Gluten Sensitivity and autoimmune diseases

Gluten Sensitivity and Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, are the top health concerns of the 21st century and those afflicted growing in number every year. Autoimmune diseases are responses to systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues. Could there be a connection between food sensitivities and more notably gluten sensitivity and autoimmune diseases?

Diseases, like autoimmune diseases, are basically a group of symptoms that fit a common profile of others who suffer the same symptoms. Then it’s given a label. Having a label is fine, but it doesn’t help you with the root cause.

Food sensitivities are unlike food allergies.  Food allergies involve a histamine response to an offending food and the reaction is immediate and can be life-threatening for those with severe allergies. Food sensitivities are an immune system response to offending foods that can take up to two or three days to appear. These responses can be vague such as headaches, congestion, sinus, anxiety/depression and more.  Read more about the difference between food allergies and sensitivities here.

What Is Gluten?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is: “a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.”

There are two main proteins in gluten. They are glutenin and gliadin and gliadin is the protein that is associated with the negative effects. Ten thousand years ago, wheat was not the version of wheat we have today. Emmer and Einkorn wheat were the crops of our ancestors while Triticum wheat is used today and is thousands of genes apart from original Einkorn wheat.triticum wheat

Triticum wheat has been bred to generate a greater yield, not a nutritionally sound product. Modern Triticum wheat of today can’t even survive in the wild without human support such as fertilizers and pest control.  Can you imagine eating a plant that can only survive at the hands of man-made chemicals?  Einkorn and Emmer wheat have survived the wild and pass on their nutrition powerhouse to those who eat it.

There have never been any safety studies involving animals or humans done on the hybridization of wheat and the new genetic strains created.  Plant geneticists were so intent on creating products to increase yield to satisfy the need to relieve world hunger, that it was assumed hybridizing wheat would result in a safe product. Because after all, wheat is wheat and wheat is a food product, right?

Gluten, What’s So Bad About It?

Gluten is the protein mixture of wheat.  It’s also in barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, and triticale. Most Americans do not consume great quantities of rye, bulgar, Kamut and triticale, so for the purposes of this article wheat is the product I’m referring to when speaking about gluten. Barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, and triticale have also not been hybridized to become the ultra glutinous products that wheat has become.

Gluten is what makes wheat ‘doughy’. That stretchable, rollable, elastic and twistable substance that rice flour, corn flour or any other flour cannot achieve.  Wheat is mostly carbohydrate and only ten to fifteen percent protein, and the majority of that protein (80%) is gluten. gluten dough

People who suffer from celiac disease are suffering from the most extreme form of gluten sensitivity.  It’s actually an autoimmune disease. During World War II, a pediatric gastroenterologist from the Netherlands noticed that mortality from celiac dropped about 40% during the war and then went back to pre-war mortality after the war was over.  At that time gluten was not known to be the reason. During the war, there was no wheat available and potato starch was used for making bread and the disease went away. Babies at the time were fed only bananas when presenting with celiac symptoms. After the war, the babies were put on an elimination diet of all grains and gluten. The babies responded favorably and thus the connection between gluten and autoimmune celiac disease.

Can there be other issues and autoimmune diseases stemming from gluten sensitivities? Most certainly.

Our journey begins with the digestive tract

Our intestines are a long, windy tube roughly 15 -20 feet long and covered by a single, yes a single layer of cells that is a barrier to keep the bacteria, toxins and undigested food out of our bloodstream. This single layer of cells, a mucous layer, allows microscopically sized nutrients like single blocks of sugars, proteins, and amino acids that have been broken down through digestion to pass through to the bloodstream to use for fuel and to supply our organs with what they need.  In order to pass through this single-celled mucosal barrier, the lining is permeable with very tight junctures so only the smallest of single blocks of nutrients can pass through.

This barrier should be impermeable to anything else.  But with celiac research, it was found that the barrier’s tight junctures or ‘doors were being opened for other substances like gluten to get through triggering an immediate immune system reaction.faulty-tight-junction

How Are These ‘Doors’ Opening?

Gluten is comprised of a substance called gliadin. Gliadin triggers the release of zonulin in the body.  Zonulin is the bodies trigger to save itself from an all-out infection that it cannot handle in the digestive system by opening up the ‘doors’ in the lining of the stomach to allow the infection to flow through to be fought by the bodies immune system.  What a wonderful last-ditch effort from Mother Nature to heal the body.

Unfortunately, it was the gliadin from the gluten that triggered the zonulin that opened the doors and there was no ‘threat’ to the body.  Now we have a gluten protein in the bloodstream that the body sees as a foreign invader. You do not need to have celiac disease for this response to happen.

The phenomenon of intestinal permeability caused by gluten due to the zonulin response is called ‘Leaky Gut’. When you have leaky gut, your symptoms can be all over the map like anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue, headaches and the list goes on and on. Over time these symptoms are associated with different autoimmune diseases like MS, Parkinsons, lupus etc. Some researchers have found when zonulin levels are kept in check, diabetes is kept at bay.

Experts believe that there need to be accurate tests for zonulin levels to prevent leaky gut syndrome and keep the ‘doors’ closed.

What Can You Do Today?

The first thing you must do is eliminate gluten for at least 4 weeks completely and see how you feel.  If you feel better, you need to continue complete elimination for 4 months to start healing your stomach.

Get your vitamin D levels checked. Increased intestinal permeability has been shown with low vitamin D levels. Aim for a range of 50 to 60 on a blood test. Increase your levels with a high-quality product

Drink organic bone broth to heal the lining of the stomach.

Avoid sugar. Sugar increases the bad bacteria leading to inflammation that opens the ‘doors’ of your intestine.

Take l-glutamine to heal your stomach lining for 3 months or longer depending on need.

In Conclusion

Gluten is a protein of wheat. Wheat has undergone major hybridization over the years yielding a wheat flour with high levels of gluten. For those with celiac disease, there is no tolerance of gluten and the body undergoes a major immune response that is damaging to the intestine.

The gliadin in gluten triggers the body to make zonulin which opens the ‘doors’ of the lining of the stomach allowing molecules of food and proteins into the bloodstream that should never be there. The body responds to these ‘threats’ as foreign invaders and can develop symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, depression, anxiety and more.  Over time autoimmune diseases can be diagnosed.

Take steps as outlined above to reduce your exposure to wheat and gluten and heal your stomach from the damaging effects of zonulin in the body in response to gluten.

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2

Linda is a Functional Health Coach

Causes Colic in Babies

What Causes Colic In Babies

Babies 3 months and younger can experience colic, a condition where the abdomen is hardened and causes pain. The pain results in chronic crying and can be challenging for parents to alleviate symptoms. There may be numerous reasons for baby colic and it can be difficult to identify the culprit(s). A baby cannot tell us what is going on, unfortunately!  This article will address what causes colic in babies and some natural remedies that will help you and your baby to get much-needed relief!

Some common culprits for colic in infants could be allergies to milk or formula. The infant may have food allergies from the food the mother is eating. 

How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Colic?

  • Your baby cries for 3 hours a day and,
  • Cries for at least 3 days a week and,
  • Cries for 3 consecutive weeks

These are a pretty good indicator that your baby is suffering from colic.

What are some other symptoms to look for?

  • Intense crying episodes that follow predictable patterns on a daily basis.
  • Your baby’s crying is inconsolable and doesn’t seem to have a trigger.
  • Your baby may arch their back, clench their fists and make other unusual posture changes.
  • Your baby may recoil at your touch.

Possible Causes Of Colic

  1. Formula – formula fed babies may have a milk intolerance. Switch to a coconut or goat based formula or try a pre digested milk protein formula. Soy formulas should be the last resort. And stay away from any formula containing chemicals or other unknown ingredients.
  2. Mother’s diet – Your baby may be reacting to the food you are eating. If your diet includes moderate amounts of dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts or caffeine try cutting back or even better, eliminating these foods while nursing.  Beans and cruciferous vegetables may be a possible cause of gas. Eliminating them may help.
  3. Baby reflux – the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus can be underdeveloped in babies. This means that undigested food and acid can back up into the esophagus causing burning and pain for your baby. When your baby projectile vomits, is underweight, refuses the breast or bottle, screams while on their back or arches their back as in pain, baby reflux may be the problem.
  4. Parental anxiety – Some babies react to the nervousness of the parents. Make sure you are getting some rest and creating a calm environment for yourself. Mom’s and Dad’s need to take care of themselves both physically and mentally.parental anxiety baby
  5. Anatomical feeding issues – some babies may not be latching on to the breast correctly, they could be lip-tied or tongue-tied.  You may want to consult with a lactation specialist to rule out feeding issues.
  6. Other issues – Some experts blame colic on an immature digestive tract, possible allergies, a developing brain/neurological system or some think it may be due to a baby being overly and easily stimulated.

As you can see, there are many possible reasons for colic that may involve trial and error.  I believe parents know their children best and if you feel that something is wrong, never feel embarrassed to ask for more testing or get the advice of experts. Some parents try chiropractic care for their colicky babies and they find great relief.

Using your own intuition with your baby is important. For example, you may feel in your gut that your baby is having problems latching on and could be hungry. In that case seeking out a lactation expert would be the way to go.

Natural Remedies

  1. For the mother; eat more cooked or steamed vegetables. Consuming these foods tends to reduce gas and bloating in infants.
  2. An elimination diet excluding the foods corn, peanuts, gluten, milk, beans, caffeine, and soy.
  3. Swaddling is a great way to soothe a baby and to help them sleep for longer periods of time. You can try infant swings or wear a baby carrier around your chest.  Infant massage can help. baby massage
  4. Calming herbal teas such as chamomile or lemon balm can be added to the babies formula to help calm according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  5. Probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal health in infants. These probiotics feed the good bacteria which can help digestion.

Try Klaire Labs Therabiotic Infant formula:

 

Or Renew Life Ulitmate Flora:

In Conclusion,

Infant colic is a frustrating and upsetting condition for parent and uncomfortable and painful for your baby.  Finding the cause of your babies colic is important.

Colic is usually suspected when there is uninterrupted crying for hours that continues for weeks. Your baby may be underweight and scream while on their back, projectile vomit after feeding or make posture contortions as if in pain.  

There could be other more serious reasons for babies to cry non-stop like ear infections or other illnesses that need to be ruled out before colic is suspected and treated for.

Some simple remedies are probiotics, calming teas, and relaxing activities. An elimination diet for the mom avoiding trigger foods is recommended. 

Please leave a comment, I enjoy hearing from my readers.

Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2

Food Allergy vs Sensitivity

Food Allergy vs Intolerance

Many people do not know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance or sensitivity. Food allergies are quite rare thankfully as they can be life threatening.  Food intolerances are milder and hard to pinpoint, although their effects are troublesome and many times attributed to other things and possibly sometimes as diseases.  I hope after reading this article you will know the difference between food allergy vs intolerance, so you can start your healing journey.

Food sensitivities and food allergies are not digestive issues. People erroneously believe that the stomach is implicated with sensitivities and allergies. Food sensitivities and food allergies are immune system reactions.

Our spleen is responsible for characterizing threats to the human body and send out the white blood cells needed to deal with the threat.  Most threats are handled quickly and efficiently by our immune system.  With food allergy and intolerance, the immune system is confusing some foods as foreign invaders.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH A FOOD ALLERGY?

Our immune system reacts to a certain food as a threat and creates a histamine response that can be life-threatening.  Food allergies are more common in young children, but adults can acquire a food allergy at any time.

Symptoms of a food allergy can be mild to severe. Reactions to the specific food can range in severity. One exposure may trigger a mild reaction and the next can be severe, so avoiding the food altogether is the only solution unless under the care of a qualified allergy specialist.

The most severe type of allergic food reaction is called anaphylaxis which is a life threatening condition. This type of reaction can come on within minutes and can be fatal.

Which brings me to my next point.  Food allergies come on sudden where there is usually no doubt what the trigger food is.

90% of most food allergies are caused by these foods:peanuts

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Typical Allergic Responses:food allergy

  • Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Tight throat, trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue, affecting the ability to talk or breathe
  • Weak pulse
  • Pale or blue coloring of skin
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening condition.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH FOOD SENSITIVITIES/INTOLERANCE?

Food sensitivities or intolerances are used interchangeably, but there is no difference in meaning.  Food sensitivities can take days to appear and their symptoms can be many things. Food sensitivities do not trigger a histamine reaction like food allergies, so none of the reactions listed for allergy above will be the same for a sensitivity/intolerance.  There is an immune system reaction however due to the body believing the offending food to be a threat.

People have a hard time believing that a food sensitivity can take so long to appear because they confuse sensitivities with allergies.  Again, allergies take seconds to minutes to appear, and food sensitivities can take days.

Because a food sensitivity can take days to appear, it is often very difficult to know what the trigger food is. If you suffer from any of the below, it’s time to take food sensitivity seriously.

  • Chronic headaches/migraineheadaches
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain/arthritis
  • Bloating
  • Excema
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Post nasal drip
  • Tight muscles
  • Canker sores
  • Heart racing
  • IBS
How To Determine If You Have A Food Sensitivity/Intolerance

Elimination Diet – Is the gold standard in determining if you suffer from food sensitivities.  The best way to do an elimination diet is to work with a qualified practitioner to keep you accountable and to make sure you are completely eliminating the food. Food labels can be confusing to read and misleading, a professional knows what to avoid. But you can surely do it yourself as long as you understand how to do it. I recommend this program to start you off.  Always do an elimination for a period of 4 weeks with no more than 2 two foods at a time with 100 percent cold turkey elimination. Absolutely no cheating. Then introduce one food at a time back leaving a couple of days before introducing the next.

IgG or IgG4 Food Testing – No blood test is completely accurate when determining food sensitivities. The body has many ways in which it can react to food and some do not include antibodies.  But food testing is a great way to find out those foods that you have a high reaction too. A total IgG food antibody panel is essentially measuring when the immune system is reacting to a common (and perhaps quite healthy!) food as though it were a foreign invader. You can order your own blood tests here.

There are other blood tests available that measure IgE and IgA.  These tests are not necessary for basic food sensitivity answers.life extension food sensitivity test

You Have A Food Sensitivity, Now What?

When your test results come back and you find you are sensitive to a couple of foods or maybe even many foods, what is the next step?  Eliminating the food(s) is obvious but is there anything else you can do and do you have to eliminate the food forever?  Yes, there are ways you can heal your gut and as a result, heal your sensitivities.  Food sensitivities are not forever. Once you heal, you can add the offending foods back in if desired.

Healing your gut involves healing the lining of your stomach. The lining of your gut can become inflamed due to medicines, food sensitivities, bacteria overgrowth among other reasons. When the lining is inflamed or irritated, the tight junctures of the lining become less tight and as a result, it allows big particles of food and other substances to get into the bloodstream where there is an immune system reaction. This is called Leaky Gut or Increased Intestinal Permeability. Nothing other than nutrients and tiny particles should be passing through the gut and into the bloodstream.

Supplements to heal the gut:

The supplements listed below should be taken in order to heal intestinal permeability and recover from food sensitivities.

  1. Vitamin D. The first step is to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimum. Sub optimum or a deficiency in D causes intestinal permeability.
  2. L-Glutamine. L Glutamine has been shown in studies to heal the lining of the gut and tightening up the junctures.
  3. Probiotics. Probiotics help balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria resulting in less irritation to the lining of the stomach.
  4. Quercitin. Another supplement with healing properties for the lining of the gut.
  5. Curcumin (Meriva formula) Helps with inflammation
  6. Vitamin E

Foods To Heal The Gutbone broth

There are definitely food choices that can help to heal leaky gut.

  1. Bone broth. Homemade or purchased is a fantastic food for healing your gut.
  2. Vegetables include prebiotic fiber that good bacteria will feed on to balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria.
  3. Okra
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Flaxseeds.

Eliminating your trigger foods is important. Even if gluten did not show up on your IgG food panel, it is wise to eliminate all gluten foods while healing your gut.  Gluten is an inflammatory food and should be avoided.

In conclusion,

Food allergies are different than food sensitivities. Food allergies are immediate responses that include the release of histamine. Allergic responses can be mild to severe or life threatening. The non-tolerated food is normally easy to figure out. IgA panels are for food allergy determination.

Food sensitivities can take days to appear and pinpointing the offending food can be tricky.

Food elimination is the gold standard in determining food sensitivities, but food panel testing such as IgG and IgG4 can be very valuable. Once a food sensitivity is determined, healing the gut is the course of action to take to eliminate food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are not lifelong afflictions.

I hope this article gave some clarity on food allergies and sensitivities.

Please comment below, I love to hear your results and feedback.

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2

Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach