Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The best diet for celiac/gluten sensitivity is the GAPS diet.

The pathology of gluten sensitivity/celiac disease is in the connective tissues that are structurally and functionally different and the resultant permeable intestine sometimes called a "leaky gut". 

To really thrive, the best diet is the GAPS diet or the Gut and Psychology diet developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She updated the specific carbohydrate diet using the newest information we have about foods.The GAPS diet tries to heal the "leaky gut". Supplements are also recommended both to make up for the nutritional deficiencies brought on by the "leaky gut" and because there are higher needs for some vitamens because of genetic (connective tissue) abnormalities.

I don't recommend a gluten free diet because I rarely see gluten sensitive/celiac persons do well on it. (Perhaps 1 out of 10). Autoimmune diseases still continue to present themselves and nutritional deficiencies persist. There are lots of problems with the flour substitutes from contamination, undiagnosed food allergies to high glycemic load. And store bought gluten free products are also made with seed oils which aggravates the omega 3-6-9 ratio. And grains have anti-nutrients in them.

A gluten free (GF) diet does help to some degree, for example we know that cancer rates start to drop from four times higher and by five years on a GF diet the risk of cancer (in a gluten sensitive/celiac person) is at the rate of the general population (RR =1). But is that enough when a person still doesn't feel well?

A GF diet, as apposed to a grain free diet or GAPS diet, rarely heals or stops any inflammatory processes that already exist nor stops the onset of autoimmune diseases (which are 12 times more common in GS/Celiac). Why does the GF diet fail? Because it doesn't heal the "leaky gut".

One of the best GAPS diet blogs is produced by Kat .

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brain, SPECT and Celiac

Gluten has strong pathophysiological effects on the brain and nervous tissues in persons genetically susceptible to gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

One of its effects is to cause hypo-perfusion or reduction of blood flow. SPECT scans have helped illusidate those changes of the blood flow of the brain exposed to gluten in the person who is gluten sensitive or celiac. In a study done by Dr Giovanni Addolorato and associates, out of the Institute of Internal Medicine,Catholic University of Rome, and reported in Am J Med 2004http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2803%2900696-X/abstract, SPECT scan results showed the presence of regional cerebral hypo-perfusion in 73% of the untreated Celiac (CD) patients, compared with only 7% of CD patients on gluten free diet and none of the controls.Similar cerebral blood flow changes have been reported in patients suffering from different psychiatric disorders.

This happens in real life, to all those who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease whether they know they have it or not. There are between 7 to 13 people undiagnosed for every celiac diagnosed depending on the study.

Dr. Charles Parker has some great pictures of the SPECT scans of a brain under the influence of gluten. Most of the problems occur in the prefrontal areas.

Dr. Parker writes:
Brain, SPECT and Celiac
Brain changes do appear on SPECT imaging with bowel immune dysfunction: think gluten sensitivity and celiac. Seeing real pathological evidence, bottom to top, does help with believing. Just a few months ago we reported at CorePsych Blog the interesting findings, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, of all places, on SPECT brain imaging, celiac and a clearing of schizophrenic symptoms when the gluten sensitivity was effectively treated. Schizophrenia cured by eating a proper diet… and reported in an Internal Medicine journal? Interesting how others are seeing evidence for what some of us in mental health are missing.
The Villi Tell The Tale
Gluten Villi in Stages of Deterioration
This pathology slide set shows what celiac and early gluten sensitivity look like on the bowel level from the Columbia University Celiac Disease Center:

Just below: a typical brain image we often see using SPECT imaging for individuals with immune dysregulation. So many articles are coming up regarding brain imaging with SPECT with celiac I thought you would like to see the actual brain level findings that we see in our office.
The Immune Brain
Here you can easily see the temporal lobe and prefrontal hypoperfusion, so often referenced in the literature, that lead us to always chase down possible immune dysfunction/bowel/celiac issues as reported in the article below. -Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words…
Diffuse Hypoperfusion
Metabolic Brain
Another article [ref PubMed] supports additional SPECT imaging evidence in celiac disease:
Frontal cortical perfusion abnormalities related to gluten intake and associated autoimmune disease in adult coeliac disease: 99mTc-ECD brain SPECT study. Usai P et al. Dig Liver Dis. 2004; 36(8): 513-8
See the conclusions below:
RESULTS: Twenty-four out of 34 patients (71%) showed brain single-photon emission computed tomography abnormalities confirmed by abnormal regional asymmetry index (>5%; range 5.8-18.5%). Topographic comparison of the brain areas showed that the more significant abnormalities were localised in frontal regions, and were significantly different from controls only in coeliac disease patients on unrestricted diet. The prevalence of single-photon emission computed tomography abnormalities was similar in coeliac disease patients with (74%) and without (69%) associated autoimmune disease. CONCLUSIONS: Abnormalities of brain perfusion seem common in coeliac disease. This phenomenon is similar to that previously described in other autoimmune diseases, but does not appear to be related to associated autoimmunity and, at least in the frontal region, may be improved by a gluten-free diet.
These interesting articles reveal the growing interface between brain and body evidence in immune dysfunction. It’s interesting to bring these brain studies together with real office laboratory findings that confirm the pathophysiology on a gut cellular level.
Of further interest: SPECT is demonstrating changes in mold neurotoxin, neuroimmune conditions as well – more on mold findings in a later post. CP 

See his blog for more information on brain health.http://www.corepsychblog.com/2008/01/spect-imaging-notes-more-on-celiac-brain-hypofunction/

Yes, it is interesting to see the evidence that there are more medical conditions, including celiac/gluten sensitivity that cause or aggravate conditions we call mental illnesses. Which then in turn increases our hope to truly help those who are suffering by making a diagnosis.

Test or be tested for Gluten sensitivity. It could save a life.