Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hidden infections and gluten intolerances

As a doctor who has written a book on the subject of gluten, I am writing about this very important, although often overlooked consequence of celiac and gluten intolerance - hidden infections.

The mechanism revolves around the inflammation that is created in the small intestine with the ingestion of gluten for many years. This inflammatory response weakens the immune system of the intestine thereby allowing pathogenic (disease causing) organisms to gain a foothold. Every 10 minutes our small intestines are exposed to pathogenic organisms. A healthy immune system destroys them but a compromised immune system can't defend itself adequately.

These organism can cause a myriad of health problems including gastrointestinal symptoms, arthritis and joint inflammation, obesity, hormone imbalance - just to name a few.

Anyone with celiac or gluten intolerance is at risk for these infections which can be bacterial, parasitic, amoeba or yeast. I find a stool test to be the most accurate way to detect them but there are some labs I prefer over others due to their sensitivity and accuracy.

To find out more information and to schedule a free consultation, call 408-733-0400.

Hope this helps anyone curious.

Dr Vikki Petersen

Also, if an infection is found it is critical to retest to ensure that it's been eradicated. And lastly, since the immune system of a celiac or gluten intolerant individual can take a few years to reestablish once gluten and any offending organisms have been removed, annual testing is probably a good idea for a couple of years.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sometimes a Gluten-free Diet Isn't Enough...

A lot of patients find themselves in the position of having removed gluten from their diet, but they are still suffering health problems. These patients have made the Herculean effort to remove gluten entirely from their diet and while they improved - their health is still not where they would have hoped.

So what’s the problem?

In my clinical experience, I find that patients who are either Celiac or gluten intolerant are highly susceptible to intestinal infections. The damage which gluten causes to the lining of the small intestine also damages the integrity of the immune system within the intestines. Considering that it is estimated that every 10 minutes our intestines are exposed to a pathogenic (able to cause infection) organism, it is critical to good health that our immune systems are strong enough to destroy these organisms. Gluten intolerant individuals don’t have a strong immune system and thereby tend to contract infections.

You may think that if you had an intestinal infection you would have a fever, severe diarrhea or abdominal pain. While this can occur, more often than not, these infections are less extreme in their presentation. But they are not silent. A patient with an intestinal infection will not enjoy optimal health and, unfortunately, will not get the entire benefit of removing the offending gluten from their diet. When an infection is not present, the removal of gluten results in the healing of the intestines and the improved health and well being of the patient. In the presence of infection, the healing does not take place because the infectious organism continues to irritate the lining of the intestine and the patient does not improve markedly.

Most doctors who diagnose celiac disease or gluten intolerance only focus on the change of diet that is necessary. They don’t go the next step and rule out any hidden infection. Many times patients have been diagnosed with an infection and stated that they felt they had had an infection but were told that because they didn’t have a fever or acute diarrhea it was not possible.

If you have been avoiding gluten but haven’t seen all the benefits to your health which you had hoped, consider getting evaluated for hidden infection. We see this problem all the time in our patients and are happy to help you. Don't give up on your gluten-free diet! If you aren't seeing all the results you want, come see us to get evaluated.

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! Call 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!”