Showing posts with label flour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flour. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

How Exactly Gluten Creates Neurological Disease

If you follow this blog or any major research into the field of gluten sensitivity, you likely know that neurological symptoms such as neuropathy, ataxia, migraines, schizophrenia and more, are quite commonly seen as associated with gluten. While you may know this if you’re a ‘seasoned veteran’ on the topic, if you’re brand new to the field it likely comes as a great surprise.

Gluten is, after all, something we eat, so how could it possibly cause problems with the nervous system? The stomach, yes, that’s understandable. The nervous system sounds like a bit of a stretch. I’ll be the first to agree that gluten’s reactions, that factually number about 200, are not intuitive. Why would a food damage your liver or your heart or your reproductive system? But indeed it does, and considering that neurological problems tend to head the list of THE most common reactions, I think it’s time that more people knew and understood the mechanism.

Such an understanding by lay persons and doctors alike will hopefully open the door to quicker diagnoses and better health.

I was very pleased to be introduced to the work of Sayer Ji, an author of several books and founder and director of

After exploring 60 years of research on gluten, he asks the important question of whether gluten-containing grains contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. The question isn't a new one and research into the connection between gluten and schizophrenia is strong. In fact it’s a discussion we've had on this blog as well as my blog on the site. What’s perhaps more important is how wide a net can be cast as it relates to gluten and psychiatric problems in general, not just schizophrenia.
Beginning in the 1950s there is literature to support the link between a gluten-free diet and resolution of emotional disturbances. It is interesting to note that during that same time period in history, the disease schizophrenia was known as ‘bread madness’.
Also in the mid-fifties a link was made between those with celiac and schizophrenia. There was seen to be a higher prevalence of the diseases together than when a normal non-celiac patient was evaluated for the condition.

A study published in 1966 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition entitled “Wheat “consumption” and Hospital Admissions for Schizophrenia During World War II” confirmed a suspicion that less wheat and rye ingestion equaled less first-time hospital admissions for schizophrenia. The results were not only confirmed in the United States, but also in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Canada.

Another interesting correlation was found in remote parts of the world where grains aren't consumed. Specifically Papau New Guinea, Malaita, Solomon Islands and Yap, Micronesia inhabitants had an extremely low incidence of schizophrenia. Yet when these same populations became partially westernized and foods such as wheat, barley and beer were introduced, their incidence of schizophrenia quickly reached European levels.
In 1976, Science published a study that showed schizophrenics who maintained a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, when challenged with gluten, experienced an interruption of their progress therapeutically. As soon as gluten was removed from the diet, improvement was again seen.

As we have discussed before, recent research from 2010 and 2011 has shown a specific association with gluten sensitivity, more prominent than even that seen with celiac disease, and schizophrenia. A full 20% of those with schizophrenia were found to be positive for anti-gliadin antibodies, a test that can reveal celiac disease but is less specific for the disease and more commonly seen in those with gluten sensitivity.
Finally, the most recent research from this year, published in World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, compared a large group of schizophrenics (950) to healthy control subjects (1,000) and discovered that the odds of being positive for anti-gliadin antibodies in the blood was over two times higher in schizophrenics.

It seems pretty clear, does it not, that the correlation is strong? Yet does every psychiatrist diagnosing someone with schizophrenia test them for gluten sensitivity? Sadly I doubt it, not to mention the other neurological diseases that could be caused by gluten.

But let’s get back to the mechanism: HOW does gluten create neurological problems.
1.     It’s important to realize that wheat gliadin is just one of over 20,000 different proteins found in wheat. The proteins present in glutinous grains are not readily digestible in man - in fact they are not at all digestible.

Really? Yes. We may eat these grains, but we are not able to digest them more than partially.

Haven’t we been eating them ‘forever’? Why would we continue eating them if we can’t digest them?

Historically speaking, human evolution is 2.5 million years old. For 99.9% of that time, man has NOT eaten gluten. Therefore, it’s actually a rather new food for man and not one he can completely digest.

The pieces or peptides of the partially digested protein are can be inflammatory and disease producing in those sensitive to them. According the Dr Fasano, one such peptide induces cell death. Another causes the secretion of zonulin, the protein that causes leaky gut.
2.     The incomplete protein digestion stimulates the immune system to make antibodies (these are defensive proteins made by the immune system to destroy foreign, toxic invaders) to attack the pieces of protein. The poor digestion, compounded by a leaky gut, results in these segments migrating out of the small intestine and into the general circulation. The proof of this is antibodies to gliadin being found in the blood.

3.     It is these antibodies, now present in the bloodstream, that have been seen to react with neurological structures in the human body, in addition to the gliadin they were originally made to attack. A study published in Journal of Immunology  discovered that the antibodies made against gliadin could bind to a protein found with the nerve fibers, resulting in, the authors believed, complications such as neuropathy, seizures, ataxia and behavioral changes.

Nutritional Neuroscience in 2004 found that the same gliadin antibodies were more prevalent in children with autism, causing, they posited, the neurological damage seen with the condition.

What percentage of the population has these pesky anti-gliadin antibodies? It is estimated that 27 percent of the general population but a whopping 57 percent of those individuals suffering from neurological issues has an immune system that make antibodies against gliadin.

Sayer Ji posed this question: “Is it possible that gluten-containing grains are adversely affecting the mental health of the world at large, perhaps mostly on a subclinical basis?” What he means by ‘subclinical’ are those suffering with symptoms but who have no formal diagnosis of a disease state.

Based on our clinical experience here at HealthNOW, I would say that is a very likely scenario. While no one is saying that a gluten reaction is the sole cause of every neurological problem faced by mankind, the link is a strong one and should not, in my opinion, be ignored.

What can you do?

First of all consider sharing this information with friends and family. I have seen so many individuals enjoy marked changes in their mood, behavior and neurological health as a result of eliminating gluten from their diet. While it’s frightening to consider the sheer number of people that could be suffering needlessly with serious conditions, on the same note it is exciting to think that if we got this information out widely to the general public, we could be doing a tremendous service for their health.

If you are wondering if gluten is affecting your mental or neurological health, do consider getting tested for both celiac and gluten sensitivity. If the test is negative (remember, these tests aren't perfect and they often miss those with a problem) still engage in a 30 day gluten elimination diet. You must be strict and aim for perfection when you do this. Please get armed with all the information you need such that you can avoid mistakes. Consider visiting this page on my website. It contains all the most common places that gluten can hide. Read it thoroughly, prepare your pantry and then start.

If you cannot get a lab test, definitely ‘test’ yourself with the 30 day elimination diet. Some people notice a difference in how they feel relatively quickly. Others require several weeks before noticing a change. Regardless, stick with it for 30 days and monitor if you feel better physically or mentally.

But don’t, please, negate your own experience when changing your diet. Feeling an improvement is a valid test in and of itself, and is perhaps all you really need to perhaps make a huge change in your health.

I hope you found this informative. Please share it with those you know and contact me with any questions or comments you may have. Here at HealthNOW we are a destination clinic. Patients come from across the country and internationally to receive care here. Therefore, you don’t need to live locally to be helped.

If you need assistance, consider contacting us for a free health analysis. Just call us at 408-733-0400.

To your good health,Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical CenterGluten Free Doctor of the Year 2013
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tired of the Gas and Bloating? Is it Gluten?

One of the most common symptoms that patients complain of is gas and bloating. Sometimes it’s associated with acid reflux or heartburn, and other times it comes along with constipation or diarrhea, but gas and bloating are very, very common.

Is it normal? Absolutely not. I don’t care how long you've had it, there is nothing normal about gas or bloating. There is a treatment that works and it’s completely natural.

For some people the symptom has been with them since childhood. As a child you may have complained of ‘tummy aches’ when the gas got too bad. Perhaps you remember these tummy aches, I know I do. Or perhaps you have a child who complains. This is not a symptom to ignore and personally I get a little peeved when parents casually mention the symptom but quickly add that the child’s teacher or their spouse believes the symptom is ‘made up’. No one enjoys pain and I rarely find that children are fabricating their symptoms.
So, regardless of your age, let’s discuss why gas and bloating occur.

Your digestive tract is a closed system with an opening at either end. Considering its length is almost 30 feet, that leaves a lot of potential room for trapped gas. When food is ingested it goes to the stomach where it is broken down somewhat and then it move on to the small intestine where full digestion occurs. Once a food is fully broken down, it leaves the small intestine via the bloodstream, where it is delivered as fuel to all the cells of the body.

If a food is not considered a good fuel by your body, it won’t be able to digest it properly. This is what occurs with the protein gluten. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten is seen as a toxin that therefore becomes a burden to the small intestine. (It is interesting to note that the protein gluten is unable to be fully digested by any human, regardless of whether they have celiac or gluten sensitivity. It starts to make you wonder if we should really consider it a food...)

When a food is improperly digested it starts to putrefy within the small intestine. This creates gas, and built-up gas creates bloating. It’s a little like what occurs when something gets pushed to the back of your refrigerator and goes bad. If it’s in a plastic container, it will start to bulge and it’s definitely built up gas.
Do you feel overly full, uncomfortable or gassy after eating? This is not normal and it indicates that something that you’re eating is not being perceived as a good fuel. Is it a gluten sensitivity? Possibly. It could also be a dairy sensitivity or another food that’s bothering you.

An interesting catch-22 occurs when you don’t digest food properly. Over time you then don’t produce enough stomach acid and enzymes that are required to digest your food. You need enzymes and stomach acid to digest, but you make those things from the foods you eat – it can get quite circular.

In addition to discovering any food sensitivities, it is therefore important to discover if you do require any extra stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) or enzymes to assist you in regaining the proper balance within your intestine.

Another factor is your probiotic balance. These good bacteria help strengthen the immune system of the gut and destroy any pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms.
Lastly, those above mentioned infectious organisms can be in residence in the small intestine, and due to their less than hospitable intentions, can be creating inflammation that causes bloating and improper food digestion.
In summary:
1.       Gas and bloating is not normal
2.       Food sensitivities such as gluten and dairy can cause the problem
3.       Insufficient stomach acid and/or enzymes can also cause the symptoms
4.       Probiotic levels should be evaluated to ensure proper functioning of the intestine
5.       Intestinal infections can be present that prevent healing and perpetuate the symptoms
Treatment would look like this:
1.       Determine if you have any food sensitivities. Blood testing is a great place to start to rule out celiac disease but even if that test is negative, a 30 day gluten elimination diet will help you to determine if you have a problem. Sadly, our available tests are not perfect.
2.       For a dairy, corn or soy sensitivity – eliminate the foods for at least 2 weeks and then challenge one at a time allowing three days between challenges. Notice if you feel better off the foods and then what occurs when you reintroduce them. Remember that a reaction after reintroduction can occur anywhere from immediately up to 3 days later.
3.       Once you have determined any food sensitivities, if the gas and bloating is continuing and it tends to be something you feel shortly after eating, try some hydrochloric acid. Get a good one from a reputable health food store or your doctor. You may need to titrate it up a bit to find the proper dosage, but if it’s what you need you’ll be able to tell relatively quickly.
4.       If your symptoms tend to occur about an hour or so after meals, try pancreatic enzymes first. Much like the stomach acid, you may need to titrate the dose up to find what works for you.
5.       Probiotics are always a safe bet, just use human strains of different organisms at a high strength. Once again, your doctor or reputable health food store is your best source.
6.       Determining the presence of any infectious organisms requires a lab test. We use a lab that looks for an abundance of different bacteria, parasites, amoeba, etc. Often a traditional medical stool test only looks for a couple of parasites. This is not what I’m referring to. You want a comprehensive test. The good news about this test is that it also evaluates your probiotic and enzyme levels.

What’s interesting is how all the above points are inter-related. The food sensitivity often starts the problem and the rest of them follow as a result.

Please realize that gas and bloating go beyond discomfort or embarrassment when gas passes. These symptoms are an indicator of poor digestive function. If you cannot turn your food into proper fuel, there truly is no way the rest of your body can be healthy.

If you have any of these symptoms and are having difficulty remedying them, you are welcome to contact us for a free health analysis. Just call 408-733-0400.

We are a destination clinic, meaning that we treat patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live locally to receive assistance.

Please share this information with those you know. It’s certainly not ‘dinner table’ discussion, but it’s extremely important for overall health and many who are suffering either don’t know it’s abnormal, or they don’t know that it’s correctable without dangerous drugs.
I look forward to hearing your questions.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN

Friday, May 24, 2013

Autoimmune Disease & Celiac – What You Need to Know

Autoimmune disease is an odd phenomenon. The body’s immune system is designed to attack foreign invaders such as bacteria and cancer cells. But in autoimmune disease the immune system ‘decides’ to attack the body itself.

What types of diseases fall under the autoimmune umbrella? Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid and liver disease, Sjogren’s, M.S., Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, celiac disease, DH (the skin condition associated with celiac disease), fibromyalgia and many more, totaling about 100 diseases in all.

Their frequency, once thought to be uncommon, has risen to a degree that autoimmune diseases, taken as a whole, are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Their incidence has doubled every 15 years for the past 75 years, with no signs of slowing down.

The genetic component associated with autoimmune disease does not explain its increased frequency, so experts are looking to the environment as a source of the sudden rise. One area that has shown promise is the health of the small intestine. As the gateway to the body, a healthy small intestine should prevent any inhospitable substances or organisms from entering the bloodstream.

Early work by Dr Fasano on type I diabetic rats and small intestine integrity, revealed that a full 2/3 of rats inbred to develop type I diabetes did not do so when their small intestines were optimized in function.
Subsequently more research has supported this premise and the ill health of the small intestine is acknowledged to be a likely culprit in the development of at least some autoimmune diseases.

When does gluten enter the picture? Gluten, in intolerant individuals, is known to create the irritation to the lining of the small intestine that in turn creates easy passageway for toxins and organisms to gain access to the bloodstream. This phenomenon is known as a leaky gut. Also, a gluten intolerance is known to weaken the ‘good’ organisms of the gut, the probiotics, that are responsible for keeping bad genes turned off. They provide this function quite well when they themselves are robust and healthy, but once their numbers and strength become compromised, so too does their ability to keep bad genes from expressing disease. The result? The gene flips ‘on’ and the body develops the disease.

Is gluten intolerance or celiac disease the cause of EVERY autoimmune disease? Not likely. But it does seem to be a contributing factor in some. Other autoimmune diseases have an infectious component, but when you think of why the immune system didn't or couldn't handle the initial infection, you are brought back to WHY it was weakened. That reason could lie in a history of medications, a poor diet, toxic overload or a food intolerance. These are the issues we address when trying to normalize an overburdened immune system and the reason we feel that we see the success rate that we do.

A study just released several days ago from Current Allergy and Asthma Reports reviewed the association between celiac and other autoimmune diseases as well as the impact of a gluten-free diet. The diseases most closely associated with celiac are autoimmune thyroid disease, autoimmune liver disease, type I diabetes, DH, Sjogren's and psoriasis.

Correlation between a gluten-free diet and autoimmune disease was cited in a study of celiac patients who also suffered from either type I diabetes or autoimmune thyroid disease. After 2 years on a gluten-free diet all antibodies for the diseases abated. Antibodies, you may remember, measure autoimmune activity and in this study they were no longer found to be active once these patients eliminated gluten from their diet!
Another study of over 900 celiac patients found that those compliant on their gluten-free diet had much lower incidence of autoimmune disease than their non-compliant counterparts.

Finally, a study evaluating autoimmune liver disease in celiacs saw complete reversal of the liver disease in both adults and children who followed a gluten-free diet.

So, there definitely seems to be some correlation between eliminating gluten in those with gluten intolerance and reversal of specific autoimmune diseases.

Does everyone who is diagnosed with those autoimmune diseases receive advice to be checked for gluten intolerance? I would bet the answer is no, but it should be a resounding ‘yes’.

Please spread the word. It’s been fairly well established that the increased incidence of autoimmune disease does have an environmental component. And at least for some, that component is diet-related, specifically gluten. It certainly does no harm to check if gluten is a contributing factor, and as you can see in the research findings above, it could provide a great deal of help.

If you know of someone suffering with autoimmune disease or you yourself suffer or have family members that do, consider calling us for a free health analysis. (call 408-733-0400) We are here to help!
Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live locally to receive assistance.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Gluten Doctor of the Year 2013

J. Denham, I. Hill, Celiac Disease and Autoimmunity: Review and Controversies, Current Allergy and Asthma Reports , 17 May 2013
Cosnes J et al. Incidence of autoimmune diseases in celiac disease: protective effect of the gluten-free diet. Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2008;6(7):753–8.

Ventura A et al. Gluten-dependent diabetes-related and thyroid-related autoantibodies in patients with celiac disease. Journal of Pediatrics. 2000;137(2):263–5. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Are Gluten-Free Grains Contaminated?

Personally I hate doom and gloom titles to blogs. I think it’s overdone and truly I like to take the high road if I can. But this one, we’ve just got to look at. Ok? Here we go:

New research from Dr Fasano and a team of others was recently published in BMC Gastroenterology. The title of the article is “Trace gluten contamination may play a role in mucosal and clinical recovery in a subgroup of diet-adherent non-responsive celiac disease patients”. The title is a mouthful, but basically the researchers were curious about a subgroup of celiac that fall into the category of non-responsive celiacs. These patients continue to have symptoms despite a strict gluten-free diet and some continue to show villous atrophy as well.

Within the group of non-responsive celiac disease is a smaller, though more serious condition, called refractory celiac disease. This condition involves such a lack of healing that patients are put on immunosuppressive drugs to try to suppress the damage the immune system is creating. These drugs are quite dangerous, increasing one’s risk of life-threatening infections while increasing cancer risk. Obviously these are conditions we all want to avoid. And what if avoiding them was pretty simple?

As a side note, I’d like to say that I’m grateful to these researchers for the work they've done. I've long thought that both non-responsive and refractory celiac disease were likely quite treatable, without the use of dangerous medications. Here at HealthNOW we have found that to be true. We have rarely had a patient whose ‘seemingly’ refractory or non-responsive celiac disease was not improved with our program. So while we've had suspicions, there was no research to had to support what we have seen clinically – until now that is!

But, back to the research… This group took 17 patients with diagnosed non-responsive celiac disease, 6 of whom had the dangerous refractory type. All patients met with a dietitian who confirmed that they were strictly avoiding gluten in their diet.

The hypothesis was that gluten contamination was potentially to blame for their continued symptoms and, for some, lack of healing of their small intestine. The researchers created a gluten contamination elimination diet. (See table below for the specifics.)

The diet, that excludes all grains other than rice, came about in part from a startling discovery that 32% of all single ingredient gluten-free grains, flours and seeds were contaminated with gluten! Not good. It is thought that the contamination likely occurred during the course of milling, processing and/or transport. The exact ‘how’ remains unknown, but the facts are that it did occur, and that’s a problem.

Is it a problem for everyone? Hard to know. The researchers claim that most celiacs can safely tolerate about 10 mg of gluten cross-contamination daily.  This is about 500 grams of food containing 20 ppm of gluten, the legal limit whereby a food can be labeled gluten-free. While the immune system’s of some patients can sustain that amount of gluten, others clearly cannot. And certainly there are many patients who are unable to tolerate even low gluten exposure without negative ramifications.

The gluten contamination elimination diet, removed grains understandable, but it also removed processed food. The thought is that the more highly processed a food, the more likely contamination occurs. Their hypothesis must have been correct, because here are the results:
Of the 17 total patients evaluated, 14 ‘responded’ to the diet, which was an 82% success rate. The definition of ‘responded’ was a strict one – it meant that the patient had no further symptoms and was no longer suffering from villous atrophy (if the test was performed). Excellent result!
But even more impressive was this fact. At the beginning of the study, 6 patients were diagnosed and met the criteria for refractory celiac disease. After following the diet, 5 of these 6 patients were completely symptom-free and no longer met the criteria for that serious condition. Therefore, out of 6 dangerously ill patients, only 1 did not respond. That means that a mere 17% of the initial 100% diagnosed with the disease actually had it after following the diet. It also means that 83% of those patients were needlessly being given immunosuppressive drugs.
What was also exciting was the finding that 79% of the entire group evaluated was, after a 3 to 6 month period following the diet, were able to return to their ‘regular’, non-restricted gluten-free diet and maintain their lack of symptoms. The researchers felt that the 3 to 6 month period was enough time to ‘heal’ the immune system such that its ability to tolerate some cross-contamination improved.

I would like to add that evaluating these patients for the secondary effects of gluten, including infections, probiotic insufficiency, cross-reactive foods, toxins, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance, would also be a good idea. I’m curious how many of these patients may have regressed again after a passage of several months back on their processed food diet. This is a time frame we find that our patients, who have done well gluten-free, but who have not been evaluated for the secondary effects, tend to again become symptomatic.
Do you know anyone who seems ‘ultra’ sensitive to gluten contamination? Do you know anyone who seems to react to foods that are ‘gluten-free’? Perhaps you know someone who has been diagnosed with non-responsive celiac or refractory celiac disease. If so, please do pass this information along to them. You could truly make an impact on their health.
If your health, or that of a friend or loved one, is not at the level you desire, consider contacting us for a free health analysis. Just give us a call at 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, so you don’t need to live locally to receive assistance. We are here to help!

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance: What you don’t know may be killing you!”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Are Migraines a Predictor of Celiac Disease?

According to a research study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, if you have celiac disease, you’re more than twice as likely to have migraines than the normal population. If you have gluten sensitivity, you’re more than four times likely to suffer with debilitating migraines. The researchers also looked at those suffering with IBD, inflammatory bowel disease, and found them a little over one and half times more likely to suffer migraines.

Migraine intensity seemed to also be positively associated with gluten intolerance. Seventy-two percent of celiac stated that they suffered from migraines that were severe in impact, as did sixty percent of those suffering from gluten sensitivity. Of those suffering with IBD, only thirty percent ranked their migraines in the severe category.

When we consider that ninety-five percent of all celiacs remain undiagnosed and likely ninety-nine percents of all those suffering from gluten sensitivity, any assistance in improving those abysmal percentages is data well worth knowing.

What this study reveals is that the symptom of migraine could very well be a red-flag for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Imagine if doctors whose patients complained of migraines were regularly screened for gluten intolerance? Would our percentage of diagnosis improve? It seems likely that it would.
One thing that did concern me was the researchers found that the number of years on a gluten-free diet had no influence on the severity of the migraines suffered. For me that is unacceptable. It is rare in my clinic that we don’t resolve migraines. I agree, that a food sensitivity, frequently gluten, is a trigger. But more must be done and this study clearly demonstrates that.

We once again find ourselves in the arena of Secondary Effects. If not addressed, these Secondary Effects of gluten will perpetuate a weakened immune system, leaky gut, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance – to name a few. When these factors persist, so will the migraines, in the majority of cases.
The take away from this study was two-fold for me. One facet being positive, while the other was decidedly negative.
1.      Patients suffering from migraines should be evaluated for gluten intolerance as they suffer from the symptom, vastly more often than does the general population of sufferers.
2.      One the negative side, those removing gluten from their diet, continued to suffer from migraines. Based on my clinical experience, this is due to improper treatment of the Secondary Effects of gluten. The facts are that we see many very serious migraine cases and our success rate is quite excellent. We attribute that to diagnosing not only any food sensitivities, but also proper evaluation of the Secondary Effects as mentioned above.

Many individuals suffer from debilitating migraines. I was one, actually and so was my mother. When I developed migraines in my teenage years I was told that I had them because my mother did. Not a very encouraging statement! After all, I couldn't change my genes… or could I? In fact, I found that what my mother and I both shared was a gluten intolerance. And yes, secondary to that intolerance were some infections, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance. And guess what? When I fixed those things I NEVER had another migraine – never. And when I fixed them in my mother, she NEVER had another migraine.

I understand migraines, therefore, personally as well as professionally. They are definitely no fun and I urge you to pass this post along to anyone you know who suffers.

We are always here to answer questions and assist where needed. Anyone interested can call us for a free health analysis as well – call 408-733-0400.

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live locally to receive help.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance: What you don’t know may be killing you!”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why You Can’t Stop with Just a Gluten-free Diet

The two major issues we have regarding gluten in this country are:

1.      We are terrible at diagnosing celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Over 95-97% of those with celiac disease continue to suffer, with the number likely being much higher for gluten sensitivity.
2.      When we finally DO diagnose either condition, the only treatment we offer is a gluten-free diet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the only place to START is definitely with a strict gluten-free diet. What I take issue with is that being the ONLY recommendation.

Witness this comment from the mother of a child with celiac disease:
My 19 month old son was diagnosed with celiac in September 2012 at 13 months.  I nursed him until 16 months when he self-weaned (too busy chasing his big brothers.)  At the time of his diagnosis, his AST and ALT were quite high [these are liver enzymes].  We immediately went gluten free and his symptoms were better within 36 hours.  He's been happily gluten free since Sept 2012.  He has no real health issues since going gluten free, other than dry skin and mild rashes that a lot of celiacs experience even when off gluten.

Fast forward six months when we had his enzyme levels checked again this month.  His ALT and AST were worse.  The pediatric gastro had him tested for multiple things.  Thus far, everything has come back negative, except the HLA molecular test for Celiac and lymphoma [a genetic test]. 

Let’s analyze this. Here we have a small child barely 2 years old with celiac disease. His mom says that ‘all’ his symptoms disappeared when beginning a gluten-free diet, except his dry skin and rashes, which she states that “a lot of celiacs experience”. What is concerning is elevated liver enzymes, showing some liver damage that is actually worsening despite a gluten-free diet.
Here’s my take on it:

1.      It’s great that most symptoms improved but one cannot ignore the skin issues. Why? Because the skin is a reflection of colon health and his continuing skin issues mean that his gut isn’t healed – yes, he likely has a leaky gut.
2.      What’s showing on the outside (his skin), is likely also being demonstrated on the inside (his liver). When a leaky gut persists, any autoimmune type reaction that occurred while the person was eating gluten can persist despite no gluten being ingested. Why? Because the immune system is on an ‘auto-destruct’, which is what autoimmune disease is.
3.      What needs to be done is to heal the gut and normalize the immune system. This child could have infections in his gut that are migrating out through the leaky gut into the bloodstream and affecting his liver. Or, the immune system could just be continuing the liver ‘auto-destruct’ message that is originally received from gluten, but is now continuing because the leaky gut continues.
4.      Another option is that the child is eating foods that are cross-reactive to gluten and that is continuing the autoimmune tendency. Finally, the child could also have a sensitivity to dairy products which is known to be highly anti-inflammatory.

The great news is that the child has been testing extensively and all the ‘scary’ diseases have been ruled out. Now we could just move forward with the above, very easy treatment, to truly reverse the situation before it becomes permanent and the child is left with a malfunctioning liver.

I hope this makes sense. It frustrates me no end that the secondary effects of gluten are not addressed more routinely. It could definitely save patients from many chronic diseases.

If you know someone who is gluten-free but is still not enjoying good health, please share this with them. We would also be happy to offer them a free health analysis – call 408-733-0400.

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, we are here to help!

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance: What you don’t know could be killing you!”

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Genesis of Disease – Does Gluten Cause Everything?

While I’m sometimes accused of being a little ‘gluten crazy’, I don’t think that gluten is the root of ALL evil when it comes to the development of disease.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however – the damage that gluten creates in the small intestine and to the immune system (not to mention the nervous system) can initiate inflammation that we now understand IS the initiator of most degenerative disease – think cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this past week. It turns out that he was diagnosed with a fatty liver about 15 years ago. Two years ago we diagnosed him as gluten sensitive. The medical professional who diagnosed him with fatty liver told him not to drink to excess – period. This gentleman doesn't drink to excess. If the doctor had delved into this at all, he would have discovered that a man in his late 30s had a very stressed liver that was NOT due to alcohol.

But no such question was asked, no such analysis was done, and my friend just continued to be told each and every year at his annual physical – “You have a fatty liver.” He never thought to mention it to me and he never thought anything could or should be done about it.

Fast forward to present time and he’s in his early 50s and now has a severe disease – type 2 diabetes.
In hindsight he believes that he’s been gluten sensitive for a long time. We know that gluten can put stress on the liver, so that makes sense. He’s also a ‘macho’ kind of guy with a very ‘macho’ job and ‘fast food’ goes with the whole persona. He now knows that hasn't been his friend and he’s done quite an ‘about face’ on his food ingestion.

What’s missing in this picture is follow-through. I basically ‘hounded’ him to take a lab test wherein we found his gluten sensitivity, but I haven’t seen much of him since. He’s ‘too busy’. And now we have a scary diabetes diagnosis.

Is it too late for him? Not at all. Reversal of type 2 diabetes is not difficult IF the patient is compliant – not something I’m totally convinced of in this case… sadly. But what must be done? Interestingly, the treatment for diabetes isn't all that different from heart disease or many other degenerative diseases.

The first step is to identify and remove stressors from the system, including:

·         food intolerances – e.g. gluten, dairy, corn, soy
·         the presence of pathogens or infections in the small intestine
·         poor probiotic balance
·         hormonal imbalance
·         the standard American diet
·         the need for enzymes to digest food properly
·         presence of other toxins or heavy metals
·         etc.

The second step is to engage on a weight loss and fitness program to optimize fat burning and gain core support so that the body enjoys moving and exercising.

Once the big steps are completed, now the refinement can occur. Whether it’s genetic tendencies that must be countered or stress loads that must be managed, a successful program will address the individual patient and ensure the program is completely successful in reversing, if not stabilizing, the disease process.

Is gluten the cause of all evil? No, but it’s interesting how big a role food intolerances such as gluten and dairy do play in the damage commonly seen in so many degenerative diseases. Have I ever seen a patient with a degenerative disease who required no dietary changes in order to optimize his or her health? The answer is ‘No’, not once.

I hope this information was helpful.

Do you suffer from a degenerative disease? Do you know someone who does? Are you tired of taking medication that only ‘manages’ your symptoms, rather than offering you reversal and stabilization of your condition? If you want more answers, consider calling us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400 -we’re here to help!

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, so you don’t need to live locally to receive assistance.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”

Monday, January 28, 2013

‘Altered’ Wheat Flour Tolerated by Celiacs

The dream of being able to eat wheat with impunity (no harm occurring), is one everyone with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity shares. Will it ever become a reality? Personally, I’m not sure, but it is exciting to hear about developing research in the area.

Recently the journal of Clinical & Developmental Immunology published an article entitled, “Reintroduction of Gluten Following Flour Transamidation in Adult Celiac Patients: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Study”. Let’s define that word ‘transamidation’ – it simply means the process of transferring an amide group from one molecule to another. An amide group contains carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen and it’s found in gluten.

In the study, a total of 47 celiacs who were following a gluten-free diet and doing well, were put into two groups. The control group consisted of 12 individuals who were fed traditional gluten-containing wheat flour. The other 35 celiacs made up the experimental group who were fed the transamidated wheat flour.

The results were as follows:

Fifteen days after the start of the study, a full 75% of the control group (eating gluten) had a clinical relapse. They had symptoms return and their blood work showed inflammation consistent with damage caused by gluten. The experimental group however, showed a 37% relapse, less than half of that seen in the control.

Ninety days into the study, 100% of the control group had relapsed. Certainly not a surprising result considering a known celiac is receiving gluten on a daily basis. Perhaps the only surprise is that it took that long for everyone to react. However, the experimental group fared much better. At the end of 90 days only 60% of them had relapsed.

Obviously this is a far from perfect outcome and I would never recommend to anyone that they consume such a flour, even if it was commercially available, which it is not. But having a full 40% of known celiacs consume this flour for 90 days with no perceptible reaction IS a nice step towards our dream of a less restricted diet.

The problem, of course, is being able to know in advance, who would tolerate this flour well. Further, what would happen if the test had continued for up to 6 months? Would more reactions be seen?

What about autoimmune reactions that can be silent for many years? Would this deamidated flour cause changes at that level, silently moving people towards autoimmune disease?

I would certainly want to know the answers to all these questions should the day come when such a flour became available for general consumption.

We are not yet at that point, but it’s interesting to contemplate should the day arise.
In the interim, we can enjoy our healthy, gluten-free diets and know that we are not playing Russian roulette with our health.

Please let me know if you have any questions. If your health is less than ideal, consider calling us for a free health analysis. Call 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live locally to receive help.
I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”

“Reintroduction of Gluten Following Flour Transamidation in Adult Celiac Patients: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Study”.
Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 329150, 10 pages
Mazzarella et al.