Should you be eating a gluten-free diet?

These days all you seem to hear about is gluten free! Is this a new fad diet or is it because some people really do not feel good when they eat gluten? Is this because you have celiac disease?

Array

Array

These days all you seem to hear about is gluten free! Is this a new fad diet or is it because some people really do not feel good when they eat gluten? Is this because you have celiac disease?

It really does matter the reason and anyone thinking of avoiding gluten should have some important testing done first. As someone who has celiac disease, I understand the importance of getting an appropriate diagnosis.

A three-year-old patient of mine was struggling with staying on the growth curve for height and weight, and experienced constant bloating and diarrhea.

His parents decided to remove several foods from his diet, including wheat, and they reported immediate improvement in his digestion and bowels.

Within three months, he had grown significantly and gained eight pounds.

However, taking foods out indiscriminately like this is problematic because it is unclear which food is the main culprit since many foods were removed at once.

It is even more problematic when you have to test for celiac disease and for a gluten intolerance, as gluten needs to be in the diet for at least three weeks prior to testing.

In this case, this child had to go through the process of adding gluten back into his diet for multiple weeks, dealing with stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

This was very difficult on him as well as the parents and could have been avoided if testing was completed prior to gluten removal.

Why does it matter if an individual has celiac disease or is suffering from a gluten intolerance?

Because celiac disease can lead to serious consequences and is a lifelong disease.

A gluten intolerance can go away over time with the appropriate treatment and does not damage the small intestine.

Celiac disease is when an autoimmune reaction occurs with the ingestion of the gluten protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley.

Several autoimmune diseases are associated with celiac disease, and it leads to injury to the intestine, resulting in diarrhea, bloating, gas and fatigue in adults.

In children, the condition presents as irritability and failure to thrive.

In both adults and children, it can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies as well.

Celiac disease is first detected by a blood test and then is often confirmed with an intestinal biopsy.

A gluten intolerance, on the other hand, can be tested by a food intolerance blood test.

Conventional therapy of celiac disease instructs the patient to avoid gluten-containing foods.

Patient education and social support are key components in the successful management of the disease due to the amount of gluten in the foods typically eaten in North America.

In addition to gluten removal from the diet, naturopathic medical treatment includes:

• Checking the appropriate labs for any mineral/nutrient deficiencies and addressing them if present.

This may include IV nutrient therapy, which provides 100 per cent absorption regardless of intestinal health and allows for larger dosages to fix deficiencies faster.

• Vitamin B12 injections as necessary.

• Improving stomach and intestinal health by decreasing irritation with herbs/nutrients.

These may include slippery elm, marshmallow root, and L glutamine to name a few.

• Enzymes to improve fat breakdown and absorption from food being eaten.

Find out if gluten is really affecting your health by getting the appropriate testing done first.

If you or a loved one already have been diagnosed with celiac disease and want to make sure you are doing everything you can to live an optimal life, talk to your naturopathic doctor about the appropriate treatments that can be used.

Dr. Shane Johnson ND was born and raised in Red Deer and is the owner of Aspire Natural Medicine.

He completed his naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University, and is among only a handful of naturopathic doctors in Alberta to complete an additional one-year residency in family medicine.

For more detailed information on naturopathic medicine visit www.aspiremedicine.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the old bunch of false claims about vaccines or COVID-19 that it has already banned. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Facebook says it will pay $1B over 3 years to news industry

Facebook says it will choose which publishers it will support

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as Chief of Defence Staff due to an investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation

Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre appointed acting chief of the defence staff

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Photo radar cameras are supposed to “augment” the work of regular police officers, yet 91 per cent of speeding tickets in the province are connected to the devices. (Black Press file photo).
March photo radar locations

Photo radar, mobile units and intersection cameras will be in action

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

FILE - The Paramount Pictures gate is pictured on Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. The studio is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, announced that the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theaters. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
‘Mission: Impossible 7’ will hit Paramount+ even sooner

90-day theatrical window reduced to 45 days

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Defending champion Einarson stays unbeaten in Tournament of Hearts

Players suggest a spectator-free debut made it less intimidating

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 17th hole on his way to winning the Canadian Open Championship at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont. on Sunday Sept.10, 2000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘The Tiger I know is a survivor and a fighter,’ Bill Paul weighs in on Tiger Woods

Woods was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash near Los Angeles on Tuesday

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Most Read