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Guest Happynwgal2

Immune System Down For Life?

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Guest Happynwgal2

I have been gluten free since Nov. 2006, and am finally feeling better than I ever have, yet I dp not feel that my health is good yet. The good thing is that I have no more stomach problems and very few instances of being glutened because I am only into pleasing myself when it comes to food these days, which means saying NO, BUT THANKS anytime I am not sure what I am about to eat.

My question: since I have been eating gluten for 50+ years, my immune system has taken quite a beating. If there is flu around, I get it. If somebody has a cold, I get it, or just barely manage to stave it off with AirBorne and vitamin C. I often wonder if I am so susceptible to aches, pain and colds because of the damage that gluten has done to my immune system for so many decades.

Do any of you know anything about this? I am frustrated because even though I feel good as far as not being glutened very often any more, I still struggle with other health problems. Yet I feel that I am fairly healthy, and am under good care by a chiropractor for my back problems. Life is good, but will it get better? Or am I now stuck with a bad immune system for the rest of my life? (I am 55)

Eva <_<

PS I just changed my health insurance at work from Kaiser to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I feel lost in regard to finding new doctors in the Portland, Oregon area. Do anybody know of a good doctor here that can help me understand my immune system post Celiac diagnoses?

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There are a lot of factors that play into immune function. It goes well beyond gluten.

Other foods can play a role in suppressing the immune system. Dairy, soy, refined white sugar, hydrogenated oils are just a few that come to mind. Then there's the issue of "dead" foods compared to live ones (or overcooked/processed food compared to whole, raw foods). Raw foods have live enzymes in them which are critical to health. Hydrogenated oils disrupt basic cell function and make us more prone to cancer. There are some interesting therapies out there that you may want to explore involving diet. Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez from Manhattan has a nutritional regimen that may be of interest from a dietary perspective (he has astonishing results in reversing cancer using diet and enzyme supplements). Also, reading a bit into Johanna Budwig's work can shed a bit of light on things.

Vitamin supplementation may also be of help. In the winter months, I've found it helpful to supplement with Vitamin D3 to stave off and overcome some of those nastier colds. Equally critical is a good probiotic and omega 3 supplement. Many of us have an improper balance of intestinal flora which makes us more susceptible to illness. By balancing the gut flora, it is possible to kickstart the immune system into functioning more effectively.

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I have been gluten free since Nov. 2006, and am finally feeling better than I ever have, yet I dp not feel that my health is good yet. The good thing is that I have no more stomach problems and very few instances of being glutened because I am only into pleasing myself when it comes to food these days, which means saying NO, BUT THANKS anytime I am not sure what I am about to eat.

My question: since I have been eating gluten for 50+ years, my immune system has taken quite a beating. If there is flu around, I get it. If somebody has a cold, I get it, or just barely manage to stave it off with AirBorne and vitamin C. I often wonder if I am so susceptible to aches, pain and colds because of the damage that gluten has done to my immune system for so many decades.

Do any of you know anything about this? I am frustrated because even though I feel good as far as not being glutened very often any more, I still struggle with other health problems. Yet I feel that I am fairly healthy, and am under good care by a chiropractor for my back problems. Life is good, but will it get better? Or am I now stuck with a bad immune system for the rest of my life? (I am 55)

Eva <_<

PS I just changed my health insurance at work from Kaiser to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I feel lost in regard to finding new doctors in the Portland, Oregon area. Do anybody know of a good doctor here that can help me understand my immune system post Celiac diagnoses?

The immune system of a Celiac is not suppressed....it actually hyperactive. So, it should not have anything to do with being sick, as you have described. However, if you are still ingesting gluten, whether on purpose or not, you will have malabsorption issues still and that could be what is running you down. Or it could be that you are just one of those people who get everything that goes around.

I went to age 46 before diagnosis and was at end stage but I bounced back really well, after a year or so. I never get sick, not even a cold anymore. Drives everyone else crazy because I'll be the only one who doesn't get sick in an epidemic. I always like to tell them it's because they still eat gluten! :lol:

Are you around young kids at all? If so, I find people who are, generally get sick much more often than people who aren't. You also might want to give the healing process more time....you haven't been gluten-free for very long and it can take up to 2-3 years to completely recover from it.

Good luck and good health to you!

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Guest Happynwgal2
The immune system of a Celiac is not suppressed....it actually hyperactive. So, it should not have anything to do with being sick, as you have described. However, if you are still ingesting gluten, whether on purpose or not, you will have malabsorption issues still and that could be what is running you down. Or it could be that you are just one of those people who get everything that goes around.

I went to age 46 before diagnosis and was at end stage but I bounced back really well, after a year or so. I never get sick, not even a cold anymore. Drives everyone else crazy because I'll be the only one who doesn't get sick in an epidemic. I always like to tell them it's because they still eat gluten! :lol:

Are you around young kids at all? If so, I find people who are, generally get sick much more often than people who aren't. You also might want to give the healing process more time....you haven't been gluten-free for very long and it can take up to 2-3 years to completely recover from it.

Good luck and good health to you!

Thank you for your reply. I have never heard that the immune system of a Celiac is actually hyperactive; I need to look into that.

I am not ingesting gluten of any kind any more. My home is gluten free, and at work I bring in my own food. Besides, a lot of my co-workers know about my hypersensitivity to not only gluten, but many other foods as well.

And, no, I am not around children. My work keeps me away from people all day long since I am a light rail operator here in Portland, and sit inside a small cab in front of the train all day long.

Your comment about it taking 2-3 years to heal is interesting. Since I was in my 50's before I was diagnosed, and thus had been eating gluten since I was a little girl - I remember being very sick as a girl, and it just got worse as I grew older - I have known that my body has sustained a lot of damage. So perhaps it will be a while before I am all well.

Again, thanks for the information. I am in the process of finding a new doctor who will be more friendly to my concerns about my having Celiac than Kaiser doctors were.

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The immune system of a Celiac is not suppressed....it actually hyperactive. So, it should not have anything to do with being sick, as you have described. However, if you are still ingesting gluten, whether on purpose or not, you will have malabsorption issues still and that could be what is running you down. Or it could be that you are just one of those people who get everything that goes around.

I went to age 46 before diagnosis and was at end stage but I bounced back really well, after a year or so. I never get sick, not even a cold anymore. Drives everyone else crazy because I'll be the only one who doesn't get sick in an epidemic. I always like to tell them it's because they still eat gluten! :lol:

Are you around young kids at all? If so, I find people who are, generally get sick much more often than people who aren't. You also might want to give the healing process more time....you haven't been gluten-free for very long and it can take up to 2-3 years to completely recover from it.

Good luck and good health to you!

But the immune system of a celiac is weakened because of the hyperactivity caused by ingesting gluten. The immune response to the gluten is the immune system attacking itself, but all of that work tires it out and makes us more susceptible to other stuff when the celiac is not under control. This is from the CSA website in regards to immune function:

"It is important to remember that the immune system of a person with celiac disease is weak. The auto-immune system functions at a lower-than-normal level. Infections may not be handled as well as in other people. Stamina and resilience may not be at the level they once were."

I do agree, that once you have gotten your resistance up and have got the celiac under control, it does seem like my resistance is up. Last year prediagnosis I had strep three times nad a yeast infection. I was sick constantly! Now, I'm the one that barely gets a cold when everyone else gets the flu. And I'm a teacher, so I'm around alot of bugs!

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once you are able to, don't forget to get plenty of exercise - daily. it is excellent at helping the immune system fight off bugs.

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Guest Happynwgal2
But the immune system of a celiac is weakened because of the hyperactivity caused by ingesting gluten. The immune response to the gluten is the immune system attacking itself, but all of that work tires it out and makes us more susceptible to other stuff when the celiac is not under control. This is from the CSA website in regards to immune function:

"It is important to remember that the immune system of a person with celiac disease is weak. The auto-immune system functions at a lower-than-normal level. Infections may not be handled as well as in other people. Stamina and resilience may not be at the level they once were."

I do agree, that once you have gotten your resistance up and have got the celiac under control, it does seem like my resistance is up. Last year prediagnosis I had strep three times nad a yeast infection. I was sick constantly! Now, I'm the one that barely gets a cold when everyone else gets the flu. And I'm a teacher, so I'm around alot of bugs!

THANK YOU for pointing out what I thought I had read before: that the immune system of a Celiac is weak. I feel that that is my problem, but have not yet found a doctor who will help me understand my immune system better. Thus the Internet is my source of information - and this web site is very good for information.

"Stamina and resilience may not be at the level they once were." This is one of my deepest beliefs about my health right now, yet I was not sure if I was right. The older I got, the worse my health became - and it started when I was a little girl (now 55 - diagnosed 15 months ago). Since removing gluten from my whole house and diet, I am much better than before, but still not as healthy as I think I should be.

I do work out, although with the flu that is keeping me off work right now, I have to take a break until I feel better again.

My naturopath is not covered by my insurance, so I am looking for a health provider who is covered by my insurance who will work with my naturopath.

Thank you for your reply to my post.

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"It is important to remember that the immune system of a person with celiac disease is weak. The auto-immune system functions at a lower-than-normal level. Infections may not be handled as well as in other people. Stamina and resilience may not be at the level they once were."

I would agree that the immune system is weakened pre-diagnosis but weak is different from suppressed. Suppression comes from diseases like AIDS and Celiac immune function, or lack of, is a totally different animal. I also think the weakened state comes from mal-absorpton and not so much from it's hyperactive state.

A Celiac will always show hyperactivity in their blood work, no matter how long they are gluten-free. This doesn't mean you will always be getting sick. I think some people, due to their genetic make-up and other factors, will still have a problem with catching colds, etc. Even pre-diagnosis, I did not get as sick as other people I know, who think they are healthy.(in my adulthood) I am rarely around kids so that may be a factor.

The worst thing about this disease is that you have to be so very patient with recovery. I know cancer patients that recovered faster than it took me from celiac disease. A year or two is a long time but I really think that's how long it takes to bounce back....especially when you are around the magic 50 mark! :o

A note on strep.....I used to have strep throats ALL the time when I was in my early teens. Four or five times per year....not good. Finally, my doctor recommended removing my tonsils, even though they appeared perfectly normal. He thought they were acting as a receptacle for bacteria and the strep was just re-circulating through my body every so many months. Must have been right because, once removed, I have never had another sore throat, period, in my life and that's almost 35 years ago. Very strange but true!

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