Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?
The gluten revolution!
The plague of gluten
There is growing evidence in the Western world that gluten is one of the greatest health hurdles that can exist. But unfortunately few people are aware of the long and growing list of harms caused by gluten.
I am personally convinced that gluten is responsible for at least a third of all chronic disease and symptoms of fatigue that people accept as normal as they age. In general, the medical community is reluctant to acknowledge that gluten is a problem. Why is this so?
Why is the gluten-free diet becoming popular?
“Why are supermarkets now selling so many gluten-free foods”?
“Why are there so many people who adhere to a gluten-free diet”?
“Why are healthcare professionals so skeptical about diagnosing gluten sensitivity”?
Many people feel sick from consuming gluten!
There are important unanswered questions. My view is that these responses are related to adapting to change from a positive perspective. Here’s another question: “Does changing mean that in the past you did some things the wrong way — or that you are learning from new information”?
Change is good!
I sense the skepticism of my medical colleagues regarding my position on gluten sensitivity. Many people think that gluten sensitivity is a figment of my imagination, which would imply that it is also a figment of my patients’ imaginations. An experienced dietician wrote last year in the Healthy Food Guide (Oct 2005) that “gluten sensitivity, which is distinct from celiac disease, is not a medically recognized condition”. She even went on to claim that “gluten sensitivity is a creation of the alternative health industry.” Why is she so reluctant to acknowledge the existence of diseases caused by gluten?
Because of the skepticism of the health world I was obliged to carefully document my work. I presented the results of my last five years of gluten sensitivity investigation to my medical colleagues at the RACP (Royal Australasian College of Physicians) annual meeting in Cairns, Australia, in May 2006. I found the experience interesting and I noticed that there were, in a way, three groups of doctors.
The first group was very interested in my data. They carefully examined my research. They wanted to discuss the findings with me. They were open to change and eager to learn.
One of them revealed that he was disturbed to see this new information because, the implication of this was that, some of his decisions made in the past had not been adequate. However, he was ready to learn. Others said they had seen, as I reported in my talk, gluten-sensitive patients and that gave them confidence to continue screening for gluten-sensitive people.
The second group of people remained still and silent during the reading. They didn’t want to have a dialogue with me. I asked these doctors if they had ever prescribed a gluten-free diet to patients, if they had ever identified celiac disease. Invariably they said “No”.
The third group walked past, perhaps alarmed by the headline on my poster: “Who of you ever prescribed a gluten-free diet?” They didn’t want to confront me or be confronted with themselves. They represented the old guard who didn’t want to be confronted with new information that might have changed their old views.
Change is difficult for everyone but it is inevitable.
My Change of Mind About Gluten
I saw Shane again last month. He is now 11 years old. The first time I saw him he was 2 years old. At that time I was ignorant about the concept of gluten sensitivity. I had no idea gluten could cause so much harm. I had been taught that the only problem gluten could cause was celiac disease.
When I first saw Shane, he was a toddler taking his first steps, and he had a stomach ache and was throwing up. I thought he had acid reflux. I didn’t do any blood work but did order x-rays of his stomach. He took antacids with mixed success without really recovering.
Now I just saw him again, after nine years. He still has stomach pains! He now has headaches. His growth hasn’t been very good and he’s a bit skinny.
This time I asked for blood tests. Shane had a high level of anti-gliadin antibodies in his blood, but no celiac disease. Which means his immune system is reacting to gluten. After a few weeks on the gluten-free diet, he began to feel wonderful. Shane is therefore sensitive to gluten. If I had known, the first time I saw him, what I know now about gluten, Shane could have avoided nine years of stomach problems. He could also have had better growth. Shane, I’m sorry, but at least I learned! And you’re finally better now.
I have done extensive research on gluten. I am now convinced that gluten affects about one in ten people. It took me a long time to come to this conclusion. My mission now is to write this information so that the whole world can be informed about the harm that gluten can cause.
One in ten people can react to gluten!
Over the past five years, I have investigated 190 children who had evidence of an immune reaction to gluten (serological tests showing a high level of anti-gliadin IgG antibodies). I gave all these children endoscopies and offered them all to follow a gluten-free diet.
Three categories of reactions to gluten.
These children could be classified into three groups:
Group 1: 31 children out of 190 (16%) had a diagnosis of “ celiac disease ” based on histology (villous atrophy).
Group 2: 31 children out of 190 (16%) were classified as “ possible celiacs ““due to evidence of damage to the tissues of the intestine demonstrated by high levels of anti-transglutaminase or anti-endomysial antibodies.
Group 3: The majority of them, 128 out of 190 children (67%), had absolutely no evidence of celiac disease, so they were labeled as ” non-celiacs . “
Yet all three groups showed the same clinical signs.
All without exception got better by following a gluten-free diet!
Each of the three groups was offered a gluten-free diet. Almost everyone who removed gluten from their diet got better. In the group of 128 non-celiacs, 97 adhered to a gluten-free diet and of these, 81 experienced substantial improvement.
If you are sick and tired – get tested for gluten!
The take home message is this: children who are unwell and who have a blood test showing that they react to gluten do much better when they adhere to a gluten-free diet.
My clinical experience with my patients demonstrates that the detection of anti-gliadin IgG (immunoglobulin type G) antibodies is an adequate test for screening these children. My opinion is that many more children, other than celiacs, would benefit from the advantages of a gluten-free diet.
The anatomy of change.
In medicine (and in any sphere of activity requiring a certain amount of effort) it is recognized that everything that needs to be known, is known! This is why there are great gaps in our knowledge: things that were held to be true in the past are not so now. Accordingly, we should all be open-minded to be able to embrace change.
The revolution has begun!
Intolerance to gluten and other foods is widespread, but the medical system does not seem ready to deal with this set of problems. The time has come for the public to demonstrate! The gluten revolution has begun!
Rodney Ford. MB, BS, MD, FRACP
Specialist in general pediatrics,
gastroenterologist, allergy and nutrition.
Dr. Rodney Ford operates a private allergy, gastroenterology and nutrition clinic. He has written more than a hundred scientific articles and participated in the writing of books in whole or in part. This includes a five-volume series on gluten that advances his theory that gluten reaction symptoms result from damage to the brain and nervous system. The five books in the gluten sensitivity series are:
- Are You Gluten-Sensitive? Your Questions Answered.
- The Book for the Sick, Tired and Grumpy.
- Full of it! The shocking truth about gluten.
- Going Gluten-Free: How to Get Started.
- The Gluten-Free Lunch Book.
He focuses his efforts on explaining to the world the harm caused by gluten. He discovered that one in ten people are unfortunately affected by gluten! He also estimates that perhaps a third of all chronic diseases could be caused by gluten.
He has a website with the goal of helping to educate everyone about the harm caused by gluten.
Its official mission: “To change the way the planet is fed”.