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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Strong Link Between Asthma and Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/07/2011 - People with celiac disease are 60 percent more likely to develop asthma than people without celiac disease, according to a new study, which appears in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

    Moreover, the study results show that those with asthma are also more likely to eventually develop celiac disease. Indeed, for every 100,000 people with celiac disease, 147 will have asthma that would not have occurred in the absence of the digestive disorder.



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    To assess possible links between celiac disease and asthma, Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson of Orebro University Hospital and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and colleagues compared more than 28,000 Swedes diagnosed with celiac to more than 140,000 similar people without the disease.

    Ludvigsson cautions that the study merely shows an links between the two diseases, it does not establish that asthma causes celiac disease, or vice versa.

    The exact nature of the association between the two diseases is unclear, but Ludvigsson told reporters that he thinks "the role of vitamin D deficiency should be stressed."

    Ludwigsson points out that people with celiac are more likely to develop osteoporosis and tuberculosis, both diseases in which vitamin D plays a role. If a person with celiac also has low levels of vitamin D, this could in turn affect the immune system, which could increase the risk of developing asthma.

    Another possibility, he points out, is that "asthma and celiac disease share some immunological feature. If you have it, you are at increased risk of both diseases.

    Ludvigsson also addresses the fact that the study did not establish levels of compliance with a gluten-free diet among the participants with celiac disease by noting that general "dietary compliance is high in Sweden," so he believes that "patients with good adherence are at increased risk of asthma."

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    I have gluten intolerance and also a casein allergy (along with soy intolerance and intolerances to about 21 other foods).

     

    Once I quit eating cow dairy (I can eat goat or sheep products) and cut out all the other foods that were having inflammatory responses within my body, I was able to go off Advair. I'd been on Advair since about 2003 and went off it in April 2010. Haven't had any wheezing--even during the winter--and haven't had to use any emergency inhalers, nor anything having to do with asthma control. My asthma...just went away.

     

    So yes, I firmly believe that if you control the aspects of ill health that need controlling--quit eating gluten, quit eating cow milk, quit eating soy, quit eating whatever it is that is making your body inflamed and causing issues--that you could very well get rid of your asthma and off the asthma pharma drugs. Probably other allergies as well, as many of mine have also gone away.

     

    I also went off all the pharma drugs I'd been on, started eating organic food and quit eating processed stuff, and take specific supplements/nutriceuticals that my body is lacking, as well as drinking reverse-osmosis water. I think doing a multitude of good, clean living items--to include detoxifying and cleaning up the body--definitely helps the body repair itself and get healthy.

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    I have gluten intolerance and also a casein allergy (along with soy intolerance and intolerances to about 21 other foods).

     

    Once I quit eating cow dairy (I can eat goat or sheep products) and cut out all the other foods that were having inflammatory responses within my body, I was able to go off Advair. I'd been on Advair since about 2003 and went off it in April 2010. Haven't had any wheezing--even during the winter--and haven't had to use any emergency inhalers, nor anything having to do with asthma control. My asthma...just went away.

     

    So yes, I firmly believe that if you control the aspects of ill health that need controlling--quit eating gluten, quit eating cow milk, quit eating soy, quit eating whatever it is that is making your body inflamed and causing issues--that you could very well get rid of your asthma and off the asthma pharma drugs. Probably other allergies as well, as many of mine have also gone away.

     

    I also went off all the pharma drugs I'd been on, started eating organic food and quit eating processed stuff, and take specific supplements/nutriceuticals that my body is lacking, as well as drinking reverse-osmosis water. I think doing a multitude of good, clean living items--to include detoxifying and cleaning up the body--definitely helps the body repair itself and get healthy.

    Certainly glad to hear this, ACurtis.

     

    I've recently been diagnosed with celiac disease. Before that, I had two bouts with asthma that were warded off by a low-glycemic cleansing diet prescribed by my doctor. I discovered that cow milk brought my asthma back instantly. In retrospect, it's clear that I only addressed part of the problem. 6 months ago, I had asthma onset strong and hard, and have desperately been trying to understand the sudden decline in my health. I've started a gluten-free diet, and have been free from the aforementioned refined sugars and foods for a long, long time now. My diet consists of more than 50% fruits and vegetables, some organic, some not, always raw. Asthma was getting worse steadily to the point of near-hospitalization, to the point where no combination of Prednasone, Advair, Dulera, nor Singular could make me feel better. Recently, my asthma has made a turn for the better. I fear the winter the most, as that's when my previous asthma symptoms onset. Hopefully I can experience a similar recovery as you have.

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    10 days on a gluten-free diet have made my asthma inhaler obsolete. I think they have found the tip of an iceberg here. An AgA blood test came in at a high "normal" and thus negative for celiac, but the gluten-free diet has helped me immensely. I am also noticing a huge improvement in my sinuses. My childhood included unexplained outbreaks of eczema, and what I thought was a spastic colon. These seemed benign compared to suffocating asthma. I am no doctor but my hunch is that there is an issue of magnesium malabsorption in celiac disease, which may prevent smooth lung tissue from relaxing in asthmatics (probably a stretch, but who knows). Perhaps in twenty years dietitians and gastroenterologists will be the real asthma experts.

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    On 4/11/2011 at 5:55 AM, Guest ACurtis said:

    I have gluten intolerance and also a casein allergy (along with soy intolerance and intolerances to about 21 other foods).

     

    Once I quit eating cow dairy (I can eat goat or sheep products) and cut out all the other foods that were having inflammatory responses within my body, I was able to go off Advair. I'd been on Advair since about 2003 and went off it in April 2010. Haven't had any wheezing--even during the winter--and haven't had to use any emergency inhalers, nor anything having to do with asthma control. My asthma...just went away.

     

    So yes, I firmly believe that if you control the aspects of ill health that need controlling--quit eating gluten, quit eating cow milk, quit eating soy, quit eating whatever it is that is making your body inflamed and causing issues--that you could very well get rid of your asthma and off the asthma pharma drugs. Probably other allergies as well, as many of mine have also gone away.

     

    I also went off all the pharma drugs I'd been on, started eating organic food and quit eating processed stuff, and take specific supplements/nutriceuticals that my body is lacking, as well as drinking reverse-osmosis water. I think doing a multitude of good, clean living items--to include detoxifying and cleaning up the body--definitely helps the body repair itself and get healthy.

    I was diagnosed celiac at 45 years old. . I have had severe allergies and asthma my entire life. I was on Advair diskus 250, Singulair, and a xopenex inhaler for bronchospasm. I had reactions to even low pollen days, particulates,  cold air, dry air, all year. I wore an N95, anytime working out outdoors. 

    After I started the gluten free diet,  it was a short week later, I realized, I was not having symptoms,  and I continued exercising without the mask. I began to cut out first Singulair.  I stopped taking the inhaler before workouts. Over a month later, stopped taking even my Allegra! When I ran out of Advair,  I kept forgetting to refill the prescription. In over 21 months of gluten free diet, I have only needed the inhaler 2x, during extremely high pollen days. I no longer cough after meals, wheeze, at any time. First time in my life, I can actually run outdoors without any fear of asthma. I am off all medications for asthma. My skin is clearing of scars left by an itchy, burning rash, and lower extremity edema. Some of the allergens I was positive for allergic reactions to, I am no longer having reactions. I believe celiac, caused my immune system to be overreacting to everything. My allergies, seem to only be from ingesting gluten, alone. My only reaction to milk protein seems to be bloating, and lactose was severe diarrhea.  However, even a little lactose, no longer bothers me. 

    Edited by Havnsumfn
    Autocorrect mistakes.
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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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    Diana Gitig Ph.D.
    Celiac.com 03/21/2011 - Two recent population-based studies, both performed in Sweden by Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson, have concluded that people who have had biopsies that reveal villous atrophy are at increased risk of both ischemic heart disease and asthma. But at least regarding heart disease, the bulk of the risk may simply be attributable to inflammation.
    The team of researchers looked at biopsy data collected from all twenty-eight of Sweden’s pathology departments between 2006 and 2008. The data included biopsies performed as far back as 1969, and represented 44,446 individuals: 28,190 with celiac disease, as ascertained by small intestine morphology; 12,598 with duodenal/jejuna inflammation lacking villous atrophy; and 3,658 with latent celiac disease, defined as those with positive celiac serology but normal mucosa. 219,392 healthy controls who had never had biopsies were included as controls. They concluded that celiac disease and inflammation of the small intestine were both modestly associated with ischemic heart disease, whereas latent celiac disease was not.
    Although these findings agree in kind, if not in degree, with reports previously published by others, this study had a number of flaws. First of all, the researchers lack data on individual adherence to a gluten free diet. The authors note that “low dietary adherence is associated with persistent inflammation and therefore might explain the increased risk of ischemic heart disease observed in patients with celiac disease.” They also lack data on blood pressure, smoking status, body mass index, lipid levels, exercise routines, and other established risk factors for ischemic heart disease. Because they found the highest risk in the first year following biopsy, they cede that this risk could be attributable to enhanced inflammation, enhanced stress surrounding a diagnosis with celiac disease, or even an increase in reporting rather than incidence due to more vigilant medical care immediately following the diagnosis with celiac disease. They even note that gastrointestinal and cardiac symptoms are easily confused, further confounding their analysis.
    The second study compared the same 28,190 Swedes with villous atrophy to 140,000 controls. It reported that people with celiac disease were 60% more likely to develop asthma than those without it, and conversely, that people with asthma are more likely to develop celiac disease. “A potential mechanism could be that asthma and celiac disease share some immunological feature,” said Dr. Ludvigsson. “If you have it, you are at increased risk of both diseases.” He also noted that vitamin D deficiency can play a causative role in both diseases, and should be assessed on both celiac patients and asthmatics.
    Sources:
    Circulation 2011; 123: 483-490 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology February 11, 2011 / doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2010.12.1076


    Tina Turbin
    Celiac.com 05/20/2011 - Over the years, researchers have been discovering more and more about celiac disease, an autoimmune disease which is caused by gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Studies have linked the disease to a variety of other medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Researchers have now found a connection between celiac disease and asthma.

    Asthma is chronic lung disease that causes the passages of the lungs to become inflamed and narrowed, resulting in wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest area, and coughing. It often begins in childhood, and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, more than 22 million people suffer from the condition. Many studies have linked asthma to airborne allergens, but doctors have begun to look into food culprits as well. One such study shows a connection to celiac disease, which isn’t an allergy but rather an autoimmune response to gluten.

    In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, European researchers found that celiac individuals were 60 percent more likely to develop asthma than those without the condition. Celiac disease affects approximately one percent of the population and without treatment, which is a gluten-free diet, can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms including chronic fatigue, headaches, malnutrition, chronic headaches, and stomach problems.

    Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson of Orebro University Hospital and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and his colleagues compared more than 28,000 Swedish celiac patients to more than 140,000 similar people without the disease. The study concluded that only a link between the two could be demonstrated, not that one condition causes the other; the researchers weren’t able to identify the reason for the association.

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    According to Dr. Ludviggson, Swedish celiac patients adhere well to the gluten-free diet. The study didn’t determine how closely the 28,000 subjects were sticking to their diets, but Ludviggson told Reuters health, "Generally dietary compliance is high in Sweden, so I actually believe that also patients with good adherence are at increased risk of asthma.”

    It is recommended that people who suspect they may have celiac disease or asthma should consult with a qualified medical practitioner for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
    Resources:

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Asthma/Asthma_WhatIs.html Gluten Free Society: Gluten Sensitivity Increases the Risk for Asthma: http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/gluten-sensitivity-increases-the-risk-for-asthma/ Reuters: Asthma linked to celiac disease: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/24/us-asthma-linked-celiac-disease-idUSTRE71N4WF20110224


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