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Is Gluten Really That Bad? (Part 1/2)
August 20, 2013
Interview With Dr. Patrick Hanaway
September 3, 2013
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August 27, 2013

Case Studies
5

Is Gluten Really That Bad? (Part 2/2)

If you missed part 1, go here.

The Good News

The good news with all of this gluten business is, if you eliminate it from your diet and you’re sensitive, symptoms will get better. I have seen this many times clinically, spoken to many people who have experienced this, and the research corroborates these findings.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, subjects experienced multiple symptom relief from a gluten-free diet (see below). 1

Gluten study

Case study #1

A 61 year-old female came to see me about chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) presenting as painful gas, diarrhea, and multiple food sensitivities. Her symptoms began at the age of 25 after a trip to Guatemala where she was exposed to giardia and treated with Flagyl.  A recent trip to Peru exacerbated the symptoms, and it was noted that every time she travelled symptoms seemed to get worse. Emotional stress 2 (from travel) and exposure to foreign microorganisms 3 can both increase IBS symptoms.

We began with eliminating dairy (she mentioned a sensitivity, but was still consuming cheese), improving sleep, and introducing supportive supplementation including a probiotic.

The elimination of dairy seemed to make a difference but symptoms were still present. She tested dairy once during the first phase and had an adverse reaction.

In the second phase, a gluten-free diet was recommended due to the possibility of gluten triggering IBS symptoms. 4 5 This was a recommendation my client had never consistently followed before.

At the next follow-up, digestive symptoms had almost completely resolved. A positive side effect was that she reported not feeling “constantly hungry all of the time;” a phenomenon (of never feeling full) that is well-described in Dr. William Davis’s book Wheat Belly.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I have to admit that being gluten-free has so many benefits that it far outweighs the delight of eating breads and pastries. And as someone with an Austrian pastry chef as a grandfather and lots of training in pastry making myself, I never thought I could give pastries and breads up.”

Case Study #2

After three bowel resection surgeries to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a 60 year-old woman decided perhaps that surgery was not “curing her.” After the third resection, the surgeon told her that she was completely cured of  her Crohn’s disease and that she could now eat whatever she wanted.

At first she felt great and was happy to be able to eat foods which she previously could not  tolerate. But after two weeks the familiar digestive symptoms returned.

We began her treatment by eliminating pro-inflammatory foods such as pork, potato chips, and corn oil, restoring her nutritional deficiencies, and replacing certain digestive factors (such as bile, due to gallbladder removal at the age of 44).

Her complaint prior to any intervention had been gas, bloating, and diarrhea (5-6 times per day). With the addition of a gluten-free diet, the client noted in an email:

“I have noticed a change for the better by avoiding gluten…fewer bowel movements and little or no gas.”

She also wrote in a letter:

“After so many years of struggling with my health I can truly say this new path toward healing is very encouraging!”

It is unfortunate that over the many years this individual suffered with serious intestinal issues, no practitioner ever mentioned the connection to diet. It was her search that lead her to new information subsequently putting her on the path to healing. This is why I always suggest having a competent team as part of your health care strategy.

Final Thoughts

There’s a saying…”one man’s food is another man’s poison.” This is particularly evident here in our study on gluten. A person can be sensitive or allergic to any food, but gluten is proving to be one of the top runners for causing people all sorts of issues.

Our constant desire to try and improve upon nature is backfiring and causing consequences that are challenging to recover from.

Mother nature knows best. Let’s try and follow her rules.

– Josh

References:

  1. Biesiekierski J et. al. Am J Gastro 2011; 106 (3)508-514.
  2. Greenwood-Van Meerveld B, Gibson M, Gunter W, Shepard J, Foreman R, Myers D. Stereotaxic delivery of corticosterone to the amygdala modulates colonic sensitivity in rats. Brain research. Mar 2 2001;893(1-2):135-142.
  3. Qin HY, Wu JC, Tong XD, Sung JJ, Xu HX, Bian ZX. Systematic review of animal models of post-infectious/post-inflammatory irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of gastroenterology. Feb 2011;46(2):164-174.
  4. Verdu EF, Armstrong D, Murray JA. Between celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome: the “no man’s land” of gluten sensitivity. The American journal of gastroenterology. Jun 2009;104(6):1587-1594.
  5. Pietzak M. Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity: when gluten free is not a fad. JPEN. Journal of parenteral and enteral nutrition. Jan 2012;36(1 Suppl):68S-75S.