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Canadian Beer Industry Froths Over Allergy Label Rules


New gluten label rules meet strong opposition by Canadian Beer Industry. Photo: CC-jaygoldman

Celiac.com 02/03/2011 - Okay, so Canadians take their beer seriously. Beer being one of the few things that might stoke the passions of some Canadians almost as much as, say, hockey.

So, proposed health regulations that would require beer labels to include a warning that beer is made with barley or wheat have the Canadian beer industry in a froth.

Major players in the Canadian brewing industry are gearing up opposition over the proposed health regulations that would require just such labels, warning consumers that beer contains barley or wheat; something Canadian brewers liken to warning that ketchup contains tomatoes.

The proposed rules are part of a larger set of regulatory changes Health Canada is seeking to make it easier for people with allergies to identify potential allergens in food ingredients.

Health Canada statistics indicate that up to six per cent of children and up to four per cent of adults in Canada are believed to be affected by food allergies.

People with serious allergies can go into shock or even die if they consume certain ingredients. Beer-label warnings are aimed especially at people with celiac disease.

The proposed rules would require beer labels to "clearly and prominently" display a warning that says, "Allergy and intolerance information: Contains wheat."

Barley-based beer labels would be required to include a warning that says, "Allergy and intolerance information: Contains barley."

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Canadian beer companies say the measure is not necessary, pointing out that people with celiac disease represent only about one per cent of the Canadian population, and tend to be well informed about the foods they should avoid.

"These people are very well educated," said Andre Fortin, a spokesman for the Brewers Association of Canada, whose members produce 97 per cent of the beer brewed in Canada. "If a Canadian doctor diagnoses you with celiac disease, you're going to know that beer is not ideal for your system."

The companies also point out small breweries might be hit especially hard by the labeling regulations. A number of breweries such as Steam Whistle Brewery and Mill St. Brewery sell their beer in vintage-style glass bottles with ceramic paint, which beer stores return to the companies, to clean and refill for reuse. Such companies might have to order new bottles to accommodate such regulations. The move could cost them millions of dollars, they say.

However, for people who support allergy labeling requirements, the matter is serious. "This isn't just a bunch of fusspots," said Gwen Smith, editor of Allergic Living, a magazine and website that has long lobbied for the regulations. "This is about, 'How do I feed my children at dinner safely?' 'How do I feed myself?'"

In addition to beer, new rules will apply to allergens derived from a wide range of foods, including almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, sesame seeds, eggs, milk, soybeans, crustaceans, shellfish and fish.

A review conducted nearly a decade ago for Health Canada estimated that implementing the proposed regulations would cost the Canadian food industry $102 million over two years, with annual costs of $13 million. The department expects the changes will cost the Canadian Food Inspection Agency $3 million annually, and Health Canada about $1 million per year.

Health officials say that the cost of the implementing the proposed rules could be offset by some cost savings for the health-care system, since people with allergies would require less treatment. The department says the regulations are similar to those already in place in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

A spokesman said that after publication of the final version of the regulations, the food industry will have 18 months to comply.

"The new labeling regulations are designed to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make appropriate choices and that this information is provided in a clear and consistent manner," the department said in a statement.

Read more: Canada.com

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4 Responses:

 
Hallie
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said this on
03 Feb 2011 10:15:01 AM PDT
I may have to go live in Canada. Can't get the U.S. to change it's labeling laws to include rye and barley!!!!

 
Shelley Case
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said this on
04 Feb 2011 10:14:21 AM PDT
Thank you Jefferson for your article on this very important issue that affects over 2.8 million Canadians with allergies and celiac disease. For the past 2 weeks the beer industry in Canada has been very vocal in its criticism of Health Canada’s proposed new labeling regulations of foods and beverages. These regulations have been in development and consultation with numerous stakeholders since 1993 and were planned to be enacted in early 2011. It would require the major allergens, gluten sources and sulphites to be declared on the ingredient label of foods and beverages. The beer industry is trying to make this a story about beer and barley and derail the government from passing these essential regulations. Individuals with allergies and celiac disease absolutely need to know what ingredients are added to everything they consume for their health and safety.

I would like to clarify some information in your article and provide further background information:

1. Health Canada conducted numerous consultations with stakeholders including the food and beverage industry, health professionals, patient and consumer groups before and after the proposed regulations were posted in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette in July 2008. As a result they have made further changes to the regulations. Manufacturers will no longer have to state “Allergy and Intolerance Information: Contains:”. Instead they will only have to declare the words “Contains:”
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/allergen/proj1220-modifications-eng.php

2.This statement is not quite accurate: “The proposed rules are part of a larger set of regulatory changes Health Canada is seeking to make it easier for people with allergies to identify potential allergens in food ingredients”. Should read that… easier for people with allergies and celiac disease to identify allergens, gluten sources and sulphites in foods and beverages.

3. The beer, wine and distilled spirit industry in the US have been required to declare sulphites on the label since 1987 and this is one of the proposed changes in Canada. In addition, allergens used in beer manufacturing including fining agents (such as isinglass made from the bladders of fish), milk or eggs would also need to be disclosed.



4.This statement needs a response : "These people are very well educated," said Andre Fortin, a spokesman for the Brewers Association of Canada, whose members produce 97 per cent of the beer brewed in Canada. "If a Canadian doctor diagnoses you with celiac disease, you're going to know that beer is not ideal for your system." Not everyone knows that beer contains barley or wheat. Most MD’s usually do not give advice about the gluten-free diet due to lack of time and expertise about this very complex diet. Also many patients are not referred to a dietitian for comprehensive education about the diet. And not all those with celiac disease belong to a celiac support group. So the declaration of allergens, gluten sources and sulphites on the ingredient label is critical so that consumers can determine whether a product is safe to consume.



5. The beer industry, along with other alcoholic beverage and food manufacturers, were told by Health Canada back in 2007 to plan for changes to their labels due to the forthcoming proposed regulations. Once these regulations are enacted they still will have 18 months to comply. It is very interesting that the food manufacturers, as well as distilled alcohol and wine industries, have not fought this regulation and face the same requirements to change their labels. Many have already revised their labels in anticipation of the proposed regulations being enacted.

March 23, 2007 CFIA issues allergen labelling alert to industry www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2007/20070323e.shtml

Reminder notice March 11, 2009 www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/invenq/inform/allerge.shtml

July 22, 2008 HC strongly urge manufacturers to declare major food allergens, gluten sources and sulphites (over 10ppm) www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/allergen/guide_ligne_direct_indust-eng.php

An open letter to Prime Minister Harper was sent by many allergy and celiac groups expressing their concerns about the delay and urging the government to pass this legislation immediately.

www.celiac.ca/press/Group_Letter_to_Prime_Minister_Harper_Feb_2_2011.pdf

We encourage everyone in Canada to contact the Prime Minister - pm@pm.gc.ca as well as their Member of Parliament requesting that this very important legislation be enacted swiftly without any further delays!

 
Sarah
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said this on
07 Feb 2011 11:45:20 AM PDT
Respectfully, I don't understand this...at all. It is the responsibility for celiacs to ensure that everything they consume is gluten free. If you don't know, you don't eat or drink it. I also think that most adult celiacs are fully aware that ANY "regular" beer is not gluten free. Never will be. Traditional beer will never be gluten free, and unless a beer says it is a gluten free brand, it will have gluten. This was one of the first things I learned as a new adult onset celiac, and my MD gave me no information or dietitian consult whatsoever. Someone savvy enough to read labels usually knows how to find books, pamphlets, classes, or websites on gluten free living. To me, this argument is like requiring peanut butter to be labeled as "Containing peanuts....do not consume if you have a peanut allergy". The real problem here is a lack of patient education. Food items which may or may not contain hidden gluten MUST be properly labeled and lack of regulation is a problem right now. An item known to be made directly from a gluten source (I.e. beer) should be part of general celiac education, IMHO. While labeling is never a bad thing, if the beer industry doesn't want to, leave them alone. I feel our concern as celiacs should be food labels (hidden gluten sources) and expanding patient education.

 
sharon
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said this on
08 Feb 2011 9:49:28 AM PDT
Beer labeling is needed. There was so much to remember when I first was diagnosed that it can be a big help to us and those who want to have us over for dinner.




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That makes sense...I cried with relief when I got my diagnosis just because there was finally an answer. Please know that you are not weak or crazy. Keep pushing for testing. It could still be celiac, it could be Crohns. Push your Dr's to figure this out. Best wishes.

Thank you all very much. I actually cried when I got the answer. I wanted an explanation that I could "fix." Now I'm back to thinking I'm just weak and possibly crazy. I know I'm not crazy, but you know.

From what I have read online there is about a 1-3% chance of getting a false positive for celiac disease from a blood test. Was it a blood test that you got done? It may be worth your while to get a biopsy or more testing just to confirm it. I know being gluten free is a pain but it is better than getting cancer or other auto immune disorders.

I prefer edible candy. I have glaucoma and celiac so it helps me on a daily basis for all of my medical problems. I wish I could find a strain that has laxative effects so I didn't need linsess. Leafly.com has a lot of strain information and cannabist is a good resource, too. You can use CBD or THC and not get 'stoned'. I function fine on 20 mg of the candy. I refuse to drive if I smoke though. Good luck, hope it helps.

Is it NCGS or Low stomach acid misdiagnosed Low Stomach Acid and Celiac Disease Dear Gluten Intolerant please consider Low Stomach Acid as a possible Differential Diagnosis as a possible way to achieve remission of your GI symptom's. ?Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things? 2 Timothy 2: 7 Low stomach acid has now been linked to a probable cause of damage to the Small Intestine before and/or occurring with a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) or Celiac diagnosis. See this research as reported on celiac.com that discusses the increased risk of/for someone to develop celiac disease after taking PPI?s. http://www.celiac.com/articles/23432/1/Do-Proton-Pump-Inhibitors-Increase-Risk-of-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html Note how the article starts quoting ?Rates of celiac disease and the use of drugs to inhibit the secretion of stomach acid have both increased in recent decades. A research team recently set out to explore the association between anti-secretory medication exposure and subsequent development of celiac disease.? If these medicine are lowering stomach acid what cause effect relationship does/ could this have on Celaic/NCGS diagnosis is what he is postulating. He goes on to say without being very technical (read the whole article for yourself) that ?The data clearly show that patients who use anti-secretory medications are at much greater risk for developing celiac disease following the use of these medicines. The fact that this connection persisted even after the team excluded prescriptions for anti-secretory medicines in the year preceding the celiac disease diagnosis suggests a causal relationship?. If even after a year OFF these medicines your chances of developing Celiac Disease (celiac disease) not to mention even NCGS which is much more prominent surely the researcher is correct in postulating that there is a cause and effect relationship between low stomach acid and NCGS and/or Celiac disease. Surely there is something we can learn here. I now postulate some homework for the reader of this blog post. Do some research for yourself and see if achlorhydia or hypochlorhydia symptoms don?t at least resemble in some manner all of the GI symptoms you have been having. (I note some of the many symptom?s low stomach acid can present with below as referenced from Dr. Myatt?s online article ?What?s Burning You? for easy reference (It might not be what you think (my words)) It is important to note here that ?some? symptoms does not mean all but many or several. It is called a differential diagnosis. It is an important diagnostic tool in medicine. Think of the tv show ?House? where they spend the whole hour/over a week times going through the ?differential diagnosis? in short any one symptom can/have many different causes. The trick is how to quickly eliminate possible outcomes as symptoms (many) go up. All is usually never meet because that would make the disease in full outbreak and obvious even to the layman a condition described as ?frank? or ?classic? Scurvy or Rickets as an example. Sadly too often after 8 to 10+ years of testing after all the differential diagnosis?s are ruled out you are said by process of elimination to have Celiac Disease if you are lucky or maybe NCGS and not some other acronym GI disease as I like to refer to them as a group. GERD,IBS,UC, Chrons etc because if they turned down that street ? . you are/could be in/at a dead end for they stop looking at the trigger (gluten) as the cause of your gastric upset/digestive disorder(s). So in summary if 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 of these symptoms overlap ?many of? these symptoms could be Low Stomach Acid related. IF that is the cause/case for you then there is hope! For remission! From Dr. Myatts? Online article what?s burning you? From Dr. Myatts? Online article what?s burning you? http://healthbeatnews.com/whats-burning-you/ Diseases Associated with Low Gastric Function Low stomach acid is associated with the following conditions: * Acne rosacea * Addison?s disease * Allergic reactions * Candidiasis (chronic) * Cardiac arrhythmias * Celiac disease * Childhood asthma * Chronic autoimmune hepatitis * Chronic cough * Dermatitis herpeteformis * Diabetes (type I) * Eczema * Gallbladder disease * GERD * Graves disease (hyperthyroid) * Iron deficiency anemia * Laryngitis (chronic) * Lupus erythromatosis * Macular degeneration * Multiple sclerosis * Muscle Cramps * Myasthenia gravis * Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) * Osteoporosis * Pernicious anemia * Polymyalgia rheumatica * Reynaud?s syndrome * Rheumatoid arthritis * Scleroderma * Sjogren?s syndrome * Stomach cancer * Ulcerative colitis * Vitiligo When low in stomach acid we become low in essential nutrients Quoting from Dr. Myatts ?what?s burning you? online article ?Our bodies need 60 or so essential nutrients. ?Essential? means that the body MUST have this nutrient or death will eventually ensue, and the nutrient must be obtained from diet because the body cannot manufacture it. Many of these essential nutrients require stomach acid for their assimilation. When stomach acid production declines, nutrient deficiencies begin. Calcium, for example, requires vigorous stomach acid in order to be assimilated. Interestingly, the rate of hip replacement surgery is much higher in people who routinely use antacids and acid-blocking drugs. We know that people who have ?acid stomach? were already having trouble assimilating calcium from food and nutritional supplements due to lack of normal stomach acid production. When these symptoms are ?band-aided? with drugs which decrease stomach acid even more, calcium assimilation can come to a near-halt. The result? Weak bones, hip fractures and joint complaints resulting in major surgery. Jonathan Wright, M.D., well-known and respected holistic physician, states that ?Although research in this area is entirely inadequate, its been my linical observation that calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, selenium, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and many other micro-trace elements are not nearly as well-absorbed in those with poor stomach acid as they are in those whose acid levels are normal. When we test plasma amino acid levels for those with poor stomach function, we frequently find lower than usual levels of one or more of the eight essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Often there are functional insufficiencies of folic acid and/or vitamin B12.? Remember, these are essential nutrients. Deficiencies of any single one of them can cause serious health problems over time. Weak bones, diminish immune function, failing memory, loss of eyesight and many other ?diseases of aging? are often the result of decreased stomach function.? It is me again reader. So low stomach acid is the triggering agent (often) for low nutrients. Make too much sense! Now don?t take Vitamin?s for this condition where low Vitamins/Minerals are known to be low in patients who have this condition because . . . . (if you do you won?t need to keep coming back to the doctor) I can almost hear the doctor say now. Of course he/she doesn?t say that . . . just that the ?average person? doesn?t need to take Vitamins. Well I hate to break it too you . . . . but if you are having GI problems and reading this blog post on celac.com then you are not the ?average? person. You my friend or a sufferer or a friend of a sufferer still looking for answers. If that is you then consider taking either powdered stomach acid ? Betaine HCL or taking Niacinamide to help you reset your stress clock. A Canadian researcher wrote about this connection 15+ years ago but still most doctors? don?t understand this connection between about how ?Niacin treats digestive Problems? Here is the full link so you can research it more yourself. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2001/articles/2001-v16n04-p225.shtml And you might not after a first reading. I didn?t believe it myself for over a year . . . but every time I thought about it ? it (Low Stomach Acid) made/makes the most sense to me. **** Note: research this yourself. Here is a link about how to take Betaine HCL (powdered stomach) for maximum effectiveness. http://20somethingallergies.com/how-much-hcl-do-i-take-learn-to-test-for-your-correct-dose/ Don?t take my blog post as medical advice. It is only what I did . . . it might not work for you but I think it is worth a try especially if you are not now taking an acid reducer. (see notes below about why this might) be more difficult if you are already taking an acid reducer . . . because the rebound wall (see chris kresser link) keeps us locked in . . . sometimes for years. Since I was not taking acid reducers at the time I took Betaine HCL my stomach problems improved and I am sharing this now in the hopes it might help yours too! Now back to (really) LOW stomach acid being diagnosed as HIGH stomach acid these days. How can we know if it truly high or low? You?ve heard the phrase timing is everything well it is here too! Timeline is important in any diagnosis. IF your stomach acid was HIGH as you often hear (everywhere) you hear take a Proton Pump Inhibitor aka acid reducer?s for heartburn/GERD (medical name for heartburn) then eating food (carbs, greasy things) wouldn?t bother you. The acid would cut it up but if it is already low/weak then even a little acid can burn your esophagus which is not coated like the stomach to protect you from high acid. BUT if it is low to start with then food will WEAKEN our/your acid so that you lose the food fight your in and things (carbs/fats) become to ferment, rancidify and cause heart burn. Leading in time to Non-Celiac disease first and with enough injury (and time) to Marsh lesions qualifying you for diagnosis as a Celiac candidate / patient. See above link between/about PPI?s in the year preceding a Celiac diagnosis. If you (can) be that patient and weight the xx number of years for all this damage to occur, there is a better way it is called digestion! A virtuous cycle can replace the vicious cycle you are now in ? it is caused digestion. Digest your food with healthy stomach acid and your body will thank you for it with the God given burp. A healthy child burps (at 6 months of age normally) and a healthy adult should too and you will again after taken Niacinamide 3/day for 6 months or this is not the right diagnosis. *********Note this is not medical advice only my experience with Niacinamide and my many years researching this topic as a fellow sufferer. Let me make these disclaimer(s). If you are a) experiencing heartburn that causing vomiting (with unintended weight loss) you may have a special case of heartburn that feels like heartburn (on steroids) that is really Bile Reflux and taking Stomach is not something you should do without medical advice and supervision. See this NYtimes article that discusses the many complications often seen with Bile Reflux patients and why it is treated as Heartburn often and why Bile Reflux is especially hard to recover from. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/health/30brod.html you are already taking an acid reducer then the chance you will get better (off of acid reducers completely) is only 50/50 on your first try but going low CARB can help your transition. Otherwise most people will get better when taking BetaineHCL for gastric support and Niacinamide to help them/you reset your digestive processes. See this online article about how Jo Lynne Shane got off Nexium for good. http://www.jolynneshane.com/how-i-got-off-nexium-for-good.html and her Epilogue http://www.jolynneshane.com/epilogue.html You will see she still struggles some but is much better when she let her natural digestive juices do their job. I call it the ?Natural Order of Things?. See this article about the digestion process being a North South Affair from the bodywisdom website http://bodywisdomnutrition.com/digestion-a-north-to-south-process/ Taking it (Niacinamide) (or any B-Vitamin) should be taken 2 to 3/day (too keep up serum levels) for 3 to 4 months (the time you can store B-Vitamins) in the liver mostly. Once you have a distinctive BURP that displaces the bloating and sense of ?I am going to explode? if I eat another bite (though you haven?t eaten half your meal) then normal digestion is occurring again. If you stool did not sink before this process (of taking Niacinamide begun) and burping became your ?new normal? then it (your stool) will begin to sink too! Burping without bloating is the ?Natural Order? of good digestion. Don?t stop this process of taking B-Vitamins as Niacimaide or Slo-Niacin 2/day for at least 4 months then you should see most of your GI symptom?s go into remission. (I did not say "cure" but remission from your cross contamination's (flares/symptom's etc.) might be possible. Because our defenses are now strong enough to cut up proteins before they reach our small intestine (where most of the damage is done). Think of a castle with a moat around it (stomach acid is designed to protect us) when it is low (the moat doesn?t protect us) and when the moat is dry the castle becomes a ruin!!! So do proteins (lactose (casein), gluten, soy, seafood etc.) to our small intestines (they become ruined) when our stomach acid (moat) is low or worse dry! I repeat again Timeline is important in any diagnosis. All heartburn is not equal. IF your stomach acid is truly high then it WILL occur between meals when there is no food to tamp down the fire (occurring in your stomach) not your esophagus. The excess pressure from fermented carbs push open the trap door allowing the low acid you have to burn the lining of your uncoated esophagus. See also this online article by Chris Kresser to study this more about why/how this could be a case of medical misdiagnosis in more detail https://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/ This is part of a 3 part series that I think you will find very informative. This (low stomach acid) is a vicious cycle. STRONG stomach acid makes it a virtuous circle/cycle. Now food benefits you because low acid not only causes heartburn it limits your body?s absorptive ability by limiting its ability to cut up your food into digestible peptides and amino acids which are no longer harmful to your Small Intestine but helpful to your overall health because nutrients can now be absorbed because the food particles are now small enough to not cause harm to your villi. I hope this is helpful and it helps you the way it helped me. Maybe it will help you in a similar manner. I write this only as a guidepost on your way. May you find your way back to digestive peace! The ?Natural Order? of things! Praise bee to God! It is not a long way if you know the way . . . . from someone who has found his way back God being his help! There are more things I could say . . . but this post is getting kind of long but you get the gest. I noticed someone else on the celiac.com noticed the same improvement when they treated their low stomach acid and thought it was time a blog post talked about it. It is so much easier to consume all this information in one setting instead of hunting and peeking through several thread posts. Search for the posterboy on celiac.com and you will find it is my focus (how low stomach acid is misdiagnosed) and how Niacinamide helped me to restore its ?Natural Order? in the digestive process because it helped me! Here is the link to the Prousky?s abstract. 15+ years is a long time for people to continue to suffer but if the research it right then Niacinamide might help you too! http://www.yourhealthbase.com/database/niacin-treats-digestive-problems.htm Let?s hope it is not another 15 years before doctor?s and people realize low stomach acid can explain many of the same symptom?s an IBS, NCGS or even a Celiac patient might experience given a long enough time for these conditions to develop from too low a stomach acid to protect our Small Intestine. See link at start of this blog post posted here again for convenience. http://www.celiac.com/articles/23432/1/Do-Proton-Pump-Inhibitors-Increase-Risk-of-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html And it is worth noting about the time Celiac disease started (began to be more prevalent) / to increase in the population Acid reducer?s became more and more popular. *** Some plot the increase in time to Roundup usage but I am not buying it. PPI?s increase seam more plausible to me based on the relatively new research (less than 5 years old) is pretty current by research standards and the near linear response to increased first H2 stomach acid reducer?s then PPI?s in the population at large. *****Note: after I finished writing this blog post new research that in my mind confirms this connection was reported on celiac.com today that notes the link between gastric pH and impaired nutrient absorption. This very topic as I was getting ready to publish my post about low stomach acid possibly being diagnosed as Celiac disease on my posterboy blog mentions how a Celiac patient?s absorption can be impaired by gastric pH. https://www.celiac.com/articles/24738/1/Can-Celiac-Disease-Impair-Drug-Therapy-in-Patients/Page1.html Where they (researchers) say/ask discussing Celiac Disease and whether it (celiac disease) can impair drug therapy in patients. Note the opening paragraph discussing this topic quoting ?Celiac disease is associated with numerous chronic conditions, such as anemia and malabsorption of some critical vitamins. Changes in the gastrointestinal tract, rates of gastric emptying, and gastric pH are responsible for impaired vitamin and mineral absorption." i.e., low gastric pH can effect absorption. It stands to make reasonable sense to me they are related conditions and one is being diagnosed for the other often or at least one is being confused as the other and treating one (raising your stomach pH) might treat the other since many of the symptoms? are the same. *** this/these opinion(s) are my own and do not reflect an endorsement by celiac.com of these ideas, comments, thoughts or opinions. I hope this helps! You the way it did me! Good luck on your continued journey, Remember **** This is not medical advice and should not be considered such. Results may vary. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your regimen. 2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Posterboy by the Grace of God,