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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

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Lately I've been wondering if we, as Celiacs, have an increased risk of becoming allergic to foods. The reason I ask is because I've incorporated some nuts (walnuts, natural peanut butter) into my diet, while cutting down on the grain products. I'm not talking additional sensitivites upon going gluten free, I mean serious allergic reactions. I think maybe I'm a little "gun shy" about it after what I went through with gluten. Of course, Celiac is not an allergy, but could an immune system, overactive from years of dealing with gluten, suddenly become allergic to foods that have not been a problem up till now? I would love to hear your opinions/thoughts. Probably the old anxiety popping up again :o

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From what I have read and learned...having Celiac, and having Celiac induced "Leaky Gut Syndrome" can definitely make you more likely to develop other food intolerances. If that theory holds, I would think as you improve and your intestines heal, that that risk should be reduced. With leaky gut, food proteins etc. can leak through the gut wall into the blood stream, thereby causing the body to say 'what are you doing in here?' and produce antibodies. When I had a food intolerance test done, I came back allergic/intolerant to a host of foods. The doc I spoke with said that was all evidence of leaky gut--no one is just born allergic to all those foods. Some of those may go away, but its not a guarantee per se. One way to help prevent food intolerances is to eat a varied diet--not the same foods all the time and eliminate the ones you know are culprits. Hope that helps some!

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Lately I've been wondering if we, as Celiacs, have an increased risk of becoming allergic to foods. The reason I ask is because I've incorporated some nuts (walnuts, natural peanut butter) into my diet, while cutting down on the grain products. I'm not talking additional sensitivites upon going gluten free, I mean serious allergic reactions. I think maybe I'm a little "gun shy" about it after what I went through with gluten. Of course, Celiac is not an allergy, but could an immune system, overactive from years of dealing with gluten, suddenly become allergic to foods that have not been a problem up till now? I would love to hear your opinions/thoughts. Probably the old anxiety popping up again :o

Yes. There is a link between Celiac's and food allergies. New research is suggesting that it involves a human protein called zonulin. Grains that have glutens in them increase the amounts of zonulin produced in the body. In celiacs and diabetics, zonulin levels are shown to be about 35x higher than "normal" levels. Zonulin acts as a gatekeeper between cells and increased amounts lead to larger gaps between cell walls. These gaps allow food proteins to penetrate not only the intestines, but the blood-brain barrier causing food allergies and the brain fog that many celiacs experience. The levels of zonulin in each individual also explain the difference in the intensity of the symptoms from one person to another. It appears as though this is one of the major contributors to "leaky gut syndrome". And that is why the gluten-free diet seems to work so well for some in alleviating other food allergies over time. Control the zonulin being produced through diet, and many symptoms will be alleviated.

There has been talk of a pill being introduced onto the market at the end of 2006 which would prevent zonulin production. Both diabetics and celiacs could then take the pill 20 minutes before a meal and not experience a "reaction". However, since this is all relatively new research, I am not sure how many would be interested in taking the pill and being among the first to experience the side effects of this new drug. I suppose that's it's all a matter of "picking your poison".

I am sure that there are many other factors involved but this one seems to be very promising in providing the link between Celiac's, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS and food allergies.

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Thanks, Shaysmom, that was interesting. So if all goes well with the gluten-free diet, we should have to worry less about allergic reactions as time goes on. I swear I learn something new here every day. When you say "grains that have glutens in them", would that include rice? I know rice has a gluten that does not cause the immune reaction in us, but I've cut way down on the rice in my diet (for now, cut it out completely) and have already experienced improvement over what I did on the gluten-free diet alone. In "Dangerous Grains", the author spoke a little about rice and its effect on Celiacs:

"Van de Wal and colleagues have identified a glutenin peptide that activates T-lymphocyte immune cells in the small intestine in much the same way as gliadin, suggesting that glutenin may also be involved in the disease process. In addition, glutenin seems to cross-react with elastin, the principal component of elastic tissues, suggesting that glutenin may play a role in autoimmune diseases of the skin. Other studies indicate that glutenin peptides are toxic to cells. Even worse news for those gluten-sensitive people who turn to rice as a dietery refuge, glutenin antibodies appear to cross-react with rice, perhaps placing rice off-limits to many gluten-sensitive people."

Maybe a coincidence, but my eczema is about gone. After 10 years, no itch, no roughness, nothing. Now waiting to see if it will come back as it always has in the past.

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Nice info from shayesmom...a technical version of leaky gut...but just for clarification, it is the same phenomenon I was speaking of. Glad to hear your exema is better Patty...makes sense! Exema can be caused by food allergies and the like.

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Thanks, Shaysmom, that was interesting. So if all goes well with the gluten-free diet, we should have to worry less about allergic reactions as time goes on. I swear I learn something new here every day. When you say "grains that have glutens in them", would that include rice? I know rice has a gluten that does not cause the immune reaction in us, but I've cut way down on the rice in my diet (for now, cut it out completely) and have already experienced improvement over what I did on the gluten-free diet alone. In "Dangerous Grains", the author spoke a little about rice and its effect on Celiacs:

Maybe a coincidence, but my eczema is about gone. After 10 years, no itch, no roughness, nothing. Now waiting to see if it will come back as it always has in the past.

To be honest, I do not know if there is a connection to rice and zonulin production. I ran across the info on it a couple of weeks ago and have not had time to look beyond 10-15 articles. All that turned up was glutens increase the zonulin production. I would imagine that in the individuals who produce extremely high levels of zonulin that there would be a tendency to react to rice whereas others would not. It also seems to explain why my dd has had "trace" exposures to glutens (rarely) and has had absolutely no reaction. The zonulin articles I have seen only date back to 2000. So this is all relatively new information and is being studied intensively.

I have sent out a few e-mails to some friends in the alternative health fields to see what they know about this. No answer yet. Probably all new to them too. I do know that probiotics will help in cases of eczema, allergies and asthma (as well as a myriad of other things). My dd has done a lot better with her other food allergies since we started taking them and doing some other non-toxic therapies. Plenty of information on probiotics can be found on Dr. Mercola's site and corresponds with much of the medical studies presented on The Lancet (free registration and access to many current medical studies). It may help prevent the eczema from coming back.

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Interesting reading!

For a non-technical reply-

I was diagnosed with over 20 food allergies

18 years ago and then celiac about a year ago.

Do I think they're somehow related? - pretty much. That

and the arthritis, asthma, etc. and other auto-immune

related stuff.

;)

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