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Thread: A Gluten-free Diet is a Very Good Idea

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    2nd November 2008

    Default A Gluten-free Diet is a Very Good Idea

    Dr Vikki Petersen
    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    If you follow me at all on Youtube you may have seen a rather agitated/angry me last week. After hearing about a Night Line report where the theme was that if you weren’t a diagnosed celiac, eating a gluten-free diet could be “dangerous” (in quotes because it isn’t true!), I became incensed. While I could likely write a book on it, (oh wait I already have!) I will keep my remarks more brief, but very much to the point, by focusing on a specific disease whose association with gluten sensitivity is stronger than its association with celiac. In other words, gluten sensitivity is a stronger causative agent, it is believed, in this disease than celiac is.

    On Night Line, Dr Peter Green was quoted as answering the following question thusly: The question: Are there any benefits to a gluten-free diet for people who don’t have celiac? Dr Green’s response: “Not that I’m aware of.”

    The comment implies that removing gluten from the diet of anyone except a celiac has no proven benefit. Let’s take a look at why that’s completely incorrect. I have chosen a very specific, very debilitating disease that has been well researched to show that removing gluten from a non-celiac could prove to be of great benefit.

    Schizophrenia may not seem to be a common illness, but in fact it affects 1% of our population, the same as celiac. At a 1% incidence both diseases are considered fairly common.

    In an article entitled: “The gluten connection: the association between schizophrenia and celiac disease” published 28 November 2005 in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Vol 113, Issue 2 pp 82-90, the authors state that “schizophrenia is considered one of the top 10 causes of disability worldwide”. They go on to state that: “Given the immense cost to society, successful treatment options are imperative. Based on initial findings, gluten withdrawal may serve as a safe and economical alternative for the reduction of symptoms in a subset of patients.” [emphasis my own]

    Interesting… are they referring to only celiac or is gluten sensitivity a factor here? For the answer let’s look at a more recent study. In Schizophrenia Bulletin (2009), published online June 3, 2009, an article entitled “Prevalence of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in the United States Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Study Population” came to some fascinating conclusions.

    In this study, the schizophrenia group consisted of the blood samples of 1401 individuals , while the comparison, or control, group was formed by blood samples from 900 people. The blood samples were evaluated for antigliadin antibodies (AGA) as well as tissue transglutaminase[FONT='Lucida Sans Unicode','sans-serif'] antibodies (tTG). As you may recall the tTG is a classic test to evaluate for celiac as it demonstrates tissue damage of the small intestine, a hallmark of that disease, while AGA are more aligned to gluten sensitivity as the test reveals that the immune system is reacting negatively to the protein gluten but no dramatic tissue damage to the small intestine is occurring. [/font]

    Of the schizophrenia blood samples, 23.1% had moderate to high levels of AGA compared with only 3.1% of the comparison group, while 5.4% of the schizophrenia population and only 0.80% of the comparison group had moderate to high levels of tTG antibodies.

    The authors made it very clear what definitions they employed when they used the term gluten sensitivity, “a nonallergic response to gluten” and celiac “an autoimmune response in subjects genetically predisposed”. This is important as not everyone makes the same distinctions between the two, but I do concur with the researchers of this study.

    Their conclusions were as follows: “The most important finding of this study is the elevated proportion of schizophrenia patients, compared with a comparison sample of individuals, … with moderate to high …AGA of the type indicating … a specific immune response to gluten. One out of 4.3 people with schizophrenia was positive for … AGA as compared with only one out of 32.1 in the control population.” [When you see “…”I’m only omitting highly scientific terms that would just tend to confused – I promise I haven’t changed the meaning whatsoever.

    Please note that this is a 7.5 times increased risk of gluten sensitivity in the schizophrenic population over the control, representing 23% of the population tested- 322 people in this study alone!

    The researchers state that their samples identify two distinct groups of patients: The major group is represented by patients with elevated AGA (23%) and is identifiable as having gluten sensitivity and the second group with a smaller but still unusually high characteristic of CD

    I ask you, do you think the 322 people in this study had the right to know that they were gluten sensitive? How about the 713,000 people in the United States alone– that’s 23% of the 1% suffering from schizophrenia! If one of those people was part of your family or network of friends would you want them to know? Of course.

    But according to Night Line, the risk that perhaps they won’t get enough fiber or B vitamins or calcium should prevent those people from ever trying a gluten-free diet. Does that seem like a good idea to you? Me either!

    Please understand the same could be said for many diseases and conditions from which millions suffer on a daily basis. And when I mentioned that I’d written a book about it I wasn’t kidding. “The Gluten Effect” was published last year and written to address this very problem. We encountered patient after patient who was gluten sensitive and for whom the removal of gluten created dramatic, life-changing effects. But they were not celiac. Would it have been ethically correct to have them continue eating gluten simply because they didn’t have celiac disease? It’s hard for me to even write the question as it is so ridiculous. But there are factions in the celiac community who actually would agree with Night Line’s message. Please don’t fall for it. We will look back at this period of time and realize that many were stuck in an outdated definition that was too narrow to embrace the facts: gluten can affect the body in many ways and create many health problems. Some develop celiac, some don’t, but all are affected negatively.

    My goal is to improve the lives and health of everyone I possibly can, regardless of their health problem. But when it comes to gluten I think it’s time we embrace the facts: Whether gluten sensitive or celiac, gluten is a highly deleterious substance and screening for both conditions must occur early and often to preserve our health.

    I’m here to help. Will you help me spread the word? Thank you, in advance.

    To your good health,
    Dr Vikki Petersen
    Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
    Co-author of the bestselling “The Gluten Effect”
    Last edited by Islander; 11-24-10 at 06:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    24th September 2007
    West Virginia

    Default Re: A Gluten-free Diet is a Very Good Idea

    Makes sense to try a gluten-free diet if the person is suffering from schizophrenia-it won't hurt and may help.
    That disease is a living hell for patients and their families.

    I checked the blogspot link in the article Aaltrude posted and the blog looks very good.
    Thank you, Aaltrude.
    Last edited by Reesacat; 11-24-10 at 10:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    2nd November 2008

    Default Re: A Gluten-free Diet is a Very Good Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Reesacat
    I checked the blogspot link in the article Aaltrude posted and the blog looks very good.
    Thank you, Aaltrude.
    This was posted by Dr Rodney Ford on his FB page. He is a NZ Paediatric Gastroenterologist and is otherwise known as "Dr Gluten". Anything coming from him should be reliable.

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