Sunday, August 28, 2011

Help and encouragement for those starting a grain free or GAPS diet

 Over at  the Healthy Home Economist, Sarah shares some really good links to grain free recipes. Her enthusiasm for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet is infectious. If you've been reading my blog, you know I am convinced it is the way to heal : all other modalities are added to this foundation. I hope you enjoy her blog.

In the meantime, I thought I would get everyone’s enthusiasm going for the life changing, autoimmune healing power of following the GAPS Diet (by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD) by posting a few of my favorite GAPS friendly recipes from around the Real Food blogosphere from this past week.
Be not intimidated nor discouraged!   For the vast majority of people,  GAPS is not a forever way of eating – it is a temporary measure (6 months – 3 years on average) to heal one’s gut from years of abuse by processed foods, pharmaceuticals and other bodily insults so that digestion proceeds smoothly once again.

Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins
Perfection is also not required.   If you follow GAPS the vast majority of the time and really give it your best shot, you will be astounded how your digestive health will rebound and those autoimmune issues will slide into remission.    Poor gut health = autoimmune disease?    Yes, this is the crux of it.
The good news is that you can enjoy delicious real food using grain free flour from seeds and nuts that will delight and titillate your family’s taste buds.    Here are some Real Food recipes to get the creative juices flowing in your kitchen:
From The Coconut Mama, grain free coconut cupcakes.    Great for a kid’s birthday party!
From Cheeseslave, coconut flour recipes.   I just made the coconut flour pancakes this weekend for breakfast and the family LOVED them!
From Divine Health, grain free zucchini bread.    Who said eating grain free was hard with recipes like this?!
From Health, Home, and Happiness, grain free crackers.    A healthy addition to any child’s lunchbox.
From Food Renegade, almond flour banana bread.     The almond flavor goes soooo well with the ripe bananas.
I hope you find these recipes inspirational and a nice change from the run of the mill grain based versions (pun definitely intended)!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 diseases associated with celiac disease that result from nutrient deficiencies

If you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease and you have symptoms like fatigue, lethargy, poor balance, sores in the corners of your mouth, depression, bleeding gums, muscle cramps, skin rashes, sun sensitivity, and decreased energy on a regular basis you may have nutritional deficiencies.

 If you are a physician and you have a patient with chronic symptoms think about nutrient deficiencies. Think about pellagra, beriberi, rickets, scurvy and night blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency in well nourished celiac/gluten sensitive persons is caused by poor absorption of fats, which would include carotenes and fat soluble vitamins (like vitamin A, D, E, and K). And caused by poor conversion of what carotene there is to vitamin A. It is treated with animal sourced foods such as eggs and liver that contain pre-formed vitamin A or vitamin A supplements. And digestive enzymes.

The best diet is the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet which takes these and other metabolic weirdness’s into account. 

Nutritional deficiencies are not as uncommon as you may think. I have even diagnosed scurvy in three well educated and well fed gluten sensitive individuals. You won’t find it unless you look for it.

5 Conditions that Result from Nutrient Deficiencies Celiac disease can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Since your damaged small intestine restricts nutrient absorption and the gluten free diet reduces your chance of getting many nutrients, you’re at high risk.It’s important that you take these nutrients seriously.
Many of you report fatigue, weakness, lethargy, and decreased energy on a regular basis. For some you, even daily.
When you look at what specific nutrients do, in particular the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D, you learn why these symptoms are common.

Below, I’ll talk about five diseases that are caused by nutrient deficiencies – opposed to celiac disease, which causes nutrient deficiencies.
While your celiac doesn’t put you at risk for any of the following diseases, you’ll see why each nutrient deficiency needs attention.
Nutrient deficiencies are not one broad concept – each deficiency is its own, a part that fits into the big picture problem. My purpose here is to show you how serious each deficiency is.
By understanding the symptoms each of these deficiencies causes, you’ll also understand why you may experience common celiac symptoms.
  1. Pellagra – This disease is caused by niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency, and can be extremely serious if left untreated. Pellagra causes weakness, skin sensitivity to sunlight, skin lesions, and various digestive issues. Skin lesions can cover the body, so it severely affects your appearance. To reduce your risk of niacin deficiency, regularly eat foods like tuna, salmon, and ground beef, or snack on peanuts daily.

  1. Scurvy – Scurvy is a direct result of vitamin C deficiency. Humans do not have the enzyme to make vitamin C, so it’s a vitamin you must get through diet or supplementation. Scurvy usually begins with fatigue and lethargy, and it can become much more serious. The most serious symptom related to celiac is that it can result in bleeding in the mucous membranes, which line internal organs like your small intestine. This further reduces nutrient absorption. Scurvy is both prevented and treated with vitamin C, so avoiding it is simple (not easy, simple). The best source of vitamin C is citrus fruits like oranges and lemons (this includes orange juice or lemon juice). Other fruits and vegetables like kiwi, strawberries, carrots, broccoli, and spinach are good options as well.

  1. Beriberi – Directly caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency, beriberi is a serious burden on your nervous system. Thiamine deficiency is more prevalent in developing countries since foods aren’t fortified with thiamine, but on a gluten free diet you don’t eat these foods. The best sources of thiamine in the American diet are processed flour, mandated in the US to be enriched with thiamine mononitrate, and grain cereals. Since you’re not eating either, eat flax, asparagus, pork, and eggs – four naturally gluten free foods high in thiamine. Beriberi usually causes weakness, fatigue, and lethargy, all symptoms that many celiacs struggle to overcome.
Read about rickets and night blindness and more here…………….

Monday, August 15, 2011

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease lowers medical costs

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease lowers medical costs, by an average of US $1,764 per year and will likely benefit patients and health care providers alike, so a team at Mayo clinic determined. They also commented that costs associated with celiac disease pose a significant economic burden, but most startling was the economic burden especially for men with the disease.

The obvious conclusion is that we should increase testing for celiac disease in all but especially in men, especially in those with illness and no obvious cause.
This was reported in this week’s by Jefferson Adams.(My emphasis in bold)

To carry out their population-based cohort, the team used administrative data on celiac disease cases and matched controls from Olmsted County, Minnesota.

They compared: 1) direct medical costs one year before and one year after celiac disease diagnosis for 133 index cases and for control subjects; and 2) cumulative direct medical costs over four years for 153 index celiac cases and for control subjects. Their analysis did not include diagnostic-related and outpatient pharmaceutical costs.

They found that a diagnosis of celiac disease lowers the average total costs by $1,764 in the year following diagnosis (pre-diagnosis cost of $5,023 vs. $3,259; 95% CI of difference: $688 to $2,993).

They found also that, over a 4-year period, people with celiac disease faced an average of $1,457 in higher outpatient costs (P = 0.016), and an average of $3,964 in higher total costs of $3,964; (P = 0.053), compared with the control group.

Men with celiac disease bore the brunt of those higher costs, with excess average total costs of just over $14,000 compared to costs of $4,000 for male controls; 95% CI of difference: $2,334 to $20,309).
Costs associated with celiac disease pose a significant economic burden, especially for men with the disease.

The abstract for the research article can be found at Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Volume pages 261–269, July 2010.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dr Fasano's Insights in Scientific America: Clues to Solving Autoimmunity

Dr. Alessio Fasano, professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology at the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has been studying celiac disease and has uncovered a process that may contribute to many autoimmune disorders. He makes some interesting comments on the use of probiotics to prevent and treat celiac disease. And he says "leaky gut" in a major pathogenesis of the illnesses, especially autoimmune diseases that complicate this food borne illness.
Tina Turbin reports on Dr. Fasano's article in Scientific American:

This research into the leaky gut of celiacs can explain a question that has been perplexing researchers regarding the disease's pathogenesis: Why do some people not develop celiac disease until later in life? According to Dr. Fasano, this issue could be associated with the microbes in the digestive tract. The microbicrobial population varies among individuals and groups and even over the course of one's life.

"Apparently they can also influence which genes in their hosts are active at any given time," he says. "Hence, a person whose immune system has managed to tolerate gluten for many years might suddenly lose tolerance if the microbiome changes in a way that causes formerly quiet susceptibility genes to become active." Should this prove true, we may be able to prevent or treat celiac disease with probiotics.

Probiotics, supplements and other ways to eliminate "leaky gut" are a foundation in my treatment recommendations for people with gluten sensitivity and celiac diseases. Read Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride's book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet , for more details.