Celiac Disease and Naturopathic Treatment Support

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged due to reaction to consumption of gluten. Because of this damage, absorption becomes compromised. Gluten is the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt and rye. There are many different signs and symptoms of varying intensities associated with celiac disease. These include fatigue, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, weight loss, diarrhea, delayed growth, skin rash, depression and more. Many of these signs and symptoms can also be seen in other disorders, which can make celiac disease go undiagnosed in many cases including some cases of unexplained infertility. There are tests that can be done to diagnose this condition. In fact, in Italy where celiac disease is common, all children under 6 are screened for this condition as early detection is vital.

How common is celiac disease?

According to Celiac Association of Canada, it is estimated that 1 in 133 Canadians are affected by celiac disease.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

Blood tests such as anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody, anti-endomysial antibody, IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibody are some of the tests that are recommended.

The definitive diagnosis is a biopsy of the small bowel. It is only after a definitive diagnosis through this procedure has been made, that a strict gluten-free diet is initiated.

What are some possible complications associated with celiac disease?

Osteoporosis, anemia, neurological problems, depression, greater  likelihood of miscarriage, difficulty with fertility, stunted growth in children and lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance has to do with inability to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. The enzyme lactase is needed for digestion of dairy. Since in celiac, the lining of the small intestine is damaged, the brush border enzymes which include lactases are reduced, hence some celiac patients experience lactose intolerance.

Most of these complications are resolved or improve over time once celiac disease has been diagnosed, a strict gluten-free diet is followed, the body is replenished with the needed nutrients, the gut has healed and malabsorption has been resolved.

What are the treatments?

The treatment is following a strict gluten-free diet. This means reading ingredient labels and eliminating any foods/products that contain gluten, even trace amounts of gluten.

Being on a good naturopathic nutritional plan is paramount in celiac disease for three main reasons.

Reason One

Often in an attempt to avoid gluten, many patients resort to one or two alternatives to gluten such as rice or potato. Eating the same foods repeatedly has a couple of downfalls. One is that variety in diet is needed in order for us to get the different nutrients required by our bodies. The other problem is that eating the same foods repeatedly can trigger food sensitivities to those foods in the long run so you could end up for example with a sensitivity to rice if that has become your food staple.

Reason Two

This has to do with absorption. There are some foods that are more easily digestible hence making their absorption easier. There are also specific foods that are healing to the gut and help repair some of the damage in the intestines. Healing of the gut is essential component of a treatment approach to celiac disease. The gut must be healed in order for the absorption issues to be resolved. As long malabsorption (poor absorption) persists, there will be problems on a systemic level because essential nutrients are not being extracted from the foods eaten and as a result the organs are not being properly nourished.

Reason Three

The body needs to be replenished with the proper nutrients, this is both through diet, supplements and/or intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy. In my practice, I frequently use intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy for my celiac patients. Since this therapy gets the nutrients directly into the blood circulation (not having to go through the digestive system), I know for sure the nutrients are being taken up by the different body systems. This therapy also allows me to introduce higher doses of nutrients into the body that would otherwise not be possible orally. The result is that patients get quickly replenished with important nutrients, positively impacting their energy, mood and overall wellbeing.

If you suspect you may have celiac disease especially if you have a family member that has this condition, don’t delay, see your healthcare provider and get the appropriate tests for a proper diagnosis.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

 

Five Simple Steps to a Healthier Weight

Any change in life comes about by making small adjustments everyday and staying focused on your goal; losing weight is no different. Today is a new day. You can set your ideal weight goal and start making some simple changes to your daily routines which are guaranteed to give you results in the long run.

  • Cut out processed foods and empty carbohydrates. These include candies, pop, refined breads and pasta, processed cheeses, meats, canned foods, frozen dinners and so on.
  • Eat lots of fiber and vegetables to fill you up and reduce cravings.
  • Read the labels on the foods you buy. That “healthy” granola bar you snack on everyday may have more sugar and additives in it than you think. Stay away from foods that have added sugar which may be labeled as corn syrup or glucose-fructose. And just because a product is organic does not mean it has no added sugar, organic cane sugar is still sugar.
  • Be sure to include some healthy fats in your diet. These include nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon, avocados, and flaxseed oil. Healthy fats help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cravings and keep you satiated for longer periods of time.
  • Make it a habit to engage in at least one type of exercise daily. If you are not one to hit the gym every day then just do some other form of activity-run up and down the stairs 10 times or do 50 jumping jacks or go for a brisk 15 minute walk. The most important thing is setting a goal that’s realistic for you and sticking to it!

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

Leaky Gut Syndrome and Early Detection

Leaky gut syndrome also known as increased intestinal permeability a condition in which the intestines become increasingly permeable to toxic wastes, microbes, undigested food particles and other noxious substances which do not usually cross the intestinal lining; in essence the selective permeability of the intestine is compromised. Once these substances cross the small intestine, they gain access into systemic circulation which leads to all sorts of health concerns.

The normal functions of the small intestine involve proper absorption of digested nutrients such as sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids as well as blocking the absorption of noxious substances and microbes. But in the case of increased intestinal permeability, the tight junctions between the intestinal cells that normally form the barrier of the intestinal lining have been damaged and hence the barrier is now “leaky”. In the case of elevated intestinal permeability, substances such as food particles get absorbed into the blood stream before they are completely digested. Having gained “unauthorized” access to the systemic circulation, these undigested food particles can now trigger an immune response whereby the immune system attacks these particles, eventually leading to inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the basis of many of today’s diseases.

The symptoms of increased intestinal permeability can vary from allergies, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, foggy thinking, and anxiety to more serious health concerns such as metabolic disturbances. Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, asthma, chronic fatigue, and chronic skin conditions.

There is a noninvasive lab test that helps identify increased intestinal permeability. This test involves two non-metabolized sugars: Mannitol and Lactulose. The patient drinks a pre-measured amount of mannitol and lactulose. The degree of permeability becomes evident based on the levels of each sugar that is recovered in the urine over a six hour collection.

The early detection of this condition is critical in both prevention of further damage to the intestinal lining as well as proper treatment of the existing damaged areas that can otherwise lead to serious health consequences.

Ask your naturopathic doctor for more information.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

Cinnamon Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon is a delectable spice and much more. It has a long history of therapeutic use. In ancient times cinnamon was even considered more precious than gold. Some cultures used it in meat preservation, recognizing its ability to stop bacterial growth. Besides its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, new research reveals that cinnamon is very effective in lowering blood sugar levels.

The effect of cinnamon on blood sugar levels was discovered by accident by USDA researchers in Maryland. While testing the effects of various foods on blood glucose levels, the researchers found out that the classic apple pie which is traditionally flavored with cinnamon paradoxically helped lower blood glucose levels instead of increasing it. Encouraged by these findings, further studies on cinnamon were done.

In a 2007 study conducted at Malmö University Hospital in Sweden, the effects of cinnamon on gastric emptying rate and blood sugar levels in healthy subjects were revealed. Researchers measured how quickly the stomach emptied after 14 volunteers ate 300 grams of rice pudding alone or seasoned with 6 grams of cinnamon. The cinnamon appeared to slow down stomach emptying  and blood glucose levels were notably lower in those who ate the pudding with the added cinnamon.

In another study in Pakistan, researchers demonstrated the effects of cinnamon on patients with type 2 diabetes. Subjects with type 2 diabetes were given cinnamon supplements in different dosages: one, three or six grams per day. Within weeks the results revealed that that cinnamon supplementation considerably reduced the level of blood glucose and cholesterol levels in subjects as compared to the placebo group. This led to the conclusion that cinnamon is beneficial in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes as well as reducing the risk factors associated with diabetes including the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Another double-blind study conducted by French researchers in 2009 revealed that in the case of overweight people with impaired fasting glucose, cinnamon supplementation could reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes. Cinnamon also helps to improve the diabetic patients’ ability to respond to insulin and normalize their blood glucose levels. By helping reduce insulin resistance, cinnamon can also aid in weight loss.

More studies are under way to show the powerful effect of cinnamon on blood sugar. In the meantime, go ahead sprinkle some of this aromatic spice on your toast, porridge, stir fries, hot cocoa or simply drink it as a nice warming tea!

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.