People diagnosed with celiac disease are typically advised to follow a “gluten-free” diet, unaware that gluten-free foods not only cause extravagant weight gain and high blood sugars, but can also reignite the celiac process.
They are also not told that there are several essential steps to take that need to be addressed if there is hope for full recovery.
Add these simple few changes and you stack the odds heavily in favor of full reversal of celiac disease.
Why do they say, that if you have celiac disease, being gluten-free is not enough? Well, plenty of reasons. These the kinds of conversations I have in my new Undoctored book Undoctored — Why Health Care Has Failed You And How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor. I also discuss these things further on the Undoctored Blog and websites — how to empower you in health, because the doctor is not doing his or her job.
If you have celiac disease diagnosed, either by a blood test, or by a biopsy, or a scope, etc. you’re told to go gluten-free. What does that mean? It means eliminate foods that contain gluten, this protein shared by wheat, rye and barley. You’re told to eat gluten-free foods. Sounds logical, right? Wrong — that’s an awful answer — many things wrong with that message.
For one thing, there’s many other problems in all grains. Grains like wheat, rye and barley are seeds of grasses. They share genetics with other seeds of grasses, or grains. For instance, the protein gluten (but more properly called gliadin, by the way) in wheat, rye and barley looks somewhat like the zein protein of corn.
Many people with celiac disease can have their inflammation reignited by eating corn, even gluten-free foods, because they’re made with corn starch. Now that’s corn starch, not corn protein, like zein, but the starch is contaminated by residues of zein protein. Gluten-free foods can, in many people with celiac disease, reactivate the celiac inflammation. Isn’t that stupid? So why were you told to eat gluten-free foods, typically made with corn starch? It’s often an awful thing to do.
So we do several things here. We go grain-free — all grains, not just wheat, rye and barley, but other grains, because there’s too many shared characteristics, including protein structures that reactivate inflammation. There are also other inflammatory proteins in wheat, rye, barley and other grains, like wheat germ agglutinin — sounds like gluten but it’s not related. It’s called wheat germ agglutinin because when red blood cells contact this protein, it agglutinates or clots your red blood cells. Wheat germ agglutinin is in wheat, rye and barley. It’s also in rice, so the rice starch used in gluten-free foods — it’s a starch, but it can be contaminated by the wheat germ agglutinin of rice.
Those are just some examples of how it’s not just wheat, rye, barley and gluten that are problems. There are other components in grains that are inflammatory, and can either keep the celiac inflammation alive, or only permit a partial response when you go gluten-free. So we are grain-free, and you should not eat gluten-free foods. They’re contaminated with proteins that will re-inflame your intestines.
What does it mean, if you want to have a pizza, or cheesecake? Well, you buy, make or recreate those foods with truly healthy benign flours and meals, like coconut flour, or almond flour. There are many good flours you can use. We look for the lower carb flours and you’ll see this re-creating in lots of the Wheat Belly and Undoctored recipes how to recreate common foods that are tasty and delicious, and do not re-inflame your intestinal tract.
You should have been told that you should not indulge in sugars or alcohol, or at least keep them to an absolute minimum. Most people with celiac disease also have dysbiosis (we’ll talk about that in a moment); dysbiosis meaning disrupted bowel flora. Sugars and alcohol are consumed by these unhealthy microorganisms, and they further inflame the intestines, when you feed these unhealthy microorganisms sugar and alcohol.
You should have been told that you have dysbiosis — disrupted bowel flora — virtually guaranteed. In the most severe cases, it’s called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Most the microorganisms in your intestine should be in your colon, but in severe cases they can ascend up to the 20-some feet of your small intestine, all the way up to the duodenum, even the stomach. They become infected, or colonized by unhealthy organisms. That’s common in people with celiac disease. It doesn’t reverse with being “gluten-free”.
You must make a purposeful effort to restore bowel flora. That’s a three-part process:
- We start with a high potency multi species probiotic, preferably 12 or more species preferably 50 billion CFUs (colony forming units) or more per day, and typically for six months to a year (longer than other people because you have a very severe intestinal inflammation).
- We also fold in fermented foods — very easy to do — discussed in the Undoctored book and many other places — how to ferment vegetables for instance.
- And lastly prebiotic fibers; the last step, but very very important — restoring fibers that nourish microorganisms.
These are absolutely necessary steps for you to restore healthy bowel flora. If you don’t, inflammation does not fully go away. This is discussed further in the Undoctored book; how to do this exactly, in great detail.
One thing I did not talk about sufficiently in the Undoctored book, which is not as common, is the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which I will discuss in future Undoctored online discussions.
You should have been told that vitamin D needs to be restored. Nearly everybody starts with a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t cause celiac disease, or other autoimmune conditions. Vitamin D deficiency allows other factors to trigger conditions, like celiac disease, and make it worse. So part of the formula for reversing celiac disease is to correct your vitamin D.
We do so very precisely by checking your 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood level. We aim for a blood level of 60 to 70 nanograms per milliliter, which typically requires 6000 units per day (sometimes more, when you have intestinal inflammation, because some of the vitamin D is intestinally absorbed). This is likewise discussed in the Undoctored book and the Undoctored websites, as well as the Wheat Belly Total Health book.
So there you go. Those are some additional steps anyone with celiac disease should be aware of. If you don’t address all those issues, you likely will not have a full response. It’s very common, for instance, for someone with celiac disease to say “I went gluten-free. I’m 70% better, but I still have diarrhea, and joint pain, and I don’t feel quite right, and I my mood is still bad.”, and they have other health problems.
Be aware that there are steps beyond the gluten-free diet, and that the gluten-free diet, unless you understand what you’re doing, can be a corrupt idea. Follow a grain free diet. Choose some foods that need to be a gluten free to avoid cross-contamination; that’s true also. But you’ll find that you have far better control over your condition.