Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):

Join eNewsletter

Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):

Join eNewsletter
  • Join Our Community!

    Ask us a question in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • John B. Symes, D.V.M.

    The Plagues of Pandora’s Box on Humankind

    John B. Symes, D.V.M.
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2010 Issue. NOTE: This article is from a back issue of our popular subscription-only paper newsletter. Some content may be outdated.

    Swine Flu Strain Virus Particles. Image: CC BY 2.0--NIAID
    Caption: Swine Flu Strain Virus Particles. Image: CC BY 2.0--NIAID

    Celiac.com 09/21/2019 (Originally published 04/05/2010) - I am a veterinarian who is doing research on the origins of disease.  This came about after my miraculous recovery from multiple ailments following my diagnosis of food intolerance, particularly celiac disease.  I have chronicled my recovery and findings on my website, www.dogtorj.com.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most of what we call “diseases” are long-term symptoms arising from the “civil war” taking place in our bodies, between its residents—our cells and those entities designed to help and protect those residents (e.g. viruses and bacteria) and the constant barrage of immune challenges that we throw at them (e.g. food lectins, carcinogens, chemicals/preservatives, trans fats, fluoride (an “antibiotic” and carcinogen) air pollution, etc., etc.  These, coupled with our horrific fast-food diets, inadequate sleep/exercise/sunlight, and self-induced misery through alcohol/drug abuse and our penchant for sugar have brought all of the plagues of Pandora’s Box on humankind.

    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12):

    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12-m):

    Yet we keep pointing the finger at microorganisms like viruses and bacteria, including L-forms and mollicutes, as the enemy.  Granted, most don’t know or fully understand the true nature of viruses and bacteria - that they are crucial for our survival, being important instruments in our adaptation to this ever-changing environment in which we live.  But shouldn’t intelligent people be asking why these guys are so ubiquitous yet a relative few people are suffering from the “diseases” caused by these “culprits?

    The fact is that viruses and L forms do what they do because they need to survive because they are crucial to our survival.  Would you disagree that if we could snap our fingers and make all viruses and bacteria disappear from the planet that the entire ecosystem would collapse? Certainly, we know that the vast majority of these bacteria are not pathogenic? What really distinguishes a pathogen from a saprophyte—or a helper?

    When huge numbers of the population are infected with various “pathogenic” bacteria and yet remain asymptomatic, shouldn’t it give us pause? Why do they become such culprits of disease in the “unfortunate” few? Are they just unfortunate or have they done something—or lived somewhere, in the case of pollution—that has brought this plague on themselves?  We know that the number one risk of developing legionnaire’s disease was/is cigarette smoking.  Now there’s a surprise.

    I believe down to my core that viruses and bacteria work in concert to help us all, especially when it comes to adaptation and survival.  Bacteria form L-forms and viruses mutate because they need to survive - they are critical to our survival and only become pathogens when we have forced them into doing so with the laundry list of abuses given above.  Cancer is little more than a virus (and/or an intracellular bacteria) forcing that cell to duplicate out of control in a desperate attempt to protect itself, and the cell it was designed to protect, as well as escaping those noxious elements (we call them “carcinogens”) that have forced them into this final phase of adaptation.  

    Our immune systems tried valiantly to deal with this during the preceding “autoimmune” phase, a term I no longer use because the thought of our immune system attacking itself for no reason is preposterous, especially in light of research on L-forms.  And, we can’t say we weren’t warned by the broad array of symptoms we were given: the heartburn; IBS; allergies; hives; cough; migraines; seizures; fatigue/depression; etc.; etc.  

    Certainly, there are those who have become so afflicted and immune challenged that they need some pharmaceutical aid to deal with these helper-turned-“culprit” bacteria but to become dependent upon antibiotics for any significant length of time is both potentially dangerous and unnecessary.  If we stop the assault we are visiting on these misunderstood and reactionary residents, we can come off the drugs (like I did) and re-establish the status quo, and long before the two or three year mark in most cases, I believe.

    People simply need to know that we are the culprit, not these microorganisms at which we keep pointing our scientific fingers.  Why? Because these organisms—the viruses, bacteria, L-forms and mollicutes—are here to stay! It is we who are the transient visitors.  And if we want to enjoy our stay, we’re going to have to learn how to treat ourselves, and those who reside within us, a whole lot better.


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    I agree with everything (I think) that you say, but you offer no solution. I assume that you would endorse getting healthier by eating better. Avoiding processed foods as much as possible is obviously good, and then there are particular foods which harm us. I would have liked to hear which foods you think are the biggest culprits, or what else you think we can do to remain / become healthier.

    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • About Me

    John B. Symes, AKA “DogtorJ”, DVM is a veterinarian who has been practicing veterinary medicine for over twenty-five years.  He graduated with honors from Auburn University in 1979 and followed that with an internship at the prestigious Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston.  You can read Dogtor J.'s blog.

  • Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):
    Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):

    Celiac.com Sponsors (A17-m):

  • Related Articles

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Celiac.com 12/01/2015 - Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins which promote inflammatory responses like Crohn's disease, systemic lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. They were discovered over 100 years ago and cause leaky gut and gastrointestinal dysbiosis yet the push for a plant-based diet focusing on legumes as meat alternatives has overlooked the damage lectins cause to the gut. Legumes offer inferior nutrition compared to animal proteins so toxicity needs to be considered when recommending food choices.
    As carbohydrate binding proteins, lectins are difficult to digest and irritate the brush border of the small intestine. Consequently...

    Miranda Jade
    Celiac.com 10/06/2016 - You do not need to be celiac to need to stay away from gluten. Wheat isn't just harmful to celiac or gluten-sensitive individuals. Did you know that just one slice of wheat bread raises one's blood sugar higher than 3 teaspoons of table sugar? That is equivalent to 12 grams of sugar! Talk about diabetes waiting to happen!
    I am very diligent in reading over even the gluten–free ingredients of products to ensure they are indeed gluten-free. I decided to start grabbing items off of the shelf to read the other listed ingredients as well. Wow, was I surprised! Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, fructose etc.! Sweetener a...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/13/2018 - It is perhaps unsurprising that processed gluten-free foods are less nutritious than their gluten-containing counterparts.
    We've had data showing gluten-free foods to be high in sugar. We've had studies that show us they contain more salt. And now, for the trifecta, we have a recent study that shows us they contain more fat, sugar and salt.
    A study by the University of Hertfordshire surveyed more than 1,700 products from five UK supermarket chains and found that gluten-free foods have more fat, salt and sugar than their gluten-including counterparts, despite consumer perception that they "healthier" options. Except for crackers...

    John B. Symes, D.V.M.
    Celiac.com 05/31/2019 (originally published 10/08/2010) - Hello. My name is Gerald Cooper. My wife was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at the age of three. She’s 38 now and we are seeking the cure for this disease. I get on website after website and find cures for cancers and just about everything else. I am so thankful that people are getting cured from their problems, for I hate all diseases. I just get frustrated now and then because I have not found ANYONE saying that they have the cure for sickle cell anemia. I am seeking to find right now and we are desperate. We are desperate. My wife had a hip replacement due to the sickle cell anemia causing a...