Celiac and Other Autoimmune Diseases Benefit from Low Inflammation Diet
Oct 30, 2014 12:14PM
● By Betty Wedman-St Louis, Ph.D.
In 2005 the National Institute of Health indicated more than 23 million Americans suffered from autoimmune disease. Today, the projection is 30 million who experience extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, muscle weakness, sleeplessness, weight loss or gain, and memory problems as symptoms of autoimmune disorders.
Celiac disease has gotten the most attention in antibody research but the current data on cross-reactivity of antibodies is allowing a better understanding of gluten sensitivity. Antigen reactivity to alpha gliadin can trigger immune attacks on many individuals beyond those with positive DQ 2, DQ 8 and TTG test results.
Gluten ataxia has been identified not only in people with celiac disease but autism, lupus and multiple sclerosis. The lack of muscle control for movement, speech, eye coordination and swallowing can now be assessed in most autoimmune disorders.
Gliadin reacts with foods and human tissue antigens causing symptoms beyond the gastro-intestinal tract. A low inflammatory diet customized to each person through testing for cross-reactivity or elimination diet protocols is needed to restore a state of health and well-being. (“Low Inflammation Diet” and “Food Elimination Diets” publications are available for purchase at the author’s website, Betty-Wedman-StLouis.com.)
According to Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroimmunology at Carrick Institute, and Chief Science Advisor for Cyrex Labs, about 50 percent of gluten-sensitive individuals are also sensitive to dairy proteins (cows’ milk, casein, whey), and sensitivity to oats depends on the variety of the grain, not just contamination from the milling process.
In the author’s personal experience, a gluten-free diet has many limitations. The reactivity between alpha gliadin and corn, millet, oats, rice and dairy was denounced as invalid by gastroenterologists and celiac disease researchers. While at a medical school in Missouri, biopsies did not show improvement in villous atrophy until all alpha gliadin sources and corn, millet, rice and oats were removed from the diet.
Intestinal permeability or leaky gut allows antigens into the blood stream, including food proteins, pathogens and toxic chemicals which cause inflammation. Continuous antigen exposure to tissues and organs is a factor in developing autoimmune disorders. Symptoms develop silently in the gut, joints and endocrine glands for several years. Tissue destruction with T and B lymphocyte reactions are a warning that autoimmune issues are developing during the next five to ten year period until immunosuppressive drugs like corticosteroids are needed.
To reduce the triggers to autoimmune diseases early, nutrition and lifestyle habits need adjusting. A gluten-free diet may seem easier today than ten years ago but current regulations allow up to 20 ppm gluten to be labeled “gluten-free”. Many gliadin and cross-reactive proteins are most likely still available to create inflammatory symptoms.
Assessing viral activity is key to managing autoimmune disease symptoms. Viral panels for EBV, Lyme, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, CMV are available. Nutrition management of viral load is critical for the person with celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases.
Reducing toxic chemicals is just as important as omitting gluten. Plastics like bisphenol A, heavy metals, pesticide residues, and solvents all create inflammation. Water filtration devices that remove fluoride, heavy metals and pathogens plus stainless steel water bottles could reduce the body burden of chemicals that influence digestive function, joint movement, and immune well-being.
Dr. Wedman-St Louis holds nutrition classes the first Thursday of every month, 6 p.m., at Peaks of Health Metabolic Medical Center. Upcoming topics include, November 6: Food Frauds throughout the Supermarket and How to Be a Wiser Shopper; December 4: Digestive Wellness—Probiotics, Prebiotics, Good Yeast vs Bad Yeast; Why GMO Foods can Destroy Your Health. Classes are open to the public and free of charge.
Betty Wedman-St Louis, Ph.D., RD, LD, is a Licensed Nutritionist and Environmental Health Specialist, specializing in Functional Medicine Nutrition, Diabetes and GI disorders. She can be reached at Peaks of Health Metabolic Medical Center, 7600 Bryan Dairy Road, Largo, 727-826-0838.
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