Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wondering about gluten? Don't delay!!

A recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology provided further proof about the strong connection between Celiac disease (severe gluten sensitivity) and colon cancer. The connection between these two conditions has long been recognized, but what was still not clear was exactly how strong this connection was and how important establishing a diagnosis of Celiac disease is in preventing colon cancer.

Part of the problem in all of this is the fact that there are a number of undiagnosed people walking around out there who actually do have Celiac disease. In fact, some sources estimate that up to 1 in 10 people in the US have it! This number may even continue to rise as we get better and better at diagnosing it.

Celiac disease often has no obvious symptoms so people can have it for years, continuing to consume gluten the whole time, and not know it. In fact, I would guess that a majority of people, some of whom eventually die from colon cancer, never discover they had this condition. This study provides strong evidence that had these people been diagnosed and subsequently avoided gluten from that point forward, they might have been able to prevent their cancers.

As a naturopathic doctor, I am now constantly searching for problems with gluten in my patients. And, more often than not, I find them. If you have a particularly strong craving for breads and pastas, or are a "carb addict", if you have ANY digestive symptoms, if you have any neurological or immune system related disorders, if you are fatigued, if you have hormone problems, basically, if you have any chronic health issues at all, gluten intolerance should be ruled out.

The interesting thing about this study though is that, even if you don't have anything noticeably wrong, identifying gluten intolerance could still save your life.

For more information on this very important topic, I strongly recommend reading, Going Against the Grain, by Melissa Diane Smith. Proper testing for gluten sensitivity can be done through a naturopathic doctor, or through

No comments: