Thursday, October 04, 2012

Do Drugs Cause Gluten Intolerance?

Have you had a reaction to any medication? Have you had a stressful medical event, be it a root canal or other uncomfortable procedure? What if that stress and discomfort was enough to trigger gluten intolerance and ill health?

I found an interesting case report in Gastrointestinal Medicine recently. The report, titled ‘The onset of enhanced intestinal permeability and food sensitivity triggered by medication used in dental procedures’ drove home an important point that we have known for some time. When the immune system is compromised beyond a certain level, its ability to keep bad genes turned off is thwarted. In other words that healthy ‘off’ switch flips to the ‘on’ position and disease is now manifest.

In this particular study, a healthy 52 year old woman with no discernible health issues went through vigorous dental procedures for several months. She received a root canal, bone graft and dental implants. Her initial visits were five in number over the course of only ten days. During that time she received anesthetics, antibiotics and painkillers.

Four months later while completing the dental implant procedure, she again received anesthesia, antibiotics and painkillers. A few hours later she developed a severe allergic reaction along with difficulty breathing. This was handled with emergency adrenaline but afterwards the patient started suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain lasting over a week. This was followed by IBS-like symptoms that went on for months.

She saw a gastroenterologist who tested her blood extensively including tests for celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. All tests were negative including gene tests for celiac disease. The gastroenterologist could offer no help.

Fortunately the patient did not give up and sought a second opinion from a practitioner in the functional medicine field. This doctor evaluated her for a leaky gut, gluten sensitivity and cross-reactive foods. These tests were all positive. Upon the initiation of a gluten-free diet, avoidance of cross-reactive foods, probiotics and a clinical nutrition program designed to heal the gut, the patient was back to normal within six months.

What can we learn from this case study?
1.      If you are planning an elective medical procedure, take a little time beforehand to optimize your immune system and heal a leaky gut. If you have a strong immune system embarking upon a procedure that requires drugs and is stressful, you are much more likely to weather it successfully if you have prepared ahead of time.
2.      In any elective situation, consider making the procedure less stressful by giving your body a little time to recuperate between visits. Did this patient really require five visits in only ten days? Surely she could have stretched them out somewhat and it would have been less stressful to her system.
3.      Find a functional medicine or like-minded practitioner to work with, if possible. Here at HealthNOW we prepare our patients for such stressful events when we know that they are going to happen. Nutritional protocols properly executed can make the difference between a compromised immune system and one that bounces back well after stress and drugs. I shudder to think what might have happened to this patient if she hadn’t received a second opinion from a savvy practitioner.  Her desire for dental implants could have resulted in compromised health for the rest of her life.

Have you had such an occurrence? Has a pregnancy, surgery or illness seemed to compromise your health to the degree that you’ve never fully bounced back?

If so, I’d like to hear from you and help you. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live local to us to receive care.

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!”

Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine. 2012; 2012: 265052. The Onset of Enhanced Intestinal Permeability and Food Sensitivity Triggered by Medication Used in Dental Procedures: A Case Report. Aristo Vojdani  and Jama Lambert

Published online 2012 September 12. doi:  10.1155/2012/265052
PMCID: PMC3447324

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