Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Other Countries ‘Better Off’ When it Comes to Gluten?

The grass often seems greener on the other side of the fence, but in this case I think it’s no exaggeration when referring to ‘Down Under’. I don’t cite this example to depress anyone, but rather to empower you and all of us who are gluten intolerant to continue to fight, to continue to push and to continue to enlighten and educate.

Here’s the story:

About 12 years ago, a patient traveled to Australia on her honeymoon. She arrived at the hotel after a very long flight from California and was hungry. She called room service and when the very kind voice at the other end of the phone asked her “What would you like to eat” she responded, albeit a bit crankily, “What I would like and what you can give me are two different things. I’d really love a sandwich but I am gluten intolerant.” To which the lovely voice replied, “Would you like your gluten–free bread with raisins or without.”

Needless to say my patient was very happy during her stay in Australia. Apparently there was a delicious bakery across the street that baked the bread and several other goodies. When she returned home to California, however, her comment to me was: “We live in the wrong country!” Twelve years ago there was ‘slim pickings’ when it came to bread and I too was impressed with her Australian experience.

Fast forward to present time and I just heard from a family who had recently moved to Australia (near Perth). They happily reported that eating gluten-free is truly a ‘breeze’ in Australia. Apparently regular grocery stores have a lot to offer and better yet, they have found the school system and day-care facilities to be extremely understanding and supportive of their gluten-free diet.

So, once again, I don’t write this to be depressing, but rather to show that it is well worth it to keep being vigilant and continue to share how important it is to have gluten-free options for all those who need it, while educating broadly so that those suffering with gluten intolerance can receive a diagnosis.

It starts small but it will grow. Work with your schools, work with your day care, work with your company’s cafeteria. If you need help, let me know. That’s why I’m here.

Vow to speak to one person or one organization each day about gluten. Even if it’s just for a minute or two, all those small conversations can add up to big change!

If you or someone whom you care about is not enjoying good health, please consider calling us for a free health analysis – call 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally so you do not need to live locally to receive help.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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!”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why You Can’t Stop with Just a Gluten-free Diet

The two major issues we have regarding gluten in this country are:

1.      We are terrible at diagnosing celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Over 95-97% of those with celiac disease continue to suffer, with the number likely being much higher for gluten sensitivity.
2.      When we finally DO diagnose either condition, the only treatment we offer is a gluten-free diet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the only place to START is definitely with a strict gluten-free diet. What I take issue with is that being the ONLY recommendation.

Witness this comment from the mother of a child with celiac disease:
My 19 month old son was diagnosed with celiac in September 2012 at 13 months.  I nursed him until 16 months when he self-weaned (too busy chasing his big brothers.)  At the time of his diagnosis, his AST and ALT were quite high [these are liver enzymes].  We immediately went gluten free and his symptoms were better within 36 hours.  He's been happily gluten free since Sept 2012.  He has no real health issues since going gluten free, other than dry skin and mild rashes that a lot of celiacs experience even when off gluten.

Fast forward six months when we had his enzyme levels checked again this month.  His ALT and AST were worse.  The pediatric gastro had him tested for multiple things.  Thus far, everything has come back negative, except the HLA molecular test for Celiac and lymphoma [a genetic test]. 

Let’s analyze this. Here we have a small child barely 2 years old with celiac disease. His mom says that ‘all’ his symptoms disappeared when beginning a gluten-free diet, except his dry skin and rashes, which she states that “a lot of celiacs experience”. What is concerning is elevated liver enzymes, showing some liver damage that is actually worsening despite a gluten-free diet.
Here’s my take on it:

1.      It’s great that most symptoms improved but one cannot ignore the skin issues. Why? Because the skin is a reflection of colon health and his continuing skin issues mean that his gut isn’t healed – yes, he likely has a leaky gut.
2.      What’s showing on the outside (his skin), is likely also being demonstrated on the inside (his liver). When a leaky gut persists, any autoimmune type reaction that occurred while the person was eating gluten can persist despite no gluten being ingested. Why? Because the immune system is on an ‘auto-destruct’, which is what autoimmune disease is.
3.      What needs to be done is to heal the gut and normalize the immune system. This child could have infections in his gut that are migrating out through the leaky gut into the bloodstream and affecting his liver. Or, the immune system could just be continuing the liver ‘auto-destruct’ message that is originally received from gluten, but is now continuing because the leaky gut continues.
4.      Another option is that the child is eating foods that are cross-reactive to gluten and that is continuing the autoimmune tendency. Finally, the child could also have a sensitivity to dairy products which is known to be highly anti-inflammatory.

The great news is that the child has been testing extensively and all the ‘scary’ diseases have been ruled out. Now we could just move forward with the above, very easy treatment, to truly reverse the situation before it becomes permanent and the child is left with a malfunctioning liver.

I hope this makes sense. It frustrates me no end that the secondary effects of gluten are not addressed more routinely. It could definitely save patients from many chronic diseases.

If you know someone who is gluten-free but is still not enjoying good health, please share this with them. We would also be happy to offer them a free health analysis – call 408-733-0400.

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, we are here to help!

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 could be killing you!”

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Genesis of Disease – Does Gluten Cause Everything?

While I’m sometimes accused of being a little ‘gluten crazy’, I don’t think that gluten is the root of ALL evil when it comes to the development of disease.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however – the damage that gluten creates in the small intestine and to the immune system (not to mention the nervous system) can initiate inflammation that we now understand IS the initiator of most degenerative disease – think cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this past week. It turns out that he was diagnosed with a fatty liver about 15 years ago. Two years ago we diagnosed him as gluten sensitive. The medical professional who diagnosed him with fatty liver told him not to drink to excess – period. This gentleman doesn't drink to excess. If the doctor had delved into this at all, he would have discovered that a man in his late 30s had a very stressed liver that was NOT due to alcohol.

But no such question was asked, no such analysis was done, and my friend just continued to be told each and every year at his annual physical – “You have a fatty liver.” He never thought to mention it to me and he never thought anything could or should be done about it.

Fast forward to present time and he’s in his early 50s and now has a severe disease – type 2 diabetes.
In hindsight he believes that he’s been gluten sensitive for a long time. We know that gluten can put stress on the liver, so that makes sense. He’s also a ‘macho’ kind of guy with a very ‘macho’ job and ‘fast food’ goes with the whole persona. He now knows that hasn't been his friend and he’s done quite an ‘about face’ on his food ingestion.

What’s missing in this picture is follow-through. I basically ‘hounded’ him to take a lab test wherein we found his gluten sensitivity, but I haven’t seen much of him since. He’s ‘too busy’. And now we have a scary diabetes diagnosis.

Is it too late for him? Not at all. Reversal of type 2 diabetes is not difficult IF the patient is compliant – not something I’m totally convinced of in this case… sadly. But what must be done? Interestingly, the treatment for diabetes isn't all that different from heart disease or many other degenerative diseases.

The first step is to identify and remove stressors from the system, including:

·         food intolerances – e.g. gluten, dairy, corn, soy
·         the presence of pathogens or infections in the small intestine
·         poor probiotic balance
·         hormonal imbalance
·         the standard American diet
·         the need for enzymes to digest food properly
·         presence of other toxins or heavy metals
·         etc.

The second step is to engage on a weight loss and fitness program to optimize fat burning and gain core support so that the body enjoys moving and exercising.

Once the big steps are completed, now the refinement can occur. Whether it’s genetic tendencies that must be countered or stress loads that must be managed, a successful program will address the individual patient and ensure the program is completely successful in reversing, if not stabilizing, the disease process.

Is gluten the cause of all evil? No, but it’s interesting how big a role food intolerances such as gluten and dairy do play in the damage commonly seen in so many degenerative diseases. Have I ever seen a patient with a degenerative disease who required no dietary changes in order to optimize his or her health? The answer is ‘No’, not once.

I hope this information was helpful.

Do you suffer from a degenerative disease? Do you know someone who does? Are you tired of taking medication that only ‘manages’ your symptoms, rather than offering you reversal and stabilization of your condition? If you want more answers, consider calling us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400 -we’re here to help!

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, so you don’t need to live locally to receive assistance.

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!”