400. We are a destination clinic and treat patients from across the country and internationally. You don't need to live local to us to receive assistance. We're here to help!

    To your good health!

    Reference:

    • Clinical Pediatrics. 2013 Nov; 52(11):1034-7. doi: 10.1177/0009922813506254. An orthodontic retainer preventing remission in celiac disease. Memon Z, Baker SS, Khan A, Hashmi H, Gelfond D.
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    I actually had a fake set of Halloween teeth that made me really sick every time I used them. Now I know why. I thought it was in the glue to fit them but this makes a a lot more sense now.

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    Guest Kristin Adams

    Posted

    Gluten is a very common, hidden ingredient in cosmetics. While the molecular size of gluten is too large to absorb, it´s said that women eat up to 4 pounds of lip products in a lifetime. If you do decide to remove yourself from the gluten equation all-together and buy gluten-free cosmetics, I highly suggest you purchase products that are actually third party certified (not just claimed to be "lab tested". The third party audit process reveals more than you would ever think about contaminates. Plus, if your gluten concern is great enough you should want a third party to validate any claim.

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    The references for the plastics cited in the 2013 article are from the 1970s. This type of additive to plastics is not commonly used anymore. I did some research on this a couple of years ago and it is VERY unlikely that a retainer will contain gluten.

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    Guest Heather

    Posted

    What alternative do we have, though? I'm about to get braces and will likely be in a retainer afterward. It seems like every dental device has some level plastic in it.

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    Just when I thought I had it covered and was beginning to get comfortable, this pops up! It appears that sugar, salt, fat and tobacco, the [otherwise] most problematic sources of ill health in developed countries, are not insinuated into the human experience as much as gluten!rn

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    Guest Heather

    Posted

    Ok - I did some digging myself and found that this story of the 9 year old girl was reported a few years ago and an article about even posted on celiac.com back in 2014, so this isn't "new." Also, every article I've found linking gluten to orthodontics only mentions this one study about the girl and her retainer. If this is a true issue, have they studied other celiacs with dental appliances to see if gluten in the plastics (if really present) was indeed causing relapse? I can't find any evidence.

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    Guest Forress

    Posted

    Is there a way I can tell it my dentures are made of this stuff? I am always so miserable but am on a strict gluten-free diet.

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    Guest Shaina Wright

    Posted

    Now I'm worried about both my contacts and the mouth guard I use for sports. Are there any good resources for figuring out if a specific plastic product has gluten as an additive?

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    Ok - I did some digging myself and found that this story of the 9 year old girl was reported a few years ago and an article about even posted on celiac.com back in 2014, so this isn't "new." Also, every article I've found linking gluten to orthodontics only mentions this one study about the girl and her retainer. If this is a true issue, have they studied other celiacs with dental appliances to see if gluten in the plastics (if really present) was indeed causing relapse? I can't find any evidence.

    Note that this article was originally published a few years ago in our Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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    Guest Loretta

    Posted

    Is there a way I can tell it my dentures are made of this stuff? I am always so miserable but am on a strict gluten-free diet.

    Have you tried going off anything in the nightshade family? I react to all of those plus sweet potatoes.

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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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    Sources:
    National Institutes of Health, Univ. of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, May 7, 2013. A multi-center study on the sero-prevalence of celiac disease in the United States among both at risk and not at risk groups. Fasano et. al., Archives of Internal Medicine. February 2003. Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. http://www.cumc.columbia.edu February 14, 2011. Detection of secretory IgA antibodies against gliadin and human tissue transglutaminase in stool to screen for coeliac disease in children: validation study (Published 26 January 2006) BMJ 2006;332:213

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    Jefferson Adams
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    This effort has paid dividends in the last years is due, in part, to advances in formulation, ingredient sourcing, and a focus on making products delicious.
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    Still, challenges remain. A recent article in Food Processing highlights some of the challenges faced by manufacturers of gluten-free products. Some of those challenges are:
    Formulation Challenges
    In most cases, there are still challenges developing free-from foods, although not as many as in the past.
    Though much progress has been made on formulation gluten-free products, challenges still remain. In fact, formulation challenges are at the top of the list for things manufacturers must resolve in order to make tasty, delicious gluten-free products.
    "Wheat flour has many functional attributes that are difficult to replace, as well as a very clean flavor profile," points out Peggy Dantuma, director of technical sales-bakery at Kerry Inc., in Beloit, Wisconsin.
    Sourcing Pure Ingredients
    Once upon a time, finding good sources of reliable gluten-free grains was a challenge. Now, with new product protocols, certification and the rise of specialty growers and mills, that problem is not nearly as daunting as in the past.
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    Quinn Snacks of Boulder, Colorado, makes its new non-GMO pretzels gluten-free as well as free of dairy, soy and corn. It uses Kansas whole-grain sorghum flour, organic wild blossom honey, apple cider vinegar and brown rice and potato flour among its other "real" ingredients.
    In addition to sourcing pure ingredients, many manufacturers operate their own dedicated production facilities to ensure product purity from start to finish. Like a number of other manufacturers, Flax4Life operates a dedicated facility free of gluten, dairy and nuts.
    Formulating Unique Products
    In the early days, and to some extent today, many gluten-free products were formulated to be basic copies of existing non-gluten-free products. The result was often and inferior product that was a pale comparison to its original.
    More and more, manufacturers are looking to create unique products that also happen to be free of gluten and many other common allergies. Riverside Natural Foods in Ontario, Canada, "doesn't try to replicate existing products with gluten-free ingredients," says Nima Fotovat, president.
    Fotovat goes on to say that "[d]eveloping allergen-free product is the same process as any product. We start with the best, freshest ingredients from reliable suppliers who can offer certified allergen-free credentials, and process them minimally to preserve the original nutrients as much as possible. We conduct limited consumer testing to ensure that taste is delivered."
    Riverside's MadeGood Crispy Squares, and MadeGood granola bars are free from gluten and the eight common allergens. Both products are certified USDA organic and non-GMO.
    Making Products Delicious
    In looking to formulate unique products, manufacturers have embraced the concept that gluten-free foods need to taste good and to be appealing to consumers in their own right.
    That has led to a focus on making products taste delicious. "The most important thing is that the products must taste delicious," says Shippen of Flax4Life.
    Transparency and Sustainability
    More and more, manufacturers are embracing transparency and sustainability as a key part of their food delivery mission. Kristy Homes-Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Quinn Snacks, says that the company works "only with growers and suppliers who share our vision." That vision includes sourcing organic ingredients whenever possible and supporting other green businesses.
    Quinn's products are distinguished, in part by the company's use of "farm-to-bag" tracking that allows the company and its customers to track ingredients back to the source. All of Quinn Snacks products are traceable on its website, where consumers can find information on suppliers, and explanations about each ingredient.
    Though many challenges still face producers of gluten- and allergen-free foods, manufacturers are meeting many of them head-on and, more often than not, prevailing in the production of tasty, nutrition, gluten- and allergen-free snacks.
    Look for the industry to continue their efforts to make progress in all areas of food manufacture, and look for more good, high-quality products in the future.
    Source:
    Foodprocessing.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/29/2017 - The popularity of gluten-free products has soared, despite little evidence that gluten-free products are beneficial for people who do not have celiac disease.
    The number and range of gluten-free products continue to grow at a rapid pace, and manufacturers are adding more all the time. The proliferation of gluten-free products is inviting the scrutiny of nutritionists, some of whom are arraigning the alarm about questionable nutrition of many gluten-free foods and snacks.
    Recent products tests show that the vast majority of gluten-free snacks tested are far saltier than their non-gluten-free alternatives, say researchers. Just how much saltier? Researchers surveyed a total of 106 products, and found that many gluten-free snacks have up to five times more salt than non-gluten-free counterparts. And only a third of these products have proper warnings on their labels, according to a separate study by health campaigners.
    The team also compared salt content for each product in a particular category to the salt content (per 100g) of a randomly chosen gluten-containing equivalent product of that category. Notable differences in salt content include:
    Schar Gluten Free Pretzels (3.0/100g), twice the salt of Sainsbury's Salted Pretzels (1.5g/100g) Mrs Crimble's Original Cheese Crackers (3.5/100g), 2.5 times the salt of Ritz Original Crackers (1.38/100g) The Snack Organisation Sweet Chilli Rice Crackers (2.6/100g), 3 times as salty as Aldi's The Foodie Market Crunchy Chilli Rice Snacks (0.84/100g) These revelations invite questions about whether health-conscious shoppers are being misled.
    Nutritionists are urging shoppers to look past clever packaging, and to not automatically assume that "gluten-free" foods are healthy.
    Full Survey Data: Actiononsalt.org

  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/21/2018 - Would you buy a house advertised as ‘gluten-free’? Yes, there really is such a house for sale. 
    It seems a Phoenix realtor Mike D’Elena is hoping that his trendy claim will catch the eye of a buyer hungry to avoid gluten, or, at least one with a sense of humor. D’Elena said he crafted the ads as a way to “be funny and to draw attention.” The idea, D’Elena said, is to “make it memorable.” 
    Though D’Elena’s marketing seeks to capitalizes on the gluten-free trend, he knows Celiac disease is a serious health issue for some people. “[W]e’re not here to offend anybody….this is just something we're just trying to do to draw attention and do what's best for our clients," he said. 
    Still, the signs seem to be working. D'elena had fielded six offers within a few days of listing the west Phoenix home.
    "Buying can sometimes be the most stressful thing you do in your entire life so why not have some fun with it," he said. 
    What do you think? Clever? Funny?
    Read more at Arizonafamily.com.

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    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
    Our passion is to bake the very best products while bringing happiness to our customers, each other, and all those we meet!
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
    The trials are set to begin at Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre. The vaccine is designed to allow people with celiac disease to consume gluten with no adverse effects. A successful vaccine could be the beginning of the end for the gluten-free diet as the only currently viable treatment for celiac disease. That could be a massive breakthrough for people with celiac disease.
    USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said trial participants would receive an injection of the vaccine twice a week for seven weeks. The trials will be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr. James Daveson, who called the vaccine “a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
    Dr. Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance to people with celiac disease.The trial is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have clinically diagnosed celiac disease, and have followed a strict gluten-free diet for at least 12 months. Anyone interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com.
    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.

    Source:
    FoodProcessing.com.au

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/19/2018 - Could baking soda help reduce the inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease? Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say that a daily dose of baking soda may in fact help reduce inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
    Those scientists recently gathered some of the first evidence to show that cheap, over-the-counter antacids can prompt the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be helpful in combating inflammatory disease.
    A type of cell called mesothelial cells line our body cavities, like the digestive tract. They have little fingers, called microvilli, that sense the environment, and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed.
    The team’s data shows that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, the stomach makes more acid, which causes mesothelial cells on the outside of the spleen to tell the spleen to go easy on the immune response.  "It's most likely a hamburger not a bacterial infection," is basically the message, says Dr. Paul O'Connor, renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study's corresponding author.
    That message, which is transmitted with help from a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, seems to encourage the gut to shift against inflammation, say the scientists.
    In patients who drank water with baking soda for two weeks, immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. "The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere," O'Connor says. "We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood."
    O'Connor hopes drinking baking soda can one day produce similar results for people with autoimmune disease. "You are not really turning anything off or on, you are just pushing it toward one side by giving an anti-inflammatory stimulus," he says, in this case, away from harmful inflammation. "It's potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease."
    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
    Read more at: Sciencedaily.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
    The research team included P Singh, A Arora, TA Strand, DA Leffler, C Catassi, PH Green, CP Kelly, V Ahuja, and GK Makharia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India; Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Gastroenterology Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA; Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; USA Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
    For their review, the team searched Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE for the keywords ‘celiac disease,’ ‘celiac,’ ‘tissue transglutaminase antibody,’ ‘anti-endomysium antibody,’ ‘endomysial antibody,’ and ‘prevalence’ for studies published from January 1991 through March 2016. 
    The team cross-referenced each article with the words ‘Asia,’ ‘Europe,’ ‘Africa,’ ‘South America,’ ‘North America,’ and ‘Australia.’ They defined celiac diagnosis based on European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition guidelines. The team used 96 articles of 3,843 articles in their final analysis.
    Overall global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4% in 275,818 individuals, based on positive blood tests for anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or anti-endomysial antibodies. The pooled global prevalence of biopsy-confirmed celiac disease was 0.7% in 138,792 individuals. That means that numerous people with celiac disease potentially remain undiagnosed.
    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
    This review demonstrates a need for more comprehensive population-based studies of celiac disease in numerous countries.  The 1.4% rate indicates that there are 91.2 million people worldwide with celiac disease, and 3.9 million are in the U.S.A.
    Source:
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.