Friday, July 27, 2012

Gluten Free Beer – Raving Success or Costly Failure?

Personally I was never a beer lover. I remember beginning college and having many older students assure me that by my sophomore year I’d become a fan. They were wrong. I’d like to think that I didn’t like it because I intuitively knew that I was gluten intolerant, but that doesn’t quite add up when I look at my love for pasta, brownies and croissants!

While beer isn’t for everyone, I definitely have witnessed a lot of sad faces when I diagnosed patients as gluten intolerant and they realized that beer was no longer allowed. When gluten-free beers first hit the market several years ago, they were met with initial excitement but disappointment quickly followed when it became clear that the taste didn’t quite live up to expectations. The sorghum base (a grain in the corn family) vs. traditional barley, didn’t meet the taste standards of true beer lovers.

Enter a newly released product from Widmer Brothers Brewing out of Oregon – ‘Omission Gluten Free Lager’ and ‘Omission Gluten Free Pale Ale’. Widmer has managed to produce an authentic tasting beer while still maintaining well under the 20 parts per million (ppm) standard set by the World Health Organization for a product to be considered gluten-free.

It sounds perfect. Beer lovers should be happy. Not so fast… A government agency, the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is causing a bit of an uproar about the gluten-free beer, citing that it violates the standards of a gluten-free product and therefore should not be allowed to be sold with a gluten-free label.

Why? Widmer uses barley, a gluten-containing grain, to manufacture their beer. This is the reason it taste authentic, they utilize the same major grain as all beer. How does it ‘magically’ become gluten-free? They use enzymes to digest the gluten and this process results in the finished product meeting gluten-free standards. In fact, the beer has a mere 5-6 ppm of gluten, satisfying even those who believe that 5 or 10 ppm would be a safer level than 20 ppm.

The TTB is stating that since the product is ‘made’ from a gluten containing ingredient, Widmer cannot use the term gluten-free on their label.

What do you think? Is it about the amount of gluten in the finished product or the ingredients that are used? Is there a difference between a product that is contaminated with gluten, causing it to exceed the 20 ppm law, and a product that actually contains gluten containing ingredients and therefore exceeds 20 ppm?
Is the bottom line that a product is legitimately gluten-free based on gluten ppm or should the ingredients play a major role as well?

Would you drink a beer made from barley that was certified gluten-free based on a standardized measurement?

I’d like to hear from you on this…

The battle is still ensuing so we’ll have to wait to find out who prevails.
For you clever readers that have read between the lines and started to wonder about using enzymes personally to ‘pre-digest’ gluten for you, there is no such enzyme present to be used successfully at this time. Remember that with gluten it is a qualitative factor vs. a quantitative one. Meaning that ‘any’ gluten is enough to cause an immune system reaction and therefore ill health. This beer product is technically gluten-free upon ingestion. That is very different from eating gluten and throwing an enzyme in at the same time. Good thinking though!

I hope you found this informative. If you are struggling with your health and would like to get to the root cause of why you have the symptoms you have, please consider calling us for a free health analysis. We are here to help!

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! C
all 408-733-0400.

I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Seizures Caused by Gluten Intolerance? You Be the Doctor and Decide

The fact that gluten intolerance can create problems with the nervous system is not new news. The fact that gluten can create seizures is also not new. But it’s also a fact that it is new to most doctors, even those who are specialists of the nervous system.

Witness this true life story:

A mother contacted me who was herself a celiac. Prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease and eliminating gluten from her diet, she had seizures. Her seizures, along with a host of other problems, all disappeared on a gluten-free diet.

Fast forward to having children and she began to notice that her son would flutter his eyes oddly at times. As this worsened and she realized that it was not under his control, she moved forward to get a diagnosis. She took her son to many doctors and the agreed diagnosis was ‘absence seizures’. These used to be called petit mal seizures as opposed to grand mal seizures that are dramatic and more what most people think of when the word ‘seizure’ comes to mind.

Petit means small and grand means large in French, fyi…

Other than the diagnosis, no recommendation for cause nor cure was offered. A drug with dangerous side effects was the only ‘solution’ given to the mom and this was something she didn’t want to do. Citing her own health history as an example, the mother asked if celiac disease or gluten reactions could be causing the seizures in her child. Her question was met with degrees of distain or complete lack of interest by all the doctors she asked.

In frustration, the mother adopted a gluten-free diet for her son. Lo and behold, the seizures ceased, except when he ate gluten. Whether it was a mistake or outright cheating, the seizures did not return without gluten contamination occurring.

Armed with the data of her own ‘experiment’ in the matter, the mother again asked a neurologist about a link with gluten and her son’s seizures. Despite what seemed to be an obvious association, the neurologist categorically stated that there was no connection between gluten and her son’s seizures.
Does that make sense to you?

Even if you were unaware of research proving you wrong (which there is ample), wouldn’t you be curious enough about the association to look into whether any research existed? As a neurologist who frequently saw patients suffering with seizures, wouldn’t you be curious to see if there was any validity in this mother’s claim?

If it was your child what would you do?
Thankfully the mom found out about us on the internet and she and her son are coming to visit our destination clinic. Here we will confirm or deny gluten intolerance via a genetic test. This is the test of choice because it doesn't require a dangerous reintroduction of gluten in order to get an accurate result. We will also address the secondary effects association with gluten intolerance such as:

o   Infections
o   Cross reactive foods
o   Other food intolerances
o   Health of the probiotic organisms in the gut
o   Vitamin and enzyme deficiencies
o   and more…

While I was grateful that the mother discovered us, it made me think how many other individuals, adults and children alike, are suffering needlessly from a condition such as seizures when a dietary change could eradicate the problem.

Do you know anyone with seizures? Please alert them to this data.
If you or someone you care about needs to improve their health please tell them about our free health analysis. 

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! C
all 408-733-0400.

I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

European Journal of Epilepsy, Vol 7, Issue 1. Pp 49-54. February 1998. ”Epilepsy, cerebral calcifications and clinical or subclinical coeliac disease. Course and follow up with gluten-free diet”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gluten Intolerant? Can You Eat the Meat of an Animal that Ate Gluten?

I’m frequently asked the question: “If I can’t eat gluten, can I eat an animal who ate gluten?”
It’s a good question and it makes sense why someone who is gluten intolerant would ask.
The good news is that when an animal ingests gluten it is digested sufficiently enough that later eating the meat from that animal does not create any issue of gluten contamination.

That’s the good news.

Unfortunately there is bad news as well. While you might not have to worry about gluten contamination, animals that are fed high grain diets, be it corn or wheat, are not nearly as healthy as those who are grass-fed.

Have you ever wondered why heart disease and the concern of eating high fat red meat didn’t seem to be such an issue 50 years ago? The answer lies in what the animal is being fed. Grass fed beef is not the same quality as grain fed beef. There is actually no comparison. Grass fed beef is lower in fat, higher in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) an amino acid believed to have anti-cancer properties, and higher in omega-3 fatty acids, critical for good health.

Grain fed beef is higher in omega-6 fatty acids, not the good kind and more likely to create inflammatory degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Other factors affecting the meat we eat include hormones and antibiotics given to livestock, but even putting that aside the high grain diets are creating an unhealthier animal and that certainly does affect  the humans who eat the meat.

Therefore, while gluten contamination is not an issue, the quality of the meat is.

My recommendation is that you keep your consumption of animal meats to a minimum. It is better, and safer, to get your protein from non-animal sources such as dark green leafy veggies, beans, nuts and legumes. It turns out that our preoccupation with protein consumption has been a bit overblown. It turns out that we don’t need quite the quantity of protein as we used to think. In fact, we are likely healthier with more plants (fruits and veggies) in our diet than animal protein.

Occasional lean, clean protein sources are fine. When I say clean I am referring to grass fed, hormone and antibiotic-free animals. They are not easy to find and you won’t get them at most restaurants, but good grocery stores certainly offer them.

Have you wondered about how healthy it is to eat meat? Do you have any questions I haven’t answered?
Feel free to contact me. My team and myself are here to help. If you’d like to improve your health you can contact us for a free health analysis. Call 408-733-0400.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”