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Celiac.com 11/25/2017 - We have long known that gluten intolerance, both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, are highly associated with neurological symptoms. Migraines, ataxia (unstable gait), seizures, schizophrenia – the list is long. But a recent research study just published last month sheds some new light on exactly what the mechanism may be. Understanding why these debilitating symptoms occur as a result of a gluten intolerance will, hopefully, go a long way toward increased awareness among the lay public and clinicians alike. It is certainly true that too many millions of Americans suffer the effects of a gluten intolerance unknowingly. They only know that they feel unhealthy but have no idea that gluten is the culprit. The digestive tract is sometimes called the second brain. Some say that is because it is second in importance to the brain. After all, if the food that is consumed doesn't turn into fuel that can effectively feed the 10 trillion cells in the body, those cells will be unable to perform their job and keep the body healthy. In fact, poor digestion is absolutely linked to poor health and increased onset of degenerative disease. This article in Current Pain and Headache Reports looks at another possibility for naming the digestive tract the second brain, and it simply stems from anatomy. The digestive tract actually has a ‘mind of its own'; more correctly, it has a nervous system of its own, called the enteric nervous system. ‘Enteric' simply means having to do with the intestine. This nervous system, according to research, is very similar to the brain housed in the head in that it is bathed in similar chemicals (called neurotransmitters – which, interestingly enough, are mostly produced in the gut!). It sends and receives impulses and records experiences and is influenced by emotions. Some proof of the latter: Have you ever been nervous and had diarrhea? This particular study stated that experiencing ‘adverse events' created a state of hypervigilance (a state of being overly responsive - not a good thing) in the nervous system which was associated with migraines and IBS. Such ‘hypervigilance' was previously only associated with the central nervous system – the one attached to the brain in the head. This group of researchers suggests that the initiation of hypervigilance may very likely lie in the enteric nervous system also. What this means is that if the small intestine is genetically sensitive to gluten and gluten is ingested, it could set off a nervous system response that could create disabling diseases, such as migraines and IBS, but likely others as well. The take-away message is that it is truly critical to diagnose gluten intolerance as soon as possible. Once that hurdle is surmounted it then needs to be followed with a program of nutrition, lifestyle and diet that will ensure healing of the small intestine and a ‘calming' of the hypervigilant nervous system. You may sometimes hear this referred to as healing a leaky gut. Here at HealthNOW we often see this clinically in patients who seem intolerant to many different foods and can't seem to enjoy stable improvement of their symptoms, even after they eliminate gluten from their diet. The reason for this insufficient improvement is that a comprehensive follow-up program is missing – a program that addresses what we call the Secondary Effects of Gluten. This entails evaluating for any other food sensitivities, cross reactive foods, a tendency towards autoimmune disease, the presence of any infectious organisms, healing the leaky gut, balancing the probiotic population, and more. While increasing awareness of the presence of gluten intolerance is absolutely critical, neglecting the secondary effects, as mentioned above, can result in long-term ill health that is truly preventable. Have you experienced such symptoms? Have you removed gluten but are only partially healthier? I'd love to hear from you. To your good health.
Celiac.com 09/20/2013 - New technologies and ingredients are helping manufacturers to improve the look, taste and nutritional profile of gluten-free food products, a market that is expected to grow to $6 billion by 2017, according to a presentation at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago. In addition to growing numbers of people with celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity, much of the demand is being driven by people with preference for gluten-free foods, said Chris Thomas, senior food technologist at Ingredion, Inc. Manufacturers of gluten-free foods have historically focused on the 'gluten-free' aspects of their products. This approach as resulted in gluten-free products which are gritty, or dry in texture and have a short shelf life. To mask these negative features, or to enhance bland flavor, many gluten-free products contain high amounts of sugar and offer little nutritional value. That is changing rapidly. "Now, consumers want nutrition quality, variety and appearance," says Thomas. Consumer demand and new manufacturing approaches, including the development and use of flours, starches and bran made from alternative ingredients, are leading to gluten-free products with better texture, flavor and nutritional profiles than in the past. By using native functional tapioca and rice-based flours, manufacturers of gluten-free foods are eliminating grittiness and crumbliness, and crafting products with texture, color and appearance that is similar to wheat-containing counterparts. The resulting gluten-free products are also similar to wheat-based products in term of calories, fat content, overall nutrition and shelf life. One huge advance toward better gluten-free food products comes from the commercial use of pulses. These are the edible seeds of leguminous crops, such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and edible beans, which have a high viscosity, as well as high levels of protein, fiber and other nutrients. They are being used to create flour and starch-like substances for better gluten-free products. So far, pulses have been used to create a number of gluten-free pastas, baked goods, snacks, breadcrumb substitutes, and even milk-like beverages in the international food market, says Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D, the global director of the research, development and innovation division of Alliance Grain Traders (AGT). All of these developments, coupled with strong market growth, mean that consumers of gluten-free foods can look forward to more and better gluten-free products coming very soon. Source: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-07-technologies-ingredients-options-gluten-free.html
Celiac.com 06/17/2009 - He stands aloof and watches absent-mindedly as the other children queue up for the food. He remembers his mother’s stern warning and the hunger pangs worsen. He knows the even a morsel of the delicious mouth-watering cake will surely make him ill. Meet Mike, he was born with celiac disease. Mike’s parents are well-off and highly educated. According to his mother, Mrs. Kintu, shortly after his birth Mike started showing signs and his parents immediately took him to a European hospital for a check-up. The doctors did an endoscopic exam and Mike was diagnosed with celiac disease. Mike had to stick to a gluten free diet for the rest of his life. Mike’s life was spared. Had Mike been born in a poor family, Mike would have eventually lost his life to celiac disease, just like the increasingly shocking numbers of African infants between the very minor age of 6 months and 4 years that die every year—particularly in the East-African region. The acute lack of awareness and subtle ignorance about the disease leads the devastated parents to think that sorcery or envious neighbors robbed them of their little ones. Mike is alive today and maintains a particularly sparse diet and survives on such food as vegetables, rice, beans, potatoes, small quantities of red meat, and fresh fruits. Granted, this may seem like a rather healthy and outright fulfilling diet for an adult, however, as fate would have it, Mike is also lactose-intolerant. Essentially, this means that, in lay-man’s language, Mike is allergic to milk in its natural form and all its by-products. Celiac disease is a permanent inflammatory disease of the small intestine triggered by the ingestion of gluten-containing cereals in genetically predisposed individuals. It is a lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder. Damage to the mucosal surface of the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Celiac disease is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger. Gluten is the common name for the offending proteins in specific cereal grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. These proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro), and related grains such as rye and barley must also be eliminated. Celiac disease was first described in the second century AD by Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a contemporary of the Roman physician Galen, who used the Greek word “koeliakos”, which means “suffering of the bowels”. However, only in 1888 AD did Samuel Gee of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital give the classical clinical description of celiac disease. The cause of celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue, or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), is unknown. Celiac disease occurs in 5-15% of the offspring and siblings of a person with celiac disease. In 70% of identical twin pairs, both twins have the disease. It is strongly suggested that family members be tested, even if asymptomatic. Family members who have an autoimmune disease are at a 25% increased risk of having celiac disease. Celiac disease displays itself with the following symptoms: Recurring bloating, gas, or abdominal pain Chronic diarrhea or constipation or both Bone or joint pain Behavior changes/depression/irritability Vitamin K Deficiency Fatigue, weakness or lack of energy Delayed growth or onset of puberty Failure to thrive (in infants) Missed menstrual periods Infertility in male & female Spontaneous miscarriages Canker sores inside the mouth Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel And many others (to see a complete list go to the Celiac Disease Symptoms page).In any case, there is little or no research on this disease in East Africa. The principal ideals behind this article are the commencement of an awareness program, with particular emphasis on celiac disease and any other diseases that are not generally known about in the region. It is important that these are brought to the light and addressed duly by the concerned parties. There is also an urgent need to formally address the problem especially to those that can not possibly afford treatment and are generally ignorant. I am in the process of establishing an awareness campaign concurrently with a patients’ association for celiac disease in East Africa. The association is still in its infant stages and I am appealing for support and any form of assistance. The name of my association is: Creating Celiac Disease Awareness in Africa. Author's Note: The names of the characters in this article have been changed for privacy reasons.