© 2014 Dr. Sharon Norling
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Gluten and Intestinal Permeability
The landscape of healthcare and clinical practice is changing quickly, with more and more people today developing chronic illness, chronic pain, and unresolved conditions. Many of these individuals do not have a diagnosable disease.
Patients may have a long list of symptoms and ailments, but with conventional testing, these are dismissed and overlooked.
What do you do when the conventional labs show that everything is normal? You look good on paper but you know you are not well. You know you don’t have the energy, stamina, and mental clarity you once enjoyed. Perhaps you are suffering from depression, brain fog, fatigue, poor muscle endurance or poor recovery from illnesses.
You still may be experiencing autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, or other degenerative conditions after years of medical care.
Leaky Gut, Chronic Inflammation, Gluten Insensitivity and Autoimmune Disease
Are you plagued by gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms? Are you afraid to go out to dinner because it could be your worst nightmare? The most obvious symptoms of intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, are common symptoms such as bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea.
Many people suffer from chronic inflammatory responses to their foods or diets. Gluten sensitivity and hidden food allergies are frequent causes of leaky gut. Other causes can be poor food choices, sugar, medications, stress, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, insomnia, and autoimmune disease (AI).
If these conditions are present it is very important to have proper laboratory testing. You should be aware that intestinal permeability does not always have intestinal symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation, which can create intestinal permeability and both can cause AI. There is no cure for AI.
Testing is critical. How can you prevent something or heal a condition if you do not know the underlying cause or issue?
Specialty Lab Testing is Available
Cyrex labs Array 2 can diagnose intestinal permeability. This is the only currently available profile lab testing the immune reaction in intestinal permeability. Metametrix GI labs uses DNA testing for the best accuracy in identifying intestinal infections.
Gram negative bacteria in the GI tract has been shown in research to cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Type 1 diabetes has been associated with the triad of intestinal infection, intestinal permeability and an altered mucosal immune response. Diabetes, 2008, Oct.
Leaky gut has also been associated with chronic heart failure, inflammatory bowel syndrome and obesity. If you have obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance you may want to have your doctor check your stool! In the pediatric literature leaky gut has been related to type 1 diabetes, allergies, asthma, and autism.
Clearly, intestinal permeability (leaky gut) has a major impact on your health. The first step is always finding the underlying cause of the disease or symptoms. Using specialty labs will give you the information you and your doctor need in order to make an individual plan for you.
Remember, intestinal permeability can cause AIs and gluten sensitivity can cause both. Many routine labs report false negatives and miss the diagnosis of gluten sensitivity. Gluten can cause destruction in the GI tract causing severe malnourishment. The Cyrex array 3 is an accurate test for gluten sensitivity.
One Patient’s Experience
One of my patients is a 17-year-old, 6 foot 3 inch tall boy who came to me weighing 100 pounds. He had been sick for years with abdominal pain, fatigue and suffering lack of focus and mental clarity. He had missed weeks of school, spent little time with his friends, and had difficulty with his school work. He saw his pediatrician regularly over the years. He was told he was anorexic and depressed. He was referred to a psychiatrist.
When his mother brought him to me it was obvious he was sick. He was tested for food allergies and gluten sensitivity. He had severe reactions to both.
Once he avoided the offending foods, his abdominal pains went away, he began to get his focus back and his cognitive function improved significantly. He was able to attend school regularly, his grades improved, and he gained 35 pounds in a matter of months. Today he is smiling, happy, spending time with his friends, applying to colleges, and is pain-free.
Cross-Reactions and Autoimmune Disease
Sources of gluten include wheat, spelt, kamut, oats (cross-contamination), and barley. Cross-reactions can occur with rice, quinoa, millet, rye, corn, dairy, yeast and even eggs! Cyrex array 4 lab can identify these cross-reactions.
If you cross-react with these foods and continue to eat them, even though you are gluten-free your symptoms will not go away and your risk for AI and other chronic illness will persist.
Are you concerned you may be at risk for developing an AI? Do hypothyroidism, diabetes and other autoimmune diseases run in your family?
Treating AI Even Before Symptoms Occur
The Cyrex array 5 can identify antibodies already in your tissues before you develop the disease. This is the silent phase of AI disease. The test can identify autoimmunity in the stomach, intestines, thyroid, adrenals, heart, reproductive organs, joints, bone, liver, pancreas and brain. Phospholipid antibodies can also be detected.
If you are in the silent phase of AI there are things you can do to be in your best state of health. Repairing the leaky gut, avoiding offending foods, stress, certain medications, gluten, food allergies, treating infections, and balancing hormones and neurotransmitters lead to a much healthier life.
Using appropriate supplements, probiotics, and intravenous therapy as indicated to decrease inflammation, support the immune system and heal the intestines may delay the onset of the full-blown AI or mitigate the symptoms.
Foods to eat:
• Organic vegetables.
• Fermented foods (pickled ginger, sauerkraut, unsweetened coconut yogurt).
• Meats—quality organic. Beef from grass-fed cows that is both hormone- and antibiotic-free.
• Low-sugar organic fruits.
• Healing herbs and spices.
• Apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, olive oil, olives.
Consult a certified health coach or nutritionist to help you. Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Always be your own advocate and always feel free to get a second opinion if you are not getting well.
Health is your best investment. Health is wealth. Remember—you deserve your best life!
Dr. Norling has no financial interests in Cyrex labs or Metametrix laboratory.
Written by: Dr. Sharon Norling, MBA