The cause of neurological conditions in individuals with Celiac Disease remains unknown. Although previous studies cited copper deficiency as a possible culprit, doctors from the Department of Neurology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital at Columbia University have recently ruled it out.
After identifying 18 individuals with both Celiac Disease and peripheral neuropathy, the group of specialists at Columbia reviewed their medical history and assessed their serum copper levels.
Of the 18 patients, 16 had normal copper levels and 2 had mild hypercupremia, but none had a full copper deficiency.
Copper plays a key role in the development and maintenance of the nervous system. Possible symptoms of a copper deficiency include anemia or a low white blood cell count. Doctors wanted to study the link to Celiac Disease after they observed no improvement in celiac neuropathy following vitamin therapy.
“Just as it is important to know what factors might be relevant to the etiology of neuropathy in CD, we believe it is also important to establish which are not,” doctors who worked on the study reported in the Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease.
New research shows that patients with stomach problems are more likely to suffer from head aches and migraines than those who don’t suffer from digestive issues.
Up to 30% of people with Celiac Disease and 56% of people with gluten sensitivity reported either having chronic long term headaches or migraines and 72% of those would classify their head aches as severe. Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome also had a higher percentage of head ache sufferers than healthy people.
Read more about the connection between gluten and head aches here: http://www.dailyrx.com/ibd-and-celiac-disease-patients-more-likely-have-headaches
Check out the interview that Katie Couric did for ABC in which she interviews leading expert on Celiac Disease, Dr. Peter Green of Columbia University! It’s wonderful to see such a public figure put the spotlight on Celiac Disease to help raise awareness.
Researchers are trying to discover the relationship between breast feeding, the age of a a babies first introduction to gluten, and rates of Celiac Disease diagnosis. What is still unclear is whether breast feeding and age of introduction to gluten helps to prevent the disease or just delays its onset.
To help clarify the issue, the EU has funded a study that recruited pregnant women with a history of Celiac Disease and instructed them to breastfeed for 6 months. At 4 months old the babies were placed into random study groups and were either given 100mg/day of gliadin or a placebo.
The research will not be concluded until the children are all 3 years old but the researchers hope to gain a more definitive answer on breast feeding and rates of Celiac. Right now regulations state that gluten should be introduced to infants no earlier than 4 months of age and no later than 7 months and that the infant should still be breastfeeding when gluten is first introduced.
A huge thanks to Victoria in Toronto for this very interesting question about celiac disease and a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Do you have a question? Post your questions in the comment field below and our experts will weigh in!
Question from Victoria in Toronto: I have a vitamin B-12 deficiency and am trying to find a way to avoid injections. How can I get enough B-12 to prevent weekly shots?
Answer from Dr. Doherty: Good news, you likely can avoid the shots. B12 is the only vitamin that requires us to make a carrier molecule called Intrisic Factor (IF). IF is made in the stomach and its production is shut down by some medications, like those for acid reflux. There is also a subset of people who have a genetic condition called pernicious anemia, which means they don’t have the genes to effectively produce IF.
Also if you have gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) it can inhibit the production of IF. If any of these three things are a problem it means you will not efficiently absorb B12 from either food or pills that you swallow. Ideally this means you have to find a way to get the B12 in to your body by getting it straight in to your blood stream. This is why shots are a good option, but there are other options like sublingual pills or oral sprays, intranasal gels and skin patches.
Studies in the last few years have demonstrated that taking really high doses orally may also overcome the lack of intrinsic factor. In my practice I use the sublingual forms as a first step, they are inexpensive, effective and readily available. The key is to let the pills dissolve under your tongue, it is important that you don’t chew and swallow the tablets. No matter what form you choose, make sure to have your levels rechecked in a month to make sure you are responding to the form you have chosen. I have found a small subset of people respond best when they get the shots.
Many people who are beginning gluten-free diets are not doing it out of necessity but because they are either self diagnosing a stomach problem or because they believe that eating gluten-free can be healthier or help with weight loss. While eating gluten-free can help with any of those things, getting a proper diagnosis is extremely important.
According to this great report in U.S. News, Dr. Joseph Murray from the Mayo Clinic believes that Celiac Disease is on the rise and more people are blaming wheat for their stomach issues because people eat more processed wheat products than ever before and because of genetic modification there is a higher gluten content in wheat products.
Because the gluten content is so much higher a new condition called non-celiac gluten-sensitivity has rapidly arisen and followers of a gluten-free diet claimed to experience less bloating and fatigue than when they were eating gluten.
So what should you do? If you think that wheat or gluten are causing your ailments, get tested. Don’t want to see a doctor today? Check out the CeliacSure Test Kit and test yourself for celiac disease from the comfort of your own home. If the test comes back positive, follow-up with your doctor. Learn more about this at http://www.glutenpro.com.
Read more about Dr. Murray at: http://health.usnews.com/
A recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that approximately 1.8 million Americans are diagnosed with celiac disease. However, out of that large bunch, nearly 1.4 million of them don’t know they have it yet! Not to mention the 1.6 million Americans that are currently living a gluten-free lifestyle even though they do not have the disease.
Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic reports in the clinic news release that, “This provides proof that the disease is common in the United States. If you detect one person for every five or six (who have it), we aren’t doing a very good job detecting celiac disease.”
The researchers came to their conclusions by examining blood tests that confirmed celiac disease and the findings of a national survey called National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It was funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There are a lot of people on a gluten-free diet, and it’s not clear what the medical need for that is,” Dr. Murray says. “It is important if someone thinks they might have celiac disease that they be tested first before they go on the diet.
The studies also found that celiac disease is much more common in Caucasians in American .
“Virtually all the individuals we found were non-Hispanic Caucasians,” said study co-author Dr. Alberto Rubio-Tapia, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, in the news release.
Additionally, research in Mexico has shown that celiac disease could be just as common as it is in the U.S leaving the scientist. However, this research was similar to research conducted in several European countries.
Read more from the Mayo Clinic study at http://www.mayoclinic.org/news
There’s lots of hype surrounding a gluten-free diet theses days, so to help consumers understand the nuts and bolts of the gluten-free world, Forbes.com called on expert and cookbook author Jacqueline Mallorca to answer some very important questions.
If you’re considering starting a gluten-free diet, you can check out the full interview on Forbes.com to get some great insight into the world of gluten-free living!
Read the interview now at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2012/06/06/is-a-gluten-free-diet-right-for-you-an-expert-weighs-in/
New data from researchers in the gastroenterology division of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts finds that celiac disease patients who follow a gluten-free diet are less likely to be obese than the general population.
The study, which evaluated 1,018 patients from the Beth Israel Celiac Disease Center, looked at body mass index (BMI) at the point of diagnosis and then at follow-up of approximately 40 months after starting a gluten-free diet. The researchers found that when compared to the general population, celiac disease patients were considerably less obese, but that over time on a gluten-free diet their BMI went up.
In lieu of their findings, the researchers concluded that nutritional counseling should be strongly encouraged for patients with celiac disease who are beginning a gluten-free diet to learn the ups and downs of a nutritionally balanced diet.
Read more about the research at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759355
Gluten-free products can be lower in fiber and vitamins than others. This is why celiac superstar dietician Shelley Case– also a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Celiac Disease Foundation–suggests using pulse flours like pea flour or bean flour instead of rice flour can be a good idea.
Pulse flours are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, and can add a delicious taste and texture to your food.