Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gluten Intolerance and Probiotics

A very exciting new discovery has been made regarding the population of probiotics (also known as the microbiome) in your intestine and how it affects your risk of gluten sensitivity and leaky gut.

Just as an aside, I’ve had a few people ask me if “leaky gut” is a real phenomena. Also known as “increased intestinal permeability”, leaky gut is not only real but a quick internet search will show that such respected journals as the Journal of Hepatology, Gastroenterology, the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Digestive and Liver Disease and the Journal of Pediatrics, to name a few, have multiple scientific studies focusing on the importance and effects of a leaky gut on health. There are literally hundreds of articles that focus on this issue. Okay, sorry for the digression.

What are probiotics? A major constituent of the intestinal immune system consisting of 100s of trillions of organisms. You have more (at least you should have) of these organisms in your gut than you have cells in your body!

It’s estimated that 70 - 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. This is why we spend as much time as we do ensuring that our patients’ digestive systems are working optimally. More and more research is supporting the premise that without a healthy digestive tract, good health is all but impossible.

Not only do these good bacteria help defend you against infection but the new research that was just released shows that they have an ability to modify gene expression.

What does this mean? The researcher was evaluating why certain people “turn on” celiac disease and gluten sensitivity at different ages. If it’s genetic, as we know it to be, then why doesn’t that first teething biscuit or gold fish cracker begin the symptoms of gluten sensitivity? It does in some of course but for many the symptoms begin in later decades of life.

Dr Alessio Fasano believes that it’s not enough to have the gene and have the presence of gluten, but there must be a third factor, an initiator, that creates an insult to the gut enough for gluten to then be able to cause its inflammation and subsequent damage.

It’s like the spark that begins the forest fire. You can have a windy day and dry tinder but you need the spark to begin the decimation.

Dr Fasano believes that the “spark” is an unhealthy balance of good and bad probiotics in the gut. The good ones are protectors, but the bad ones are initiators. The make-up of probiotic populations actually have the ability to turn on and off genes at will.

This is terribly exciting and at the very least should have you interested in “who” is being housed in your intestines! There is a simple lab test that provides the data and treatment is similarly easy but very beneficial.

I hope this helps.

p.s. New Discovery - Appendix Provides an Important Function!

Did you think it was unlikely that you possessed a body part that had no function? I know I did. Well after a very long wait the reason why we have an appendix has been discovered.

It turns out that the appendix houses probiotics. Don’t worry if your appendix was removed. You can still restore health to your intestines.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I now have no doubt that this is correct. For the last few months, I have been eating a lot of probiotic yogurt - I have been recovering from an illness that meant I had taken a lot of antibiotics. To cut a long story short, I recently went on a holiday and was put in a position that I ended up eating a little gluten. As I was on my own and had the privacy of my own bathroom, I decided to accept the consequences - not something I would normally do as I adhere strictly to a gluten-free diet because I have had some unfortunate reactions. I had no reaction. The next day, I had a little bit more of a gluten product - again, no reaction. This continued for a few more days until eventually I decided to eat a bread roll. Again, nothing happened. Now, 3 weeks later, after a lot of reading to understand why, I have come to the conclusion that either probiotics fixed me or perhaps I no longer have symptoms. I was originally diagnosed with celiac disease as a result of a blood test and more than 30 years of prolonged pain and suffering including inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, migraine and dermatitis herpeti formis. I am continuing to take large doses of probiotics in yogurt. I am going to get a blood test done to see what it says. Needless to say that I am very pleased 'so far'.

Robert said...

I've been able to eat wheat products without problems for 22 years. It wasn't until after I took an antibiotic (Zithromax - Azithromycen) that I started having symptoms from gluten. My doctor had me tested and told me it was gluten intolerance and put me on a gluten free diet. While I was taking the antibiotic, I did not actively restore the good bacteria with probiotics. After doing research online, I believe that probiotics are a large factor. I have decided to go on an anti-inflammatory diet based upon my doctors advice and to take a probiotic supplement. I'm going to start this regiment soon and I will post my results. I have no family history of gluten intolerance. I believe it is not stressed enough to take probiotics if you take an antibiotic.

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous,

I am having the same Gluten problem.
Please let us know which probiotic helped you.

Thanks you so much for posting your good news.

-bud

Anonymous said...

I was able to eat wheat products without problems until I was put on a heavy dose of prednisone. After that it took almost a year of trips to the ER for severe abdominal pain until I discovered gluten sensitivity.

However, after being tested for celiac disease and having the results come back negative I began to research the causes of gluten sensitivity. I don't really remember why I started taking probiotics but I discovered I was able to eat wheat and gluten products again without problems so long as I took them religiously.

I still have to take them daily and if I miss a weeks worth I develop symptoms again but I couldn't believe no one really knew about this. Now two years later its becoming better known.

Nermin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I did not have any symptoms of the Gluten intolerance until I was 17. What happened several months before first symptoms started showing? I had my appendix taken out. Now I am 41 and still gluten intolerant. I never actually connected the dots to figure out that perhaps there is correlation between two events until I read this article.

Thank you for posting this, and keep up your good work,