I recently had a econversation with a Facebook friend and follower about slow recovery even on a gluten-free diet. I compiled a collection of other possible food sensitivities that may contribute to non-responsiveness. Since my presenting symptom was anemia which hasn’t significantly improved even though I’ve been gluten-free for nearly two years, I have done some reading and research on what else might be going on. I know that many people with celiac are dealing with multiple food
sensitivities. I’ve listed some below.
*Lactose intolerance: Excerpted from http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/symptomsofceliacdisease/a/Lactose.htm: Lactose intolerance is very common in people with celiac disease, but lactose intolerance in celiac disease often improves after patients have been on a gluten-free diet for awhile. Several studies have shown that untreated celiac patients have high rates of lactose intolerance. As their intestines heal on the gluten-free diet, however, their lactase-producing cells begin to function again and their tolerance for lactose-containing foods improves. In fact, some researchers recommend that patients who are lactose intolerant when they are first diagnosed with celiac disease should be retested for the condition after they’ve been gluten-free for a year. The gluten-free diet may have helped improve their lactase production to the point where they no longer need to avoid dairy products.
*Fructose malabsorption: Some fruits, vegetables and legumes that contain FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) could be the culprit. Here’s a very readable article about it, and what foods to avoid. http://www.celiaccentral.org/celiac-disease-in-the-news/Celiac-in-the-News/161/month--201004/search--FODMAPs/vobid--2556/
*Nightshade vegetables: Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant) can be a problem especially for folks who had undiagnosed celiac for a long time. Here’s a blog post with an additional link for more info:
http://healthygf.blogspot.com/2010/03/trouble-with-nightshades.html This one would be a huge challenge for me, especially given all the salsa I eat!
*Lectins: There are also some indications that lectins are the problem. Lectins are proteins found in ALL foods, but more so in all grains (not just wheat), nightshades, dairy and legumes. Yikes! Here’s an article that tells more: http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html
*Coffee: Apparently there is a protein in coffee that cross-reacts with gluten: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gluten-issues-or-celiac-dont-drink-coffee/
This is a lot, I know. Besides waiting and seeing how well you heal on the gf diet, it could be that the best way to proceed is to do an elimination diet. Get advise from your doctor, of course, but I like the info on Livestrong.com, so here are their suggestions: http://www.livestrong.com/article/283008-elimination-diet-instructions/
In my ecookbooklet and elsewhere in my blog I talk about a 14 day detox/cleanse from PEERtrainer that I thought was pretty helpful. It suggests eliminating foods that tend to create health challenges: Gluten (of course), soy, eggs, corn and peanuts. Most folks connect this sort of thing with weight loss, but I think it could also help with restoring good gut health. http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/?Clk=4653136
I guess the real moral to the story is that our bodies are whole systems and that there may be no one single solution to finding our ways to optimal health. Because my numbers and my recent endoscopy and colonoscopy indicate that my GI system has healed, I don’t think my anemia situation is related to the above issues, so my investigation continues (Next stop, the gynacologist. Promises to be as much fun as the GI doc!)
Anyone out there with stories and a about slow healing even on a strict gf diet?
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