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Strong Link Between Asthma and Celiac Disease

New research demonstrates a strong link between asthma and celiac disease. 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.

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.

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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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3 Responses:

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said this on
11 Apr 2011 11:55:45 AM PST
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.

Tim Harper
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said this on
27 May 2012 4:04:05 AM PST
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.

brian ahern
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said this on
02 Sep 2012 11:55:42 AM PST
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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That is very helpful. Thank you so much.