Follow the Wheat Belly lifestyle and literally hundreds of diseases can be reversed: type 2 diabetes reverts to normal within weeks to months (depending on how much weight needs to be lost to restore insulin sensitivity), fatty liver reverses to normal within a few weeks, skin rashes recede, IBS and acid reflux are gone within days in the majority, high triglycerides plummet, even several forms of kidney disease can reverse.
But there are health conditions that, once established, can leave effects that can be irreversible even if the initial causative condition reverses. For example, type 2 diabetes can cause kidney damage signaled by a rise in blood levels of creatinine (normal is around 1.0 mg/dl) and loss of protein in the urine. Reverse diabetes and enjoy a drop in HbA1c from, say, 11% to 5.0%—no longer diabetic—and creatinine may drop from a near-complete kidney failure level of 4.0 to 2.5–but not all the way back to normal and urinary protein loss can persist. Residual kidney damage remains, leaving the kidneys susceptible to future additional damage and failure. Another example is type 1 diabetes: Damage to pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin is initiated by the gliadin protein of wheat/rye/barley, the zein protein of corn, or the casein beta A1 of dairy and, after the offending proteins have been removed from the diet, the pancreas does not recover and type 1 diabetes persists for life, causing lifelong reliance on insulin injections.
Other examples include:
Cirrhosis—Grains and sugars cause elevation of the AST and ALT markers that reflect damage to liver tissue called “fatty liver” (so-called because there is fat deposition in the liver; it is not from consumption of fat). Banish grains and sugars and AST and ALT drop to normal within 2-3 weeks. But the fibrous replacement of liver tissue persists, as does diminished liver capacity to handle toxins, nutrients, synthesize proteins, etc. Similarly, if autoimmune hepatitis reverses with grain elimination, liver damage can persist.
Gastric parietal cell loss—People who have lost the parietal cells of their stomach responsible for acid production typically do not regrow these cells, even after the gliadin protein of wheat and related grains—responsible for initiating the autoimmune destruction of the cells—have been eliminated. This leaves you with hypo- or achlorhydria, i.e., reduction or absence of stomach acid. This is why so many people seem to do better by adding such things as apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride that partially compensates for the lack of stomach acid. (This situation also leaves you highly prone to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO.)
Diseases associated with endogenous glycation—I discussed the common process of endogenous glycation in the original Wheat Belly book. Glycation is the product of high blood sugars reacting with various body proteins, a process that is irreversible once it occurs. And it occurs every time your blood sugar rises above 100 mg/dl. So when your doctor tells you that it’s okay to have a high blood sugar as long as it does not exceed 200 mg/dl, he/she is ensuring a future of disease. The long-term consequences of glycation can take many forms that include cataracts, heart disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, arthritis, age spots and skin aging, and kidney disease. Glycation is cumulative: the more you glycate, the more the debris of glycation accumulate.
Atherosclerosis—Accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary and carotid arteries is cumulative. Atherosclerosis can be reduced by following all Wheat Belly Total Health and Undoctored strategies, as evidenced, for example, by reductions of heart scan scores. But atherosclerosis does not typically reverse to zero; some degree of residual plaque will remain.
Autoimmune thyroid disease—The damage incurred with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease usually does not reverse even after the offending gliadin protein of wheat and related grains are removed. This is why people can reduce their thyroid antibody levels back to normal, signaling quiescence of autoimmune inflammation, but remain reliant on taking thyroid hormones.
There is more, but those are among the most common.
The key is therefore to engage in the Wheat Belly grain-free lifestyle as early in life as possible and not delay before irreversible damage occurs. So many health conditions reverse on the Wheat Belly lifestyle but not all the consequences can be reversed.