DR. OZ, GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, AND
Doctor Oz's program was about GLUTEN --- a topic he has been all over the map on (after helping get the "GLUTEN FREE" bandwagon rolling, he turned around and said that most Gluten Free diets are a "scam"). In this particular episode, he had professional quarterback Matt Hasselback's wife on the program, who is a celebrity in her own right. She told her story about going from an undiagnosed Gluten-induced nightmare, to real health, vitality, and energy (and fertility). Getting off Gluten literally gave her her life back! The cool thing is that both of them were talking about some of the very same things that I have been talking about for quite some time in my clinic.
You see, for a huge segment of the population (particularly the 60 TO 100 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE AUTOIMMUNE), Gluten (wheat protein) is not just toxic; it's incredibly toxic. And it's not just incredibly toxic; it's neuro-toxic. It causes the body to progressively attack itself in all sorts of different and macabre ways --- particularly affecting THE GUT, the NERVE SYSTEM, and ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (especially the THYROID). What were some of the most common symptoms of Gluten Intolerance as listed by Hasselback, Dr. Oz, as well as their "Guest Panel" of three Gluten-Sensitive women? Below are some that they talked about. You should start to recognize that most of these are absurdly common, seem to be plaguing the majority of our population, and affect far more women than men.
- Weight Gain (HERE)
- Inability to Loose Weight (HERE)
- Hormonal Problems (mostly female --- including INFERTILITY)
- All Sorts of Digestion Problems (HERE is the most common)
- Diarrhea / Constipation (HERE)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (HERE)
- Migraine Headaches (HERE)
- Insomnia (HERE)
- Fatigue & Lethargy, Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia (HERE & HERE)
- Skin Rashes & Acne (HERE)
- Sugar and Carb Cravings & Systemic Yeast (HERE & HERE)
- Diminished Thyroid Function (HERE)
- Diminished Immune System Function (HERE)
- Arthritis (HERE)
- Autoimmunity (HERE)
Dr. Oz seemed to get this, and communicated it to his audience in typically-excellent fashion. I have to admit, I HAVE TAKEN DR. OZ TO TASK for some of the things he has promoted in the past, but for the most part, this program was good. As good as it was, I feel that he did not take the discussion as far as he could or should have.
Although they spent a good deal of time talking about the wide range of "Gluten Free" foods on the market (most of them crappy), they did not mention the fact that there are lots of people who have Gluten-Like reactions to foods that do not contain any Gluten. How does this happen? Although the mechanism behind Cross Reactivity is complicated, I will attempt to give you the oversimplified version.
Anyone who deals with Gluten Sensitive patients on a daily basis will tell you that many continue to have symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity --- even though they are completely and 100% off of Gluten. This is because many people are so Gluten-Intolerant that they have developed something called "GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY". These folks' immune systems recognize certain food proteins in their body as Gluten. Why? Because it recognizes proteins via their molecular configuration. For instance, every type of protein has a slightly different shape to it. In people who exhibit at least some degree of Gluten Sensitivity, their immune system recognizes said protein as Gluten. The body then makes antibodies to fight against this perceived invader --- Gluten.
However, for reasons that scientists cannot completely explain, the immune system can mistake similar-shaped molecules for Gluten, and then react to them exactly like it would react to Gluten. In fact, for many Gluten Intolerant people, these "Cross Reactive" foods can actually cause reactions that are indistinguishable from the reactions that a Gluten Intolerant person would get from ingesting (or simply coming in bodily contact with) Gluten! In other words, if a person has a positive test for Cross Reactivity to coffee, their body will react to coffee in the exact same manner that it reacts to Gluten (FYI, coffee is a common Gluten Cross Reactor). Although there are any number of others, here is the most common list of Cross Reactive foods.
GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY
- Cow's Milk
- Quinoa (A popular African Grain)
- Alpha and Beta-Casein (Milk Protein)
- Casomorphin (fragments of protein from the digestion of Casein)
- Butyrophilin (a protein associated with fat droplets in milk)
- American Cheese
For those of you who know what a challenge it is (at least at first) to stay off of Gluten, this list can make people break down and cry. The real kick in the teeth, however, is the fact that many of today's "Gluten-Free" products use these very foods as Gluten Substitutes (HERE)! What's a person to do? It all boils down to how much you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
There are new lab tests available that will tell you not only whether or not you are Gluten Sensitive, they will tell you on a scale of one to ten just how sensitive you are. They can also test for something called "Gluten Cross Reactivity". Cross Reactivity is a real problem because there are many common food items that act / react just like Gluten in a large segment of the "Gluten Intolerant" population.
The truth is, your best option for determining Gluten Cross Reactivity is to do an ELIMINATION DIET. To do an Elimination Diet, you simply remove all Gluten from the diet, as well as the Cross Reactive foods listed above. And by "all", I mean all. After a time, you can begin adding the Cross Reactive foods back to your diet one at a time (make sure that you keep very detailed records of this), taking careful note of what happens. If you react, that food is considered positive for Gluten Cross Reactivity. The drawback to this method is that it will take awhile to get through the process. The good thing is that if you are positive, you will react. There really aren't false negatives the way there can be with lab tests (I have personally seen a number of these).
It is important to keep in mind that Celiac Disease is heavily related to Autoimmunity (HERE). If you have any degree of autoimmunity (look at THE LIST --- I promise you'll be shocked), you have to assume that you are to some degree, Gluten Sensitive. And unfortunately, once one's Immune System has been primed for Autoimmunity, it can never be turned off again. However, it can be turned way down ---- suppressed if you will, by watching what you eat as well as trying to control other variables. Some of the "variables" that can trigger Autoimmune Reactions in your body include STRESS, INFLAMMATION, acute and chronic INFECTIONS, environmental chemicals (HERE is one that women should know about), and physical trauma / CHRONIC PAIN.
Oh, and in case you are one of those people who has actually been tested for Celiac Disease, but came up negative despite the fact that you have every symptom ----- just realize that regardless of what your doctor tries to tell you, you are almost certainly Gluten Intolerant. It frankly does not matter if you are "officially" Celiac or not. If you are Gluten Sensitive, your body can have the exact same reactions to Gluten as someone with Celiac Disease --- in many cases worse. Testing negative for Celiac Disease simply means that your biopsy came back negative because you did not yet have enough damage to the micro-villi in your small intestine to qualify.