My friend Shannon has written the “Scared Straight” for gluten and autoimmune disease. As always, thank you, Shannon, for all of your hard work to help people understand the importance of their food choices.
The next time you walk into a room, look around. Almost 40% of the people in that room on average have some kind of active gluten disease or intolerance and don’t know it. But so what? What’s the big deal?
One type of gluten intolerance, CD (Celiac Disease), can shorten your life up to 20 years if not treated and promotes chronic inflammatory degenerative diseases like Heart Disease, Alzheimers, Diabetes, Cancers, almost all autoimmune disease, not to mention the neurological, psychological, and even dermatological diseases typical of this problem. If you have CD, and up to 6 million people in the U.S. do though 99% don’t know it, your risk of dying from intestinal cancer is 70 times greater, developing thyroid cancer 23 times greater, and so on for the other 53 diseases prompted by CD.
Many people with CD, which is an autoimmune disease in its own right, are being treated for other diseases or health issues without knowing they were activated by CD as most Drs are not looking for CD and current testing methods have been brought into question as their scope is limited and they are notorious for false negatives. If you have an autoimmune disease, there is an 8-10% chance it was triggered by CD. The good news here is there is the potential of going into remission by simply resolving the CD. If you are diagnosed with CD as a child, there is a 95% chance of recovery on the GFD (Gluten Free Diet). If you are diagnosed with CD as an adult, you have approximately a 52% chance of recovery on the GFD.
Today it is estimated that almost 2% of the U.S. population has active CD even though up to 40% carry the gene, and that 35% (122 million) have NCGS (Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity) even though up to 80% carry the gene. While less damaging to the intestinal tract than CD, NCGS is said to be like a sunburn to CD’s 3rd degree burn and increases the risk of death by 35% per Dr. Hyman. (Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You)
Best-selling author, Neurologist, and Nutritionist Dr. Perlmutter believes that almost everyone has some kind gluten intolerance. This could potentially explain the archeological evidence as referenced by Lierre Keith, author of “The Vegetarian Myth”. Before agriculture you find human bones and remains that are tall, free of disease, and with healthy teeth intact in the skulls. After agriculture you find bones and teeth riddled with disease and on average about 6 inches shorter. How is agriculture (of grains in particular) able to do this to a whole species?
Part of the answer per Lierre is the excess sugar from grains and the health ramifications caused by that. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNON5iNf07o) “You can call it complex carbohydrates at the end of the day if it makes you happy, but in the end it’s all sugar.” -Lierre Keith.
Another part of the answer may be gluten. Gluten forms the largest protein polymers known to occur in nature, it is extremely hard to digest, and one of its main components, gliadin, coats the surface of the adenovirus for the common cough. There is new research (Possible role for a human adenovirus in the pathogenesis of celiac disease) indicating such a virus could actually trigger CD in those that are genetically susceptible. Based on this information, could our immune systems have evolved to ward off such viruses, and those who are genetically better able to fight them then in turn also be more intolerant/sensitive to the gluten in their food and thus more prone to chronic disease? Rather ironic if the same genes that make people prone to gluten intolerance today could also have helped them survive epidemics prior to agriculture, but this could also possibly explain why there are so many people with these same genes today.
When someone with CD eats gluten, their immune system goes into attack mode, like it is trying to fight off a viral/bacterial intruder. Each time that happens, their immune system generates huge amounts of inflammation throughout the body while seriously damaging the lining of the intestinal track in the process, and if they are eating wheat everyday 3 times a day, the damage to their intestinal lining becomes harder and harder to repair. Without going off gluten, after several decades someone with CD would commonly develop one or more of the chronic inflammatory, neurological, psychological, or dermatological diseases typical of CD, and if they survive that then could go into the wasting phase, the final stage of CD where they are unable to absorb their food, gain weight, and at that point have an average life expectancy of 3 years.
Gluten disease is a gateway disease to other diseases; it wreaks havoc on the immune system, shortens lives, and affects a vast number of the population without their knowledge. By simply removing gluten from our diet, the 80% of us with the genetic propensity to gluten intolerance could potentially extend our lives, substantially reduce our risk to disease as well as our children’s, feel better, and significantly reduce the load on the health care system. That IS a big deal.
The information provided in this article has been compiled from various health practitioners, websites, books, and articles. The author and persons responsible for this website cannot assume liability for the topicality, accuracy, completeness or quality of the information in question and cannot be held liable for material or non-material damage caused by incorrect or incomplete information.
Green, Peter, M.D. and Jones, Rory (2010) “Celiac Disease A Hidden Epidemic”
Perlmutter, David, M.D. (September, 2013) “Grain Brain the Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brains Silent Killers”
Keith, Lierre (2009) “The Vegetarian Myth Food Justice and Sustainability”
Lapid, Nancy (June 17, 2009) “When Celiac Disease is Diagnosed in Adulthood, Intestines Don't Always Heal Completely” About.com. Retrieved on May 4th, 2014 from http://celiacdisease.about.com/b/2009/06/17/when-celiac-disease-is-diagnosed-in-adulthood-intestines-dont-always-heal-completely.htm
Hyman, Mark, M.D.(February 15, 2013) “Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You” Dr. Mark Hyman. Retrieved on May 4th, 2014 from http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/#close
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (2014) “What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” Celiac Central. Retrieved on May 4th, 2014 fromhttp://www.celiaccentral.org/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/introduction-and-definitions/
Kresser, Chris (2013) “9 Steps to Perfect Health-#1 Don’t Eat Toxins” Chris Kresser. Retrieved on May 4th, 2014 fromhttp://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-1-dont-eat-toxins
Kresser, Chris (2013) “The Gluten-Thyroid Connection” Chris Kresser. Retrieved on May 4th, 2014 fromhttp://chriskresser.com/the-gluten-thyroid-connection