Thankfully, there are numerous examples of health conditions that are reversible by adopting the Wheat Belly lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, and hypertension, for instance, are quickly reversed back to normal in the majority by adopting all Wheat Belly strategies. We have such extravagant success because, in addition to the changes in diet we make, we also address nutrient deficiencies that are common and add to insulin resistance; correct them and insulin resistance reverses in the majority. Go even farther by addressing dysbiosis and SIBO/SIFO, and you reduce endotoxemia that further reverses insulin resistance. In short, the Wheat Belly lifestyle in its entirety exerts magnificent effects in reversing numerous common health conditions.
Sadly, not all health conditions are reversible. For example, have type 2 diabetes long and severe enough and kidney failure and diabetic retinal disease can become established, conditions that are permanent and largely irreversible. Damage your thyroid due to wheat gliadin protein- or endotoxemia-induced thyroid autoimmunity and you will likely have to take thyroid hormones for the rest of your life. Sometimes the disease is irreversible from the start, such as type 1 diabetes in children, or becomes irreversible over time as damage accumulates.
Among the health conditions caused by wheat and grain consumption that are irreversible:
- Diabetic kidney disease–While I have indeed witnessed modest reductions in serum creatinine (a reflection of kidney function), kidney function virtually never reverses back to normal.
- Diabetic retinal disease–that over time leads to blindness.
- Type 1 diabetes—As well as the related latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood, LADA, both of which mean that insulin must be injected for the rest of your life.
- Autoimmune pancreatitis–that damages both beta cells that produce insulin and the cells that produce digestive enzymes.
- Autoimmune thyroid inflammation—Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, if allowed to persist several months, results in irreversible thyroid gland damage, meaning thyroid hormone replacement will be necessary for a lifetime.
- Autoimmune gastritis—This condition, that I believe is much more common than generally suspected, leaves you with difficulty digesting proteins such as meats and more prone to SIBO and SIFO due to the loss of stomach acid, “hypochlorhydria.”
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—People with celiac disease and the many more people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (also an immune response-mediated process) are at increased risk for lymphoma, as well as enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL).
- Fetal loss—Miscarriages are increased by antibodies against wheat proteins, especially against the gliadin protein.
There are also health conditions caused by wheat/grain consumption that, while reversible, can lead to irreversible consequences. People who have grand mal seizures, for example, that results in serious injury, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that leads to goiter and prompts an ignorant ear, nose, and throat surgeon to remove your thyroid (shockingly, a common outcome) are irreversible.
There are also health conditions, typically autoimmune neurological conditions. that are only partially reversible, since nervous system tissue is poor at recovering after injury. This list includes cerebellar ataxia that leads to incoordination and incontinence and eventually death, typically in your fifties. It includes “idiopathic” peripheral neuropathy that can lead to intractable leg pain, incoordination, and injury.
It’s a scary list with conditions that have either no solutions or unpleasant solutions such as dialysis, blindness, or chemotherapy. The key is obviously to engage in a wheat- and grain-free lifestyle as soon as you become aware that such irreversible conditions can develop because, once they develop, there is no turning back and you are left with the consequences. I tell you all this because, if you remain on the fence about ditching wheat and grains forever, do it before it’s too late, no matter what silly dietary guidelines tell you.