Opera tenor does Wheat Belly

Jon, an attorney, left this wonderful story of newly-discovered relief from the plagues of acid reflux sans wheat:

I have been wheat-free for the last 6 weeks since reading your book.

I am a 43-year old male and have suffered from acid-reflux for the last 20 years (maybe longer). I first noticed severe symptoms in my first year at law school. For approximately the last 5-years (prior to reading your book) I “managed” my reflux by eating frequent small meals, taking Nexium and avoiding triggers such as raw onions, chicken fat and caffeine.

Within days of going wheat-free the reflux left and has not returned! No longer do chicken fat and raw onions cause excess acid and my esophagus to cramp and spasm in terrible pain. In fact, none of the paleo foods I have tried have bothered my stomach. After 6-weeks, I think it”s safe to assume that it was the wheat in combination with the impugned foods and not the impugned foods in and of themselves that were the problem.

Not only did going wheat-free alleviate a chronic discomfort, it has allowed me to re-pursue my avocation with renewed vigor. I am an opera singer in my spare and sometimes not-so-spare time. Both the fear and the real effect of reflux on my vocal chords often wreaked havoc on my physical and mental preparation for concerts and shows. I am thrilled to say that both the fear of reflux and the reflux itself are gone. I recently performed a Bach cantata while wheat-free and there was no trace of reflux before, during or after the show. For me, that was remarkable.

Needless to say, I am singing the praises of your book.

Relief from acid reflux is among the most consistent observations of the wheat-free. The $100 billion–Billion–annual market for acid reflux-suppressing drugs, among the biggest selling drugs ever made such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix, has been an incredible cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry. Imagine this market drying up as more and more people go wheat-free and spare themselves from the long-term side-effects of osteoporosis, vitamin B12 deficiency, and increased potential for pneumonia characteristic of this class of drugs.

Sorry, Jon, if you are not a tenor. But I’d love to hear some of your performance. Any links to recordings?

This entry was posted in Acid reflux, Gastrointestinal effects of wheat. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Opera tenor does Wheat Belly

  1. Carol Schriner says:

    I have had a great reduction in my reflux since becoming wheat free but I am unable to get off the Omeprazole without getting rebound/withdrawl heart burn…..any suggestions? Carol S

    • Dr. Davis says:

      The “rebound” effect is quite real.

      I believe it”s best to work with your doctor to “wean” yourself off.

    • Tonya says:

      I found relief — complete relief– from taking a supplement called D-Limonene, available at your local health food store. I did not buy the most expensive one. The least expensive one worked just fine. You can find information on D-Limonene on many websites, but one of my favorites is dirtdoctor.com
      Hope this helps you.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Carol
      I’ve recently suffered really badly with acid reflux and was tired of taking the Omepazole which seems to be the only answer for the Drs, so I went to the health shop and ask if they had a herbal alternative. They suggested a natrual fresh herb tincture called Centaurium which I am now taking instead together with a non-wheat diet, it seems to be doing the trick and have now had an episode since.

      Also, if you’re interested I went to a Natropathic therapist who suggested I have a colonic which have also relieved a lot of the pressure and bloatedness I had in my stomach. She said the pressure from this area was causing the acid reflux and I must say I feel physically better already and have book another session for next week.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Linda

    • Marie-Claude says:

      May be you should try stopping the omeprazole gradually. That’s what my doctor recommended and it worked ! Could start with 6 days out of 7, 5… and so. Or/and lower the dosage gradually by cutting the pill.

  2. Eugene says:

    Osteoporosis is a side effect of acid reducing drugs? I”ve been on Prevacid (and other acid reducers) for about eight years now, and I have never of this.

    I”m about 90% wheat free for about three months now, and I”m still on the medication. I drink a lot of coffee, so I wonder if that”s the cause of the heartburn.

    Thank you for your book.

    • Uncle Roscoe says:

      Eugene: “I”m about 90% wheat free for about three months now, and I”m still on the medication.”

      If you should learn anything from Dr. Davis you should learn that you can”t receive 99.9% of the benefit of wheat reduction without *totally* eliminating wheat. *Totally* eliminate wheat for a couple of weeks, then testify about your remaining symptoms.

      Hang in there. It gets easier.

    • Todd B says:

      Eugene,

      Osteoporosis is not automatic, but long term use of proton-pump inhibitors (“PPI”) use certainly appears to increase the risk.

      See Here:

      “By lowering stomach acid levels, PPIs might affect the body’s absorption of calcium, which in turn could lead to osteoporosis and fractures. Researchers found a link between long-term use of PPIs and hip fractures. Their results also suggested that the risk increased the longer people were taking PPIs, which is the kind of dose-response relationship that researchers look for when deciding whether a correlation might indicate a causal relationship.”
      http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/do-ppis-have-long-term-side-effects.shtml

      “Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (like esomeprazole [Nexium], lansoprazole [Prevacid], and omeprazole [Prilosec]) may increase the risk of osteoporosis. A 2008 study found that among 63,000 adults over age 50, the 15,792 who had an osteoporosis-related fracture were twice as likely to have used the medication for at least seven years. Those who had a hip fracture were 62% more likely to have used a proton pump inhibitor for at least five years.
      Although the connection isn”t completely understood, it”s believed that gastric acid helps remove calcium from the food you eat. If you reduce your levels of gastric acid by taking a proton pump inhibitor, it makes sense that you will absorb less calcium, which is essential to bone strength.”
      http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/digestive_health/JohnsHopkinsDigestiveDisordersHealthAlert_3633-1.html

  3. ri says:

    Hi Dr Davis just curious what the connection between dandruff and wheat is because since cutting back drastically on wheat my dandruff has seemed to disappear im also taking a multivitamin and omegas wonder if that has anything to do with it-either way im happy because its a very embarassing problem thats hard to get rid of!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thanks, Cancer. Very compelling argument.

    • Ulli says:

      This immediately reminds me of raw feeding our pets: when people switch their cats from kibble and canned food full of grains and other species inappropriate junk to raw meat and bones the most significant difference they notice after only a few days is the change of the fur to shiny and strong and dander-free. I know from my own experience and I”ve heard it from several other people who are highly allergic to cats that they have little to no allergic reaction to raw fed cats, cat dander being the famous allergen that many people react so strongly to. I myself live happily with two raw fed cats and healthy fur but if I enter a home with kibble fed cats my sinuses clog up after only a few minutes. And the poor kitties have a coat dry and coarse and full of dandruff (besides numerous other health issues that also resemble human diseases on a species inappropriate diet like diabetes and obesity and arthritis).
      I think that if getting rid of non-food crap in a feline”s diet gets rid of dandruff, obesity, etc. why shouldn”t it in our human diet? Neither the cats nor us are birds and meant to eat all those grains, especially the mutant gmo wheat.

      • Dr. Davis says:

        Hi, Ulli–

        And to think that our cats and dogs have been telling us all these years that grains are bad!

      • Jennifer says:

        Raw fed cats? I have never heard of raw feeding your pets…..huh! Our dog has no thyroid and her fur is so beyond thick we have to have her trimmed twice a year. I wonder if raw feeding would help her? We have her on holistic dog food now so no grains but…..any websites on the subject that you would recommend?

      • Kelly C. says:

        It’s safe to feed my cats raw meat? I’ve never heard of that before. I’m allergic to my two cats but can’t get rid of them, so I’ll have to look into this.

  4. Rick says:

    Well,I am an MD and had been been on meds for GERD for 30 years. My dad and grandad had the same issues all their lives so I just figured it was meant to be. Went gluten free in May, symptoms gone within 72 hours. Have yet to take a pill or have any indigestion since. Oh yes, I am also my “wedding weight” of 30 years ago now as well. Funny thing is that even when I tell my patients this story, many are HORRIFIED at the thought of giving up their bread/cereal/cookies. Carb or gluten addtiction? Either way: addiction! Those that have tried this out think I am way smarter then Dr Oz. Then I tell them to read Wheat Belly!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thanks, Dr. Rick!

      We need more enlightened physicians like you. As you experienced, there are no drugs or procedures involved, just a simple shift in diet and many, many people obtain nearly immediate and dramatic relief from such common GI complaints as acid reflux.

      • Kim says:

        Hi Dr Rick,
        Tell your patients they can modify most any recipe to be wheat-free by substituting coconut flour and/or nut flours. These recipes taste great and help the craving period during transition. Dr. Davis has some on this site, and the web has many.

        One thing that they won”t understand now is that in a couple weeks of being off starches and wheat, etc. they really won”t crave those things anymore. But that”s a big leap in faith when you”ve never tried it. So I just tell interested friends, here”s a good recipe for brownies, or pie crust, etc. You can change anything over once you get the hang of it. That usually helps there “fear” of letting go of “comfort” foods.

      • Jennifer says:

        I am SO happy to hear you say this! I’ve been taking a proton pump inhibitor since I was 22, I’m 37 and had my gall bladder removed in 2011. I read the book some time ago but chose to ignore it…..I recently realized wheat and grains are the only things I have not cut out for an extended period of time. In the past when I’ve tried to wean myself from Prevacid, I was so miserable I gave up after a day or two. I am 2 days into eliminating gluten, and I think I’ll try not popping a pill in the next few days.

  5. Neicee says:

    My husband refuses to believe that just laying off the carbs, in all forms, will help with his tummy problems. He”s another longterm fan of taking antiacids and liquid stuff to settle it. He travels with a shaving kit jammed with the things he can”t leave home without. Thanks for more ammunition against grains and worthless carbs.

  6. Teresa says:

    As someone formerly addicted to carbs I must say that I am amazed at how easily I was able to give them up. I just imagine the skull and crossbones of the poison sign when I see bread, bagels, cupcakes, etc. and find it very easy to skip those. Living in the SF bay area I grew up eating sourdough bread. I never thought I could give it up along with bagels and English muffins for breakfast. I DO NOT MISS BREAD AT ALL!!! As a teacher there seem to be bagels, cakes, doughnuts, etc.. in the staff room all the time! I am now able to resist them. Wheat Free is the way I am meant to be!!!!

  7. caralex says:

    Dr Davis,
    Could the elimination of wheat also eliminate hypothyroidism, and remove the need for a daily Eltroxin pill?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      No, unlikely, Caralex.

      Wheat elimination can occasional modify thyroid performance and thereby need for thyroid hormone replacement. But it rarely affects thyroid hormone production sufficient to get rid of thyroid hormone. Part of the reason is that you and I, living in a modern world, are exposed to numerous halogenated organochemicals that like to gain access to your thyroid gland to disrupt its function, such as perchlorates and polyfluorooctanoic acid.

  8. Karin says:

    Hi, all. It is so great to read this blog and everyone”s comments. I just started reading Wheat Belly and it touched my heart. Something clicked. I”ve always been looking into food to help me reduce my health problems and I did remove sugar because of a repeated low sugar experience (I never leave the house without sandwiches, because I might need them any moment). I just never looked at wheat for this! I did give up bread every now and then, because of a sensitivity to gluten (IgG, no Celiac).
    Dr. Davis somewhere mentioned the year 1985 as the year wheat changed in Europe. That”s funny; that”s the year I got sick. Of course, that probably is a coincidence, but a bit of renewed enthusiasm in my journey is ok. :)

    I just know I have to test this thing once and for all in the right way. I don”t want to lose weight and I do have some other food sensitivities as well as problems with digesting animal protein, but maybe, just maybe, I”m closer to the origin of all of this. And let”s see what it will do for my cfs (Chronic Fatique Syndrome).

    The reason I finally leave a reply on this blog, is because I want to share a link with you all. I”ve stumbled upon these (Paleo) recipes and I”ve tried a few of them so far: the ”pizza crust”, made of aubergine (!) and the chocolates. They were fantastic! I trust that the other recipes will be as delicious as well. Wow, this is going to be a fantastic adventure and path to a more healthy body!

    Thank you, Dr. Davis, for this great and highly interesting book
    I hope it”s ok that I post this link here, and sorry for my not so perfect use of the English language (I”m Dutch). :)

    http://www.rocofit.com/category/primal-recipes/

  9. J. Minten says:

    After many years of suffering from acid reflux I was finally put on prescription meds 13 years ago. I couldn’t go a day w/o them. Even with Nexium, I would have episodes of GERD. I started WB in October, 2011, and after about a month realized that I was having no reflux, so I decided to quit taking Nexium. And guess what, I have not had another one since, and I also haven’t had any attacks. Ditto for Celebrex and my terrible arthritis pain.

    The secret is eliminating wheat and grains 100%. I also eliminated potatoes, rice, corn, sugar, and other high carb foods. I’ve lost 41 pounds.

  10. Hi, DR.Davies,
    Peggy here with great news. Three weeks wheat/dairy/sugar free. I’ev been promoting your book, which has and still is 50 years of research. Food/ilness affective for years, now i have the science behind it. Nasal congestion,bone aches and a lot of discomfort is resolving. One particular amino acid L-Glutamine powder support the intestinal cells healing. At present time; researching Leaky Gut;Candida related. Stay tuned.
    Happy Health,
    PC

  11. MaryMK says:

    I am wheat free for approx. three months and have been 99% free of GERD but now it’s back–and with a vengeance. I’m puzzled. The only thing I can think of is that it’s summer and I have been eating some watermelon but not a lot. Do xylitol and sucralose cause GERD? I use both. I hope someone can help me. Thanks.

  12. Robin says:

    @MaryMK.
    Hi Mary. I had pretty much the same problem. The reflux had lessened but was still there periodically. I had a comment from another here who said to try eliminating flax seed. I’ve been wheat-free since about February ’12 and realised that lately I’m not getting the reflux. I started taking a probiotic (50 billion organisms), as suggested by Dr Davis, a while ago & I take fish oil (Hoki, a NZ fish). I haven’t tested flaxseed again so I might update here after I do. The thing is, keep being wheat-free, if not grain-free. It might just take a bit longer to repair. Good luck!

  13. Robin says:

    I’m blog travelling & found a comment on paleoforwomen.com/phytoestrogens-estrogens-and-estrogen-receptors/ about flax seed. It’s from Janknitz on June 29. Sounds like too much flax seed is not a good thing, at least for her. I’ll still try it again one day to test it on myself but I wouldn’t be having 1/4 C of it each day. I just want to see if it has any effect on my reflux. Onwards …

  14. Jill says:

    My 18 yr. old son has been eating gf for about 8 months. He has had two episodes of acid reflux and gastritis during that time. He eats very clean and am wondering what else could be going on. The episodes were about 6 months apart. He uses aloe juice and apple cider vinegar to help breakdown food, balance ph and sooth his stomach lining. Episodes last for about 2-3 weeks.

  15. Robin says:

    Well, although I haven’t quite figured it out yet, I was getting only the very occasional and light suggestion of reflux. Just this last week, though, I added a little bit of flaxseed flour to my almond/coconut flour mix and the reflux returned. Yesterday, I added more flaxseed to a bun I made for breakfast and had the worst reflux I’ve had for a few months – not as bad as it used to be but still very annoying. The stupid thing is, I didn’t even connect it until much later. So, it would seem that flaxseed triggers reflux for me. We live and learn.

  16. gwen kennedy says:

    I have reflux disease which I am on medication 2 but still have lots of discomfort like belching and bloating will going wheat free help me

  17. Liat Gat says:

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I’ve been wheat-free for almost a month now (yay!) and already my friends are telling me, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but you look amazing!” I of course tell them. I have bought copies of your book for my family members, too.

    One thing I need to ask for your advice about is that I am having pretty bad acid reflux now. I used to get it sometimes, before going wheat-free, but it’s happening before and after almost every meal now. If I wait a little too long to eat, or if I eat a little too much, I get bad acid reflux, or even if I don’t do anything wrong, I get it. I’ve been chasing my meals with a baking-soda-and-water cocktail to try to relieve the acid.

    I don’t know what to do, but it’s not going away on its own. So I thought I’d ask for your advice. I am a 30-year-old female with a desk job. I go to Bikram yoga every day, and to replace the sweat I drink about 1-2 liters of salt-and-lemon water. I just tell you this in case it affects your advice at all.

    Do you have any advice for me?

    Thank you!

    Liat

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You may be among the few who, despite elimination of the offensive agent (wheat), are left with residual gastrointestinal dysfunction that may require additional investigation/treatment.

      Should this persist, you might benefit from an evaluation from a functional medicine practitioner to determine whether a lifetime of wheat/grain consumption has left you with effects like stomach hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid), pancreatic insufficiency (low levels of pancreatic digetive enzymes), or failed CCK signaling (for pancreatic enzyme release).

      Key: Recognize that wheat was the initial inciting agent. Then deal with the residual effects.

      Please come back and update us with your experience!

      • Liat Gat says:

        Thank you so much for your quick response and thoughtful answer! I will look for a functional medicine practitioner near where I live and look into this. I’ll let y’all know how it goes!

      • Liat Gat says:

        Update: I decided to do a 14-day trial of Prilosec just to see what would happen (I know that’s what a regular doctor would tell me to start with, anyway). The heartburn is gone completely. Yay! I was suffering so much.

        After the 14 days are up, I’ll see if it comes back, and then see about finding a functional medicine practitioner here near Aspen.

  18. Liat Gat says:

    Oh, and I’ve been taking a probiotic I got at the grocery store, as well as vitamin D.

  19. Scarlettbama says:

    Hi Dr. Davis and Liat Gat!

    Day One of WB program. Today. Saving up to buy WB book ;O(. Lots of issues correction to address via WB.
    Excited that WB Recipes book out shortly.

    Thrilled to have available blog, recipes ideas shared. Much appreciated!

    Blessings, one and all!

    Scarlett

  20. lorhen says:

    There is a book called “Dropping Acid” by Jamie Kaufman, MD.. It is all about how to rid yourself of reflux… GERD and even LPR type of silent reflux. It calls for eliminating certain foods that are over 5 on the acidity scale. I bought the book and am following the diet which is similar to a grain free diet and found it helped reduce my symptoms of LPR…. Hope this helps someone…

    • Justin says:

      I am also reading the book “Dropping Acid” which you referenced here and I was recently diagnosed with acid reflux and was given an RX for Protonix. I have been eating low-carb and wheat free for over 2 years now and am surprised that I have this issue. The only thing I can figure is that it was caused by the large amount of Diet Mt. Dew that I was drinking- and have since given up. However the “Dropping Acid” book contradicts “Wheat Belly” because it encourages eating bread, oatmeal, and other high carb foods and avoiding most meats and all cheeses. In fact, it says that eating high fat foods (meats and cheeses) can increase the levels of acid in your stomach- but that eating whole grain wheat bread is not a problem. I am definitely a fan of “Wheat Belly” as well as the book by Gary Taubes- and they have helped my digestive issues significantly. However, I have developed acid reflux- which gives me the constant feeling of something stuck in my throat- and am not sure which direction to go now. The doctor just told me “Take protonix, and you can eat whatever you want” This is not how I want to live- being dependent on a drug forever. Any suggestions?

      • Dr. Davis says:

        Yes: Get rid of your doctor.

        You need a smarter assessment of issues like hypochlorhydria and pancreatic insufficiency, issues that can persist or be unmasked by your wheat-free experience. This will likely need to come from a functional medicine practitioner.

        • Justin says:

          Dr. Davis,
          Okay I will definitely find one here in Utah. I appreciate your suggestions and your books- they are life changing. Best of luck.

          Justin