Tag Archives: celiac disease
What does eating fat have to do with wheat intolerance? The modern western diet is high in fat, but that is not, in itself, a problem. While experts decry cholesterol intake, they ignore the very real and growing problem of omega 3,6 fatty acid imbalance.
These days, it’s trendy to eat foods high in PUFAs (poly unsaturated fatty acids), but PUFAs are only beneficial when the ratio of inflammation-causing omega-6 fatty acids to inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids is about 4:1, or even lower. Unfortunately, the average American’s ratio of these essential fatty acids is close to 10:1, due to high intake of omega-6 rich grain-fed meat, poultry, and grain- or seed-based oils (soybean oil, corn oil), versus a relatively low consumption of omega-3 rich fatty fish, flax, and walnuts.
Even then, not all omega-6 fatty acids are created equal. Because most meat sold and consumed today is factory-farmed, it relies heavily on grain-based, concentrated feeds. Grain-fed ruminants produce lower levels of the beneficial omega-6 variety called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grass-fed ruminants. Cage-raised hens produce eggs with lower CLA levels than pastured hens.
This is particularly important to people with wheat intolerance or celiac disease. A recent Italian study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research indicates that CLA protects the small intestine of celiac sufferers from damage subsequent to gluten exposure. The head of the research team noted that both CLA and omega-3 fatty acids are shown to have beneficial effects on inflammation and auto-immune disorders in animal studies.
So what’s the takeaway? If your diet is low in fatty fish and other omega-3 sources, but high in grain-fed meat and grain or seed oils, consider switching to grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, and taking a commercial commercial fish oil supplement to correct your omega-3,6 imbalance. Try it for a month and see if you notice any change in your intestinal health and comfort.
Going gluten-free is still the best way to treat wheat intolerance symptoms, but changing your fat intake can help your body deal more effectively with gluten.
A recent paper published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics suggests that middle aged women with celiac disease may have up to 50 times the risk of the general population for also having a condition called microscopic colitis– an inflammatory condition which causes persistent, watery diarrhea.
Because of the difficulty in diagnosing microscopic colitis during regular colonoscopies, women in the risk group who also have the symptoms should consider undergoing colonic biopsies, which can be used to detect the condition more reliably. The good news is that microscopic colitis is considered a relatively benign condition, and most sufferers recover with treatment.
Second-generation replacement of trans fats and the removal of glutens continue to dominate product development activity in the baked goods category of the food industry.
Yes, gluten free. While many observers (ourselves included) have been waiting several years for this trend to live up to expectations, it finally may be hitting stride.
Food is such a huge part of our culture that a serious problem with foods containing gluten can seem like a jail sentence. What do you say when your friends, family, or co-workers want to go out to a restaurant? True, in some major cities you can find a handful of restaurants which specifically cater to people with wheat intolerance or celiac disease, but in a lot of places, that isn’t the case.
First off, don’t be ashamed or hesitant to tell your friends and co-workers the reason for your reluctance. More and more people are becoming aware of food allergies and intolerance these days. If someone replies insensitively, just keep it light. Explain that accidental exposure makes you sick enough that it’s just not worth it to you to take the chance. Such people aren’t generally trying to be hurtful; they simply don’t understand.
When it comes to choosing restaurants, call ahead. Clearly state your problem with . Ask if they have a gluten-free menu. If not, ask if they can accommodate you with some simple gluten or wheat free recipes. If your sensitivity is very high, ask if they will clean pans and utensils before cooking your meal, to avoid cross-contamination. Most places will find it easier if you offer specific suggestions: vegetables steamed and drizzled with olive oil and herbs; a baked potato; a plain steak or chicken breast, un-marinated, with salt and pepper. Many places will have ingredients like these on hand, and will be willing to work with you, especially if you give them some warning by calling ahead.
It’s more common for large chains to have dedicated gluten-free menus, but if you can’t find such a chain and need to ask for special dishes, your best bet is usually locally owned Mom and Pop restaurants. This is because most chains get their food pre-prepared, meaning that the gluten-contaminated breading or marinade or whatever is already on the food. Mom and Pop shops are more likely to cook from scratch, giving them more flexibility for special food requests.
Take notes. If a place is rude about your requests, don’t spend your money there. If they say they’ll accommodate you and you end up getting sick because they goofed, don’t spend your money there a second time. Eventually, you will find a selection of places where you can eat safely and happily. It may not be a huge selection, but there’s something to be said for eating where you have a bit of a personal relationship with the staff because you’re a regular customer.
You’ll feel good because you’re spending money with people that you know, who value you enough to go the extra mile for your health and safety. They’ll feel good because they’ve gained a customer for life by giving exceptional customer service– and will possibly gain many more customers when word gets around that they are food-allergy friendly.
In another outrage against people with celiac and gluten allergy symptoms, healthcare giant American Community Mutual Insurance cancelled 17-year-old Brianna Rice’s coverage after her diagnosis of celiac disease, citing earlier non-specific complaints like dizziness and fatigue as evidence that her parents had lied on her health insurance application.
Now, with the family facing financial ruin and after significant pressure from media and government, they have reversed their decision. But does this sort of thing go on all the time?
Every parent of a child with wheat intolerance or celiac disease worries about accidental exposure to gluten. Foods containing gluten seem to be everywhere. But food isn’t the only potential source of gluten exposure.
One source that you may not have thought of is– of all things– fingerpaints. Yes, fingerpaints generally contain gluten, and with children of a certain age, you can bet that fingers, and the paint on them, will end up in little mouths at some point. While it just kills us to see children excluded from normal childhood activities, their safety and health has to come first, right?
Fortunately, one company has taken steps to put the messy fun of fingerpainting back in the lives of children with gluten intolerance. Bluedominoes now produces safe, certified gluten free and lead-free fingerpaints, as well as Play Dough, another commonly gluten-contaminated childhood staple. Both use food grade ingredients, all of which are listed on the packaging. They have also been approved by the Celiac Sprue Association.
If you have children who can’t tolerate gluten, consider supporting this innovative company by visiting http://www.bluedominoes.com.
Celiac sufferers have long wondered if their condition runs in families, placing their children at risk for the disease. Only in the last few years has it been practical to have genetic testing done… but is it worth it to do so?
Here’s the low-down:
95% of people who are positively diagnosed with celiac disease via alternate methods such as intestinal biopsy also test positive for a particular gene called H.L.A. DQ2. An additional 5% test positive for the gene H.L.A. DQ8. The practical upshot is, if you don’t have either of these genes, you really don’t have to worry about celiac disease.
However, just because you test positive on one or the other of these genes, it doesn’t mean that you have celiac disease. In fact, only about 2 or 3% of people with these genes will get celiac disease. In other words, not having these genes means you don’t have celiac disease. Having these genes means you have a 2-3% chance of having or getting celiac disease.
This means that the greatest value of genetic testing for celiac lies in cases where celiac disease is suspected, but diagnosis is inconclusive. By acting as a reliable indicator that a person does NOT have celiac disease, genetic testing can ease a patient’s mind, and aid in narrowing down the symptoms to other related conditions such as wheat allergy or wheat intolerance.
Since 60-65% of the population do not carry the genes, and therefore do not have celiac disease, genetic testing can greatly reduce the number of suspected celiac cases.
The bottom line? If you have no symptoms, genetic testing is of limited value. But if you do have symptoms and are struggling with an inconclusive diagnosis, genetic testing that is negative for H.L.A. DQ2 and DQ8 can put your mind at ease and free you to pursue other diagnoses such as wheat allergy or wheat intolerance.
The Globe and Mail have published their Top Ten food-related stories of 2009, and the increasing prevalence of wheat intolerance and celiac disease is right in the thick of things.
Soon, you won’t have to wonder even if you buy generic OTC meds. Generic giant Perrigo, which manufactures store brands for major retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, and many more, has announced its intention to institute a gluten-free labelling program in Jauary 2010.
Perrigo says that the program will cover all of its most popular medications, including allergy, cold & sinus products, pain relievers, and antacids. Additionally, many of the company’s 200 dietary supplements are already labelled.
The labelling will be backed by a gluten-free assurance program involving rigorous testing to ensure that gluten contamination remains less than the FDA’s threshhold of 20 parts per million, which will bring it in line with labelling practices in the food industry.
Welcome news for consumers who want to save money by buying generic, while still staying healthy by avoiding drugs and foods containing gluten.