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Did Gluten Really Play a Part in Tom Brokaw's Multiple Myeloma? 05/29/2015 - On Thursday, May 7, Dateline featured Tom Brokaw's journey with multiple myeloma, a serious blood malignancy that develops in bone marrow.

Photo: Wikimedia CommonsNow an author of a recent book on gluten and health is saying that Brokaw's cancer may be linked to adverse gluten reactions.

Numerous cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, throat/esophageal, stomach/intestinal/colon, and multiple myeloma are now being connected to gluten consumption, says Anne Sarkisian, author of "Toxic Staple: How Gluten May Be Wrecking Your Health — And What You Can Do About It!!"

Scientific research suggests that multiple myeloma may be linked to gluten, says Sarkisian, "and thousands of scientific studies from around the world link gluten to over 300 symptoms, diseases, and associated conditions."

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"Early detection of celiac disease is vital to reducing complications such as lymphoma and many other cancers and diseases. Does this mean a gluten-free lifestyle is preventative medicine? More alternative medical experts advocate this approach," says Sarkisian.

Could Brokaw's multiple myeloma be related to gluten? Possibly. Sarkisian's claim sounds good, and may be true, but, at the end of the day, there's just no way to know for sure.

It is true that early detection of celiac disease is vital to reducing complications such as lymphoma and many other cancers and diseases, and it is also true, as Sarkisian asserts, that "More alternative medical experts advocate this approach [a gluten-free diet]," for many people without celiac disease. 

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8 Responses:

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said this on
01 Jun 2015 5:37:06 AM PST
I am a blood and biopsy diagnosed celiac with refractory aprue and abnormal IEL's in my gut. My dad died of multiple myeloma, and his mother died from leukemia. However, the Army says that my dad's, and his mother's cancers occurred because my dad was in the atomic tests in Nevada in the 1950's. Celiac or radiation? That has been the question in my family.

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said this on
01 Jun 2015 10:12:05 AM PST
The idea that celiac disease is separate from gluten intolerance is ludicrous. The continuum of reactions to gluten is vastly underplayed by the medical community as the answer is a gluten free diet, which leaves little for the script-writers to do. When from my personal experience of observing a clinical worker whose findings of over 60% of the population feeling better on a gluten free diet as represented by a food/mood diary where pulse and subjective interpretation of mood is considered over a course of six weeks, it is without question that people are better off without gluten in their diet. Whether a famous person is by cause and effect subject to cancer can not be determined ~ what is self-evident is that gluten as a late-comer to the human diet cannot be tolerated on a wide ranging basis as is currently the case.

Karen K.
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said this on
01 Jun 2015 12:35:06 PM PST
I recently asked my GE, an expert in the field of celiac disease about the risk of lymphoma. I understood it to be around 11% risk, but he says that he believes it to be less than 4%. In his practice (a large team in a very large hospital system) there has not been a case yet determined. I don't worry about it.

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said this on
02 Jun 2015 7:43:34 AM PST
I've been wondering about this for a long, long time.

My Dad died of Multiple Myeloma and likely had undiagnosed celiac disease, as I was diagnosed six years after he died and my half sister was also diagnosed with celiac. His symptoms of celiac disease likely masked his illness because his diagnosis of multiple myeloma. His father (my grandfather) also died of a broken back, which according to my Uncle was likely also caused by multiple myeloma but was undiagnosed, so it cannot be confirmed. My uncle said their condition at the end was exactly the same.

Jan Lovern
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said this on
02 Jun 2015 1:00:44 PM PST
Has Brokaw been diagnosed as a celiac ?

Gluten KillsMe
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said this on
08 Jun 2015 8:28:43 PM PST
This article is missing 2 very important statistics. According to the CDC, what is the rate of multiple myeloma within the general population? And, how does that compare with the rate of multiple myeloma among those with celiac diagnosis? A non-specific estimate made by just 1 doctor is hardly persuasive.

My official diagnosis is gluten-sensitivity. This was made because I have all the worst symptoms of celiac disease whenever I ingest the tiniest bit of gluten and a blood test came back positive. Yet, after being back on a gluten-filled diet for 6 full weeks, a biopsy came back negative. Because of the negative biopsy, they cannot label it celiac disease. So, yes, gluten-sensitivity IS a genuine condition.

Anne Sarkisian author: Toxic Staple
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said this on
09 Jun 2015 1:24:51 PM PST
Jeff thanks for responding. We’ll never know for sure if gluten played a part in Tom Brokaw’s multiple myeloma, however, there is some great research from Europe suggesting a strong link to gluten. Of course much more research is needed.

I am trying to bring awareness to the myriad hazardous affects of gluten on the human body. Gluten can affect any part of the body and very little is being done to educate our medical professionals in all facets of medicine. Gluten is linked to cancers, autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, osteoporosis, anemia, skin and other organ issues, numerous neurological, cerebral, and muscular issues, and on and on.

Unfortunately by the time a person is diagnosed with celiac disease they have quite compromised health and it has probably been brewing for years, maybe decades. It is important to recognize symptoms early before one’s health becomes so degraded. Whether one has celiac disease or is gluten intolerant really doesn’t matter according to more forward-thinking experts. If intolerant to gluten you need to abstain from it.

Below is an endorsement from Professor Zorica Juranić:

Reading the book Toxic Staple of Anne Sarkisian I was really amazed by her sincerity, and determination to confer the truth about so many toxic gluten effects. The book is perfectly written. No words to add or to remove from the text.
Anne Sarkisian deserves the special respect for her book; firstly for her frankness, honesty, and courage to say the truth about her fight for the health of her loved ones, for the health of many gluten-sensitive people, the fight to open consciousness of health professionals for the complex, potentially harmful gluten effects.
She alone, with her soul, heart and intellect, did great and hard job careffully searching through scientific medical literature. She clearly listed the clinical signs and laboratory tests related to diagnosis of gluten sensitivity (in almost all very serious health disorders connected with this) and not less important, she wrote about which food is healthy for people with proven gluten sensitivity. This points to Anne Sarkisian as the rare, unique, wise person, which with the book Toxic Staple, opens important new civilization breakthrough in the care of general people health.
I warmly recommend this book for reading. It is a gift, full of knowledge which could help many people suffering from enormous reactivity to gluten to live healthier. Every information in this book is supported by appropriate reference from peer reviewed scientific journals that make it credible, not only for forward-thinking medical doctors, but also for all health professionals, as well as for non/educated people who are interested in their health and, more importantly, for the health of their loved ones.

Zorica Juranić, PhD, Research Professor, Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia
Author of the publication: “Antibodies contained in "M" component of some patients with multiple myeloma are directed to food antigens?” Leuk Res. 2006 Dec; 30(12):1585-6.

Anne Sarkisian author: Toxic Staple
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said this on
09 Aug 2015 9:39:54 AM PST

A very belated thanks for editing and softening your original comment to the multiple myeloma/gluten article. Much appreciated.

Best of health,

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