Monday, April 22, 2013

Are Migraines a Predictor of Celiac Disease?

According to a research study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, if you have celiac disease, you’re more than twice as likely to have migraines than the normal population. If you have gluten sensitivity, you’re more than four times likely to suffer with debilitating migraines. The researchers also looked at those suffering with IBD, inflammatory bowel disease, and found them a little over one and half times more likely to suffer migraines.

Migraine intensity seemed to also be positively associated with gluten intolerance. Seventy-two percent of celiac stated that they suffered from migraines that were severe in impact, as did sixty percent of those suffering from gluten sensitivity. Of those suffering with IBD, only thirty percent ranked their migraines in the severe category.

When we consider that ninety-five percent of all celiacs remain undiagnosed and likely ninety-nine percents of all those suffering from gluten sensitivity, any assistance in improving those abysmal percentages is data well worth knowing.

What this study reveals is that the symptom of migraine could very well be a red-flag for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Imagine if doctors whose patients complained of migraines were regularly screened for gluten intolerance? Would our percentage of diagnosis improve? It seems likely that it would.
One thing that did concern me was the researchers found that the number of years on a gluten-free diet had no influence on the severity of the migraines suffered. For me that is unacceptable. It is rare in my clinic that we don’t resolve migraines. I agree, that a food sensitivity, frequently gluten, is a trigger. But more must be done and this study clearly demonstrates that.

We once again find ourselves in the arena of Secondary Effects. If not addressed, these Secondary Effects of gluten will perpetuate a weakened immune system, leaky gut, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance – to name a few. When these factors persist, so will the migraines, in the majority of cases.
The take away from this study was two-fold for me. One facet being positive, while the other was decidedly negative.
1.      Patients suffering from migraines should be evaluated for gluten intolerance as they suffer from the symptom, vastly more often than does the general population of sufferers.
2.      One the negative side, those removing gluten from their diet, continued to suffer from migraines. Based on my clinical experience, this is due to improper treatment of the Secondary Effects of gluten. The facts are that we see many very serious migraine cases and our success rate is quite excellent. We attribute that to diagnosing not only any food sensitivities, but also proper evaluation of the Secondary Effects as mentioned above.

Many individuals suffer from debilitating migraines. I was one, actually and so was my mother. When I developed migraines in my teenage years I was told that I had them because my mother did. Not a very encouraging statement! After all, I couldn't change my genes… or could I? In fact, I found that what my mother and I both shared was a gluten intolerance. And yes, secondary to that intolerance were some infections, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance. And guess what? When I fixed those things I NEVER had another migraine – never. And when I fixed them in my mother, she NEVER had another migraine.

I understand migraines, therefore, personally as well as professionally. They are definitely no fun and I urge you to pass this post along to anyone you know who suffers.

We are always here to answer questions and assist where needed. Anyone interested can call us for a free health analysis as well – call 408-733-0400.

Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. You don’t need to live locally to receive 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 may be killing you!”

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A “Green” Solution to Leaky Gut for Celiacs

If you’re new to the world of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, you may not have heard the term ‘leaky gut’. It simply refers to the increased permeability of the small intestine that occurs as a result of damage caused by gluten. While the concept is simple to understand, the ramifications of a leaky gut are complex and devastating to health.

The small intestine very intelligently allows the passage of digested food to leave the confined of its interior and via the bloodstream such foodstuffs are delivered to all the cells of the body so that they can be nourished. Putting food in your mouth is one thing, ensuring it adequately gets delivered to the 10 trillion cells making up your body is quite another.

But while the small intestine acts as a conduit for food to leave via small openings, it too prevents the movement of anything it considers to be a ‘bad guy’, be it bacteria, parasites or other toxic substances. This scenario occurs quite beautifully in the normally functioning ‘unleaky’ small intestine.

In the damaged small intestine, a very different picture presents itself. Due to enlarged openings, partially digested food passes into the bloodstream before full digestion has occurred, bad organisms too gain access to the bloodstream. This is the picture of a leaky gut and it’s not a pretty one.

What we know very clearly, is that once a diagnosis of gluten intolerance has occurred and a gluten-free diet has been initiated, the next critical step is to ensure that the health of the small intestine is restored. This has far reaching effects that not only would influence digestive health, but also the health of the rest of the body including development of autoimmune disease, inflammation leading to degenerative disease and neurological problems, to name just a few.

Therefore I was delighted to run across some recent research that not only was extremely revealing as to how best to keep the small intestine healthy, but a major breakthrough in leaky gut.
The researchers out of Australia discovered specialized immune cells calls ILCs (innate lymphoid cells) are generated from a gene called the T-bet gene. These cells are responsible for killing bad bacteria in the small intestine, keeping the good bacteria happy, healing small abrasions on the lining of the intestine and preventing intestinal cancers. These are some amazing cells.

They are activated when the T-bet gene is turned on. What turns on the gene? Green leafy cruciferous vegetables! Now that’s an easy solution. Not only are greens loaded with antioxidants, they keep the ILCs functioning at a good level.

Which vegetables fall into this category? Glad you asked – here’s the list:
Kale collard greens Chinese broccoli
cabbage brussels sprouts kohlrabi
broccoli broccoflower cauliflower
wild broccoli bok choy mizuna
broccoli rabe turnip root, turnip greens rutabaga
arugula (rocket) maca garden cress
watercress radish daikon

In summary it is believed that ILCs play a critical role in controlling:

Food allergies
Inflammatory diseases – this category basically includes all the degenerative diseases killing most people. E.g heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
            Development of bowel cancers – the ILCs are thought to prevent these cancers.

This is exciting. Imagine being able to turn on these important genes and activate these immune cells, all with a decision of eating more green veggies. And, as you can see above, you have quite a selection to choose from.

While I wish this was the ONLY step you had to take to heal a leaky gut, it certainly is a very important step that is easily achieved – no lab test, no doctor visit – just eat those healthy greens.
I hope this was informative for you. For more information on this study go here.

If your health is not as you desire, please consider contacting us for a free health analysis – we’re here to help! Just give us a call at 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally.

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!”