3 Shocking Barriers to Resolving Celiac Disease

Evidence is mounting of the prevalence of Celiac Disease and it's implication in the development of other autoimmune disorders. But where is the response from the medical community? It seems there are more than a few barriers preventing traditional medical practitioners from grasping the gravity of the situation.

Here are a few:

1. Physicians believe that Celiac Disease is rare. Since only 1 out of 4,700 people are diagnosed in the United States, it seems that few cases exist. However, according to a study completed by Dr. Alessio Fassano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, at least 1 in 133 people in the United States suffers from Celiac Disease. That means 97% of sufferers remain undiagnosed.

2. Denial of nutrition's role in autoimmune disorders. This is true both for the general public and medical practitioners. If we “are what we eat,” why do many gastroenterologists throw medication at a problem when simply changing our diet could resolve the issue entirely?

3. Insurance and Pharmaceutical Companies lose money. Insurance companies denied payment for an intestinal biopsy (to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease) for 21% of patients with a positive blood test in a study published on February 10, 2003 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Insurance companies deny these tests so they don't lose money. Pharmaceutical companies also profit from selling medications that mitigate Celiac Disease symptoms, without resolving the core illness. Currently, medications such as AT-1001 and CCX-281 are being developed which allow Celiac Disease sufferers to continue to eat gluten. These drug sales could reach $8 billion by 2019.

Don't let insurance companies, pharmaceutical businesses, or misinformed medical practitioners stand in the way of your health. If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of gluten intolerance, get tested as soon as possible.

U.S. Lags Behind Europe in Celiac Disease Knowledge

Did you know that 1 in 133 people in the U.S has celiac disease? (Archives of Internal Medicine, published 10 February 2003)

Unfortunately, only about 1 out of every 4,700 Americans has been diagnosed, which means 97% of cases go undetected in our country. Why is this? Dr. Alessio Fassano, the Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, points to lack of research by medical professionals in the United States.

"Equal recognition of celiac disease has been frustratingly slow to reach the U.S," says a colleague of Dr. Fassano, Dr. Guandalini, who trained in Italy. "In Europe, it typically takes a few weeks to go from the first symptoms to a diagnosis. In the U.S., the average lag time between onset and diagnosis is 11 years." If ever.

In the mid-1970s, European scientists spearheaded a task force to determine celiac disease prevalence and presentation. These efforts allowed for both a greater understanding and management of the disease. In the United States, very few medical doctors attempt to understand the disease or its wide-spread implications. Unless your endocrinologist or pathologist knows about celiac disease, the diagnosis could remain a mystery for years.

5 Big Changes: A Hospital's Nutritional Make-Over

Soggy lettuce. Mealy potatoes. Rubberized flank steak. The mere idea of hospital food can trigger one's gag reflex.

At St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, the hospital food's image has just undergone a complete makeover. St. Joseph is backed by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association's Healthy Food Hospitals program, which supports locally grown foods and nutritional choices for patients and staff. These initiatives set the foundation for the new hospital cafeteria.

A quick look at the new changes:

1. Portion-size reduction

2. Lower fat and sodium content

3. Fresh ingredients from on-site farm

4. Fewer processed foods, more home-made products

5. Color-coded system which allows cafeteria-goers to select the healthiest option for their diet

St. Joseph Mercy certainly raised the bar, but why did it take so long? If what we eat directly correlates to our health, why aren't all hospitals creating similar cafeterias? We cannot wait for hospital's to catch up to our needs. It is important that we take our health into our own hands. If you or a loved one is experiencing pain or discomfort, don't let a medical system stand in your path.

To find out more, click on this link:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/st-joseph-ann-arbor-opens-new-health-conscious-cafeteria-wednesday/

IBS: Food Allergies and Digestion Basics

In previous articles we have defined food allergies, discussed how they develop, and given a general overview of symptoms. In this article we will cover the process of digestion in greater depth, and talk more specifically about IBS symptoms.
 
Digestion Basics: What Everyone Should Know
Our digestive tract is a 30 foot long muscular tube that begins at our mouth and ends at our anus. Its 3 main functions are:
 
1. Transform food into absorbable nourishment.
2. Fend off invading organisms and toxins.
3. Expel waste products.
 
Ingested food travels down the digestive tract through a process called peristalsis, a wave-like muscle contraction. During peristalsis different enzymes, bacteria and acids critical to digestion are secreted in a highly specialized and coordinated process. Only when the food is completely broken down should it pass through the digestive tract's tissue wall to be absorbed by our bodies’ cells.
 
The Immune System in our Digestive Tract
Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to decide whether to “ok” or attack a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something in our tube, it fights with inflammation and excess mucus. If the immune system is constantly on the offensive, these reactions can damage our digestive tract. Inflammation deteriorates the intestinal lining, resulting in something called “Leaky Gut syndrome.”  
 
IBS Symptoms: A Closer Look

Constipation
: Indicates a traffic back-up in your small intestine and colon. When bowel movements are difficult to pass, extremely firm, pellet-like, include bloating, distension, abdominal pain or a sense of incomplete evacuation, you may be constipated. There are three major side effects of constipation:
1. Malabsorption of nutrients, leading to many health problems.
2. Delayed waste removal, which sometimes causes the reabsorption of waste products.
3. Painful passing because of drier and harder stools.
 
Diarrhea: Indicates that too much water is being retained, and not absorbed, in the digestive tract.
There are three potential causes:
1. Food may be moving through the tube too quickly for the formation of solid stools. This happens when the peristalsis speeds up in order to expel a perceived threat. Either the food goes up (vomit) or comes down (diarrhea)
2. An immune response which causes irritation or inflammation of the intestines.
3. Toxins in the digestive tract can force the water flow into the tube rather than being absorbed.
Regardless of the cause, a loss of water that should be absorbed leads to dehydration and poor absorption of nutrients.
 
Gas & Bloating: A natural and normal by-product of food processing, excessive or odorous gas indicates faulty digestion. This is most likely because of a food allergy or a bacterial imbalance in your digestive tract.
 
Why Medication Fails
If you suffer from IBS or IBD, you have probably been introduced to a long and ever-growing list of medications. Unfortunately, drugs treat individual symptoms and not the cause. Additionally, many of the drugs have detrimental side effects.
 
6 types of drugs to treat IBS symptoms:
1. Bowel movement speed modifiers (Zelnorm, Lotronex, Calmactin)
2. Laxatives for constipation (MiraLax, Perdiem, Ex-Lax, Milk of Magnesia)
3. Antidiarrheal (Imodium, Lomotil)
4. Abdominal cramp pain relievers (Donnatal, Levsin, Levbid, NuLev, Bentyl, Pro-Banthine)
5. Antidepressants (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Elavil)
6. Narcotic analgesics (Vicodin, Demerol, Xanax)
 
As you can see, none of these is an IBS “cure” because no such medical cure exists. You may feel relief temporarily, but this is because of a forced biochemical modification, not a permanent resolution. Once you stop using the medications, the symptoms will return. With over 20 million Americans diagnosed with IBS currently, it is time to address this disease with honesty and transparency. Many doctors and scientists agree- we must assess food allergies and digestion in order to transform our health once and for all.
 
What can we do if we suspect we have an allergy?
There is good news. We can successfully eliminate the symptoms by discovering what foods serve as our triggers. By excluding the trigger food from our diet, the intestinal inflammation quickly recedes and the symptoms disappear. 
           
1. ELISA
The Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay panel (ELISA) is a blood test that examines 96 of the most common foods.  The food categories tested include: animal products, dairy, meat and fowl, grains, nuts, vegetable, seafood and fruits By undergoing the ELISA test, patients are able to measure both IgE, IgA and IgG immune responses.  Ann Arbor Holistic Health provides a simple means that combines both tests.
2. Supplements and Vitamins
Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, and probiotics are recommended supplements that help speed up our recovery process. Supplements such as quercetin and curcumin are plant-based herbs that lessen inflammation and ease our symptoms. Once we know what food is causing us problems, we can jump start our healing with some of these natural remedies.
3. RAST
Most doctors offer a IgE blood test called RAST (short for radioallergosorbent test). Though this method is extremely accurate in determining IgE based food allergies, it does not address the issue of non-IgE allergies at all. The ELISA food allergy food allergy test offered at Ann Arbor Holistic Health also tests for IgE food allergies.
4. Elimination Diets
Though elimination diets are accurate and cost-effective, they involve a long and arduous process. Most food intolerances are caused by the following foods: Dairy, wheat, egg, soy, peanuts, shellfish, and tree nuts. Removing one of the above from your diet can theoretically indicate the allergen, but as we have seen with Leaky Gut Syndrome, we often have more than one allergen due to years and years of damaging inflammation. Testing for multiple-allergens is very difficult to do with this method.
5. Stool Samples
Stool samples are excellent barometers of human health. Since the majority of the body's immune cells are present in the intestinal tract, a stool sample is the best place to search for evidence of food allergies. However, stool samples are messy and unpleasant.
6. Skin Prick Tests
Skin prick tests, one of the most common methods for IgE immune responses, can be painful and do not detect non-IgE food allergies. They can also be inaccurate with a high level of false positives.
           
Conclusion
“You are what you eat. Or, even more accurately, you are what you absorb,” says Dr. John Wycoff, an osteopath based out of East Lansing who believes hormonal balance, allergies and diet are integral to health. As reactionary medicine and over-usage of prescribed chemicals fail to alleviate our pain and discomfort, more and more physicians are embracing holistic approaches to healing. Through a deeper understanding of what our bodies do and do not absorb, and how these physiological responses affect us, we can take charge of our wellness and move towards a brighter, more fulfilling future. If you are experiencing any of the listed symptoms, please give us a call today.

Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Disease: Different Name, Same Game

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity sound like two totally different entities. Celiac disease sounds severe while gluten sensitivity seems pretty harmless. Unfortunately, both are very serious digestive conditions and are actually much more similar than their names would indicate.

Both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are forms of gluten intolerance. Gluten and gliadin are proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye that give flour its elasticity. Gluten and gliadin can be found in cookies, breads, pastas, anything that uses flour and certain kinds of alcohol. An allergy to gluten can lead to both gluten sensitivity and eventually celiac disease.

Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease should be thought of as progressing points on the same continuum. Both are caused by gluten intolerances, and gluten sensitivity can quickly evolve into the more severe celiac disease.

Celiac disease sufferers are defined as those who have unhealthy, deteriorated villi. When gliadin and gluten trigger an allergic reaction, it inflames the small intestine. This inflammation flattens and destroys the lining (villi) of the small intestine, impeding nutrient absorption. Celiac disease is diagnosed through a biopsy of the small intestine which shows the villous atrophy.

Below is an image of healthy villi on the left, and villi worn down due to gluten consumption on the right. The villi are responsible for capturing and transmitting nutrients to the rest of the body. Flattened and deteriorated villi are much less functional.

Though it is well-known in the medical community that gluten sensitivity is a precursor to Celiac disease, it is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Why? Because most doctors test only for Celiac disease. Though the villi biopsy cannot measure gluten sensitivity, it is the most common test among medical professionals. Unfortunately, many people who have Gluten Sensitivity continue to suffer for years, leading to unnecessary villi damage and pain. It's time to demand preventative measures when it comes to your health.

Love Your Bacteria: Yeast Infections and IBS

Over 100 trillion bacteria are crawling inside your body right now, the majority of which reside in your digestive system. Gross? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Without it, food could not be digested, our immune system would be underdeveloped, and all of us would have IBS. It's time to start loving our bodies’ healthy bacteria.

When our healthy bacteria is wiped out by antibiotics or overridden by an excess in yeast, IBS symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain can arise. Yeast invades and irritates tissue, flourishing rapidly and stamping out the growth of beneficial bacteria. Since yeast feeds on sugars, diets rich in starch, refined carbohydrates, sweets and alcohol encourage its growth. Though eliminating these foods from your diet can help, the best offense is a good defense. Make sure you prevent yeast infections by using a probiotic to replenish friendly bacteria after using antibiotics, and avoid foods that feed yeast. Get tested for potential food allergies with an ELISA blood test, and make sure to avoid using antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. It's time to tell the whole story when it comes to healthy bacteria, yeast infections and IBS.

Why Medication Fails: A Closer Look at IBS Drugs

If you suffer from IBS or IBD, you have probably been introduced to a long and ever-growing list of medications. Unfortunately, drugs treat individual symptoms and not the cause. Additionally, many of the drugs have detrimental side effects.

6 types of drugs to treat IBS symptoms:

1. Bowel movement speed modifiers (Zelnorm, Lotronex, Calmactin)

2. Laxatives for constipation (MiraLax, Perdiem, Ex-Lax, Milk of Magnesia)

3. Antidiarrheal (Imodium, Lomotil)

4. Abdominal cramp pain relievers (Donnatal, Levsin, Levbid, NuLev, Bentyl, Pro-Banthine)

5. Antidepressants (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Elavil)

6. Narcotic analgesics (Vicodin, Demerol, Xanax)

As you can see, none of these are an IBS “cure” because no such medical cure exists. You may feel relief temporarily, but this is because of a forced biochemical modification, not a permanent resolution. Once you stop using the medications, the symptoms will return. With over 20 million Americans diagnosed with IBS currently, it is time to address this disease with honesty and transparency. Many doctors and scientists agree - we must assess food allergies and digestion in order to transform our health once and for all.

The 30-foot miracle: Discovering our Digestive Tract

Our digestive tract is a 30-foot-long muscular tube that begins at our mouth and ends at our anus. Its 3 main functions:

1. Transform food into absorbable nourishment.

2. Fend off invading organisms and toxins.

3. Expel waste products.

Ingested food travels down the digestive tract through a process called peristalsis, a wave-like muscle contraction. During peristalsis, different enzymes, bacteria and acids critical to digestion are secreted in a highly specialized and coordinated process. When food is completely broken down it passes through the digestive tract's tissue wall and is absorbed by the body’s cells.

Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to “ok” or “attack” a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something in our tube, it uses inflammation and excess mucus as ammunition. If the immune system is constantly on the offensive, these reactions can damage our digestive tract. Inflammation deteriorates the intestinal lining, resulting in something called “Leaky Gut syndrome.”

Why do some medical professionals refuse to talk about the connection between poor health and poor digestion? Clearly our bodies have evolved a highly complex digestive immune system for a reason. Denying the fact that food plays a crucial role in our overall well-being seems misguided and potentially dangerous. It is critical that we start addressing digestion as a key element in human health.

IBD/IBS Relief: What you Need to Know about Feeling Better

“IBS symptoms in one quarter of patients may be caused or exacerbated by one or more dietary components.” This is a direct quote from a journal article in PubMed published by the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Do you suffer from IBD or IBS? Do you feel sick or suffer from chronic discomforts that no one has been able to diagnose? You may have an undetected food allergy.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is the immune systems response to a protein usually found in a food, such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk that your system perceives as a foreign body. Most food allergies are acquired, not inherited but some people develop sensitivities due to repeated exposure. Some people react when the irritant is in large quantities, while others react to pesticides and herbicides combining with the natural chemicals in food. Whatever the cause, the result is the same - a compromised immune system and general discomfort.

Though many medical professionals speak about slight diet alterations to relieve IBS symptoms, we need to investigate whether a specific food group is a direct cause. We need to ask not only how to relieve discomfort, but how to remove it entirely.

A 3-Step Solution for Digestive Health: Testing Methods for Food Allergies

Digestive Health Ann Arbor’s 3-step method offers relief from food allergy symptoms and digestive disorders. 
1. Discover what foods  are triggers. 
2. Exclude the trigger food completely from our diet. 
3. Nourish stressed systems with supplements and enzymes.
But how do we know what foods cause us trouble? If we suspect a food allergy contributes to our poor health, must we complete a tedious elimination diet for a month? Fortunately, technology has paved the way for rapid and accurate techniques. 
RAST Blood Test
Most doctors perform RAST examinations (short for radioallergosorbent test). RAST results show only acute immune reactions to food. At Ann Arbor Holistic Health we complete this test along side the ELISA blood test for more complete results.
ELISA Blood Test 
The most comprehensive digestive diagnostic tool is the ELISA blood test, which examines your body’s reaction to 96 different food allergens including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts, and more. This simple test also allows health professionals to efficiently check for the severity of allergies, ranging from IgE (most severe), IgA (moderate) and IgG (least severe). Sound too easy? Since 70% of the immune system is located in our digestive tract, removing trigger foods can lead to radical improvements in our well-being. It is time to transform our search for solutions and it is time for solutions that will transform us.

13 Warning Signs: Detecting Food Allergies, What Everyone Must Know

As we have seen, there is a surprising amount of evidence implicating food allergies and intolerances in digestive disorders. However, 60% of people with food allergies display symptoms that are seemingly unrelated to their digestive system.

Check out these 13 Warning Signs of possible food allergies:

1. Tiredness, drowsiness, no energy.

2. Frequent headache or migraines.

3. Stomach bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence (IBD/IBS).

4. Mouth Ulcers.

5. Chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma, colds and 'flu'.

6. Eczema, psoriasis, and chronic skin problems.

7. Aching joints, backache.

8. Gradual weight change.

9. Tinea or Yeast (Candida) infections.

10. Clumsiness, lack of coordination.

11. Miscarriage, infertility.

12. Hemorrhoids and Ear pain.

13. Cravings, addictions.

Read the journal article yourself, and many others: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19559137

Is the Jury Still Out?: Reaching a Verdict about Food Allergies Contribution to Digestive Disorders

Many health care professionals say that food plays no role in digestive diseases:
• The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation states that: 
“Crohn's and Colitis are painful and chronic digestive diseases for which there currently is no cure...Although some people do have allergic reactions to certain foods, neither Crohn's disease nor ulcerative colitis are related to food allergies.” 
• The University of Michigan Health System says: 
“Nothing you ate caused your disease, nor will diet cure your disease.” 
However, not all agree with this perspective:
• This article published in PubMed by The University of Auckland concedes that
“Diet is known to play a major role in the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's disease.”
There are over 1400 published scientific studies directly linking food allergies to Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It is time to seriously address what many doctors and scientists agree is one of the greatest contributors to our discomfort – the food we eat. Let's transform the conversation when it comes to your health.
Useful Reference Articles in PubMed: 
Triggs CM, Munday K, Hu R, Fraser AG, Gearry RB, Barclay ML, Furguson LR (August 7, 2010), Does evidence exist to include dietary therapy in the treatment of Crohn's disease? Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20144628.
Brown AC, Roy M (April 2010), Does evidence exist to include dietary therapy in the treatment of Crohn's disease? Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20350266.