Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Association between Gluten Sensitivity and Hormonal Imbalance
I recently did a radio show about The Gluten Effect and a listener called me and requested that I write a blog post about a comment I made during the show. So as requested, here it is:
When gluten causes damage to the small intestine, the lining, which is supposed to look like shag carpeting begins to resemble indoor/outdoor carpeting instead – it gets flattened. These finger-like projections that get eroded are called villi. The damage that occurs affects ones ability to absorb nutrition from food and especially affects the ability to absorb fat (this would include fat-soluble vitamins).
In the context of the hormonal, mental and emotional symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity this becomes very important. Why? Because hormones are made from fat. Without fat absorption, hormonal balance is all but impossible.
Fat malabsorption is an early change when damage begins, not a later one. The ability to absorb fat is performed by the tips of the villi so early in the erosion process fat malabsorption occurs. While hormonal symptoms may take some time to develop, digestive symptoms such as foul-smelling stools and bowel movements that float are common early changes. Other changes due to the malabsorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) also ensue such as poor night vision, weak immune system, osteoporosis, etc.
If you’re someone that has any of the above symptoms, realize that symptoms of hormonal imbalance are related. Similarly if you notice any of these digestive symptoms in your child, get them checked immediately. It would be wonderful to prevent any further symptoms from developing by addressing their gluten sensitivity early.
To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”