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"bodybuilding" Steroids And Celiacs Symptoms?

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Hello All,

Have any of you celiac disease sufferers had experience with taking oral "bodybuilding" steroids? Did it seem to help with the stomach-related symptoms?

I'm asking because yesterday, after having recently started a cycle of anabolic steroids (including low, daily doses of oral Anadrol) I ate a piece of pizza (because I'd been stuck at Costco for far too long with my wife) and was surprised afterwards when I did NOT get the usual stomach bloating and discomfort nor the weird-smelling smooth light-colored bowel movements as a result.

A little background: First, I've not had my celiac disease confirmed by any kind of medical testing. At the age of 41 I finally went to the doctor because I had a persistent pain in lower-left abdomen - just above my hip. As is probably common, the first doctor misdiagnosed my problem and told me I had diverticulitis and gave me some strong anti-biotics that did nothtng to help me. The 2nd doctor told me I might have a gluten allergy. (Of course, I said, "WTF? I've been eating wheat my whole life!") He wanted me to try eliminating wheat from my diet and see what happened. Well, I felt great off the wheat and so I did not go back and just stayed on a gluten-free diet. Apparently, my symptoms are not as serious as those of many others. I'll slip up and eat wheat once every few months and I know it within about 10 - 20 minutes. If it's not much wheat (like the wrong kind of soy sauce) I'll just belch a bit and feel a small stomach ache. If I eat something like pizza, my stomach will hurt a lot and I'll get the foul-smelling s$#&s.

Re: the steroids, I was a (steroid-using) competitive bodybuilder until about the age of 35 until work and family time demands made me give up on training altogether. My marriage broke up about 5 years later and that's when I began noticing the celiac symptoms of stomach discomfort and bloat, but for a long time I just chalked it up to getting old and being out of shape. As I wrote above, I wasn't bothered enough to see a doctor until the relatively sharp persistent pain in my lower left abdomen had me thinking I might have cancer or something.

Anyway, if you have any personal knowledge of how steroids might affect celiac symptoms, I'd be glad to hear. (For the record, even if "gear" totally alleviates celiac symptoms, I don't intend to head down to the bakery for some croissants since I'm pretty sure that even if I don't feel bad after eating wheat while I'm on cycle, wheat can't be actually good for me.)

Also, if by chance you'd like to respond by trying to "take me to task" for using anabolics, please either have some personal experience with it or educate yourself on the subject first.

Thanks

Oh, one more thing: My mom and I think I got the celiac disease from her side of the family; both my grandmother and my great-grandmother were suffering from some stomach/digestive problems that doctors weren't able to resolve before they died.

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Okay, I'm going to take a stab at this. First, no, I don't think that the steroids are causing you to feel fewer symptoms, since they're anabolic steroids and not a steroid like prednisone, which "might" alleviate an autoimmune response. My guess is that the pizza you ate had a crust that was made of a sourdough base. I read an article last year that scientifically explained how sourdough has a chemical in it that somehow causes some celiacs not to have a reaction. I agreed with the article because my mother, who also has celiac, is able to eat small quantities of a high-quality sourdough bread from time and time and appears to have no reaction. I'm too afraid to test the theory because I suffer horrendous consequences that last for months and sometimes years after ingesting gluten. Another thing: When I had muscle testing done by an accupuncturist about five years ago for food allergies, she mentioned that she found it odd that people with celiac don't seem to respond negatively to sourdough bread but do respond to regular wheat bread. She thought it was quite a mystery; however, the article I read backed her up scientifically. Not sure if this is why you didn't react...but just my two cents.

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Since there is a pretty clear female bias in symptomatic gluten intolerance (more women are diagnosed than men, and also show up on this board undiagnosed, but symptomatic) it's possible that the steroids shift your sex hormone balance enough to alleviate the symptoms. It could be a consistent effect, or might disappear if you continue to take steroids, and decided to resume wheat.

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Since there is a pretty clear female bias in symptomatic gluten intolerance (more women are diagnosed than men, and also show up on this board undiagnosed, but symptomatic) it's possible that the steroids shift your sex hormone balance enough to alleviate the symptoms. It could be a consistent effect, or might disappear if you continue to take steroids, and decided to resume wheat.

Errr, what? I'm a guy.

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Okay, I'm going to take a stab at this. First, no, I don't think that the steroids are causing you to feel fewer symptoms, since they're anabolic steroids and not a steroid like prednisone, which "might" alleviate an autoimmune response. My guess is that the pizza you ate had a crust that was made of a sourdough base. I read an article last year that scientifically explained how sourdough has a chemical in it that somehow causes some celiacs not to have a reaction. I agreed with the article because my mother, who also has celiac, is able to eat small quantities of a high-quality sourdough bread from time and time and appears to have no reaction. I'm too afraid to test the theory because I suffer horrendous consequences that last for months and sometimes years after ingesting gluten. Another thing: When I had muscle testing done by an accupuncturist about five years ago for food allergies, she mentioned that she found it odd that people with celiac don't seem to respond negatively to sourdough bread but do respond to regular wheat bread. She thought it was quite a mystery; however, the article I read backed her up scientifically. Not sure if this is why you didn't react...but just my two cents.

That's interesting but doesn't square with my experience. Back when my marriage was breaking up and my stomach was killing me, my regular breakfast was 2 pieces of Columbo sourdough bread (I'm from the Bay Area) and that would make me feel horrible.

Re: I'm pretty sure that almost all bodybuilding steroids are anti-inflammatories (just like prednisone) they just have a bunch of other effects, too (that make them problematic for many, especially women, to take.) I'm going to ask the celiac + anabolics question over on a couple of my bodybuilding drug forums (I like elitefitness.com). Some of the guys in the longevity/life-extension subforums are ridiculously knowledgeable about (seemingly) all things pharmacology related.

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Okay, I'm going to take a stab at this. First, no, I don't think that the steroids are causing you to feel fewer symptoms, since they're anabolic steroids and not a steroid like prednisone, which "might" alleviate an autoimmune response. My guess is that the pizza you ate had a crust that was made of a sourdough base. I read an article last year that scientifically explained how sourdough has a chemical in it that somehow causes some celiacs not to have a reaction. I agreed with the article because my mother, who also has celiac, is able to eat small quantities of a high-quality sourdough bread from time and time and appears to have no reaction. I'm too afraid to test the theory because I suffer horrendous consequences that last for months and sometimes years after ingesting gluten. Another thing: When I had muscle testing done by an accupuncturist about five years ago for food allergies, she mentioned that she found it odd that people with celiac don't seem to respond negatively to sourdough bread but do respond to regular wheat bread. She thought it was quite a mystery; however, the article I read backed her up scientifically. Not sure if this is why you didn't react...but just my two cents.

Oh shoot, I forgot to add that I got a strong reaction from the same costco pizza about 2 months ago (before I went began my current cycle of anabolics). I guess they could have changed the dough recipe/brand, but it doesn't seem likely.

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Since there is a pretty clear female bias in symptomatic gluten intolerance (more women are diagnosed than men, and also show up on this board undiagnosed, but symptomatic) it's possible that the steroids shift your sex hormone balance enough to alleviate the symptoms. It could be a consistent effect, or might disappear if you continue to take steroids, and decided to resume wheat.

Hmmmm. I've been thinking about what you've said about their being a female bias when it comes to symptomatic gluten intolerance. Could the reason for that be because men naturally have much more testosterone in their systems? That would jibe with my no symptoms after eating the pizza experience. Also, began noticing symptoms of celiac disease for the first time in my life when I was about 41. After some cursory internet reading, I chalked that up to the fact that I was undergoing some fairly traumatic personal issues at the time (divorce) but it could have just been that my body, like that of every over 40 male, was starting to produce less testosterone and so I was suffering the stomach-related symptoms more and more.

This is super-interesting to me. I'm sure that many women reading this are thinking that this possible relief (taking steroids) from symptoms of gluten intolerance are out of the question (because of the virilizing effects, mostly) but I don't think that's the case these days. Before starting my current anabolic cycle I did a whole lot of internet reading and was frankly blown away by all the medicines that are now taken to deal with steroid side effects. I think there's a reasonably good chance that there are certain low-androgen steroids that women could take, especially in conjunction with some other protective substances, that would lead to little to no masculinization but would still provide good help for your intestines. Hmmm. I'm going to ask some of the folks over at elitefitness and I'll be back...

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I think women would have to take a boatload of steroids for it to have an effect. You may have been just under some threshold or something.

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I think the female bias towards celiac is due to immune system differences, not hormonal differences. We are "engineered" to tolerate a fetus, which may not be a perfect immunological match and it causes some differences.

I turned up one article of interest done on monkeys with an androgen receptor agonist that you might throw at the steroid pharmacology folks to see if it would also apply to your anabolics. It showed changes in cytokine expression, including a decrease in IL-15 mRNA. IL-15 is looking to be one of the major mediators of gluten intolerance.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19429447

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I just wonder what the antibiotics have done as to gut flora and permeability issues concurrent with your initial increase in symptoms. The systemic inflammation would be brought down the the gear.. I think.. so that may be why you tolerated it. Don;t know for sure. I would look at the antibiotics thing as I am now off the edge when it comes to gut flora and symptoms. After years of antibiotic abuse followed by years of undiagnosed RA and then celiac that left me unable to hang from a chin up bar with my body weight.. which had grown considerably out of shape due to the immobility.. once I got the gut flora straightened around I am getting great results from workouts over the age of fifty now.. better than when I was much younger. Just saying. I have another discussion here about the whole NIH microbiome study and the two calves study and gut flora if you are interested in looking at it from that angle. What I do know is that steroids will really mess with the immune system so it seems that all other factors that will trigger immune issues would seem, to me anyway, to put you at a higher risk for complications. There was another discussion where we were discussing trigger episodes that seemed to put us over the edge and there were enough anecdotal instances of antibiotics seeming to kick off the initial celiac symptoms. Just throwing it all out there for you to consider.

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Just another quick thought. Robb Wolf, over at Nor Cal fitness and a big paleo advocate is quite informative on much of this as is Mat Lalonde.

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I just wonder what the antibiotics have done as to gut flora and permeability issues concurrent with your initial increase in symptoms.

I think you misread. He is talking about anabolics, not antibiotics. They are the steroids used and/or abused by athletes to build muscle mass. As far as I know, anabolic steroids are not anti-inflammatory like corticosteroids either.

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Thanks, Skylark...I feel redeemed. Quite frankly, I don't see how steroids would have any effect on one's reaction to gluten. After being gluten free for 18 months, I occasionally began to cheat (with pizza, my favorite food), and sometimes I would react and sometimes I wouldn't. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason. Finally, an extreme reaction caused me to never cheat again. Of course, now that I've been gluten free for seven years, I react violently from even the smallest amount of gluten....but there was a time when....

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I think you misread. He is talking about anabolics, not antibiotics. They are the steroids used and/or abused by athletes to build muscle mass. As far as I know, anabolic steroids are not anti-inflammatory like corticosteroids either.

I am quite aware of gear (Steroids). I have been involved in the fitness industry for most of my adult life. If you read in his initial information he speaks of having been misdiagnosed and given a strong antibiotic. I am just trying to consider all possibilities in light of what may be relevant to the whole picture. Think what you may but I do know what I am talking about here. I stand by what I have said.

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I am quite aware of gear (Steroids). I have been involved in the fitness industry for most of my adult life. If you read in his initial information he speaks of having been misdiagnosed and given a strong antibiotic. I am just trying to consider all possibilities in light of what may be relevant to the whole picture. Think what you may but I do know what I am talking about here. I stand by what I have said.

Sorry, my bad. I missed that. I've not seen followup of the one study on celiac and dysbiosis though.

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Sorry, my bad. I missed that. I've not seen followup of the one study on celiac and dysbiosis though.

I think it is an avenue that needs significant follow up in light of what I have been piecing together. treating myself with this in mind has made significant positive impact on my recovery. I was thinking about this a bit more. When it was looking like I was going to be declared refractory with insufficient gut healing in spite of a rigorous adherence to gluten free, my gastro wanted to put me on a number of steroids. It seems that there is some success with getting the gut and villi to heal with the use of steroids. Seems that maybe the above situation is one where he is benefiting from that aspect. Perhaps enough to have minimized the impact of the gluten intake while on a cycle. I refused the treatment and sought out more on dysbiosis, SIBO and yeast overgrowth as my ENT years ago had pegged these as problematic as a result of pretty sever antibiotic overuse.

I have gone into more detail as to what I have done on another discussion here but have gone with as much raw paleo and raw dairy as I can after having added a ton of raw coconut and coconut oil to knock down the yeast overgrowth. I am not one to think much of people who talk about detox but that's about the only way I can think of to describe what I went through. It was as if I was living a very severe EB viral infection of 25 years ago in reverse only compressed into about 48 hours instead of 6 months. When I came through it I realized I now felt better than ever. I read and re-read Gottschall's "Breaking the vicious cycle" at the same time I was putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Since I was serum negative I have begun to wonder if what I was dealing with was a result of antibiotic overuse in the first place. I have a million studies I could dream up to pursue this but I am not the scientist... just a maddened lunatic who feels much, much better after a lifetime of less than great health. End of ramble. I hope there is something useful in there in light of the discussion.

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