Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten consumption triggers an inflammatory response and damage to the intestines. It is caused by a complex interaction between genetic predisposition, intestinal microbiome, environment, and immune system.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Symptoms can vary widely but can include gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and mouth sores, but can also lead to weight loss or failure to thrive, fatigue, dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin condition), neurological symptoms, hormone disruption such as irregular periods, infertility, and early menopause, and nutrient deficiencies leading to osteopenia/osteoporosis (bone loss).
Diagnosis is usually done by blood test but is confirmed by intestinal biopsy. The primary treatment is a gluten-free diet and occasionally corticosteroids. Because nutrient deficiencies are a concern it may be appropriate to do labs to evaluate levels of iron, folate, vitamin B12, carotene, albumin, prothrombin time, and calcium levels.
Many times people with celiac disease continue to experience symptoms (gastrointestinal or otherwise) despite the elimination of gluten from the diet. Here are 6 of the most common reasons that I see people with celiac disease continue to have symptoms: Continue reading “6 Reasons Why You Can Still Have Symptoms in Celiac Disease after Gluten Elimination”
Less than 0.01% of our species existence has been in our modern, urbanized surroundings. (1) Throughout the 99.99% of our species’ time before this urbanization, we had many more interactions with nature and subsequent adaptations of our immune system, genetic expression, microbiota ecosystem, and stress response. Our bodies react to airborne plant compounds and work in symbiosis with microorganisms, primarily in our gut. Our gastrointestinal tract is a dynamic setting for immune processes, metabolism, and genetic expression and is the location of significant interactions with the outside environment. Even our DNA communicates with that of microbes here. These interactions help modulate our immune system and influence many aspects of human physiology.
We have also reduced our interactions with plant chemicals released into the air that are lacking in most modern indoor environments. Most people today have very different relationships with nature and this likely results in many implications on human health.
“Extricate yourself from the web of life in which you evolved, and the immune system loses its bearing.” – Moises Velasquez-Manoff, An Epidemic of Absence
We are only beginning to truly appreciate the influences of these interactions on health and the possible impacts our separation from the natural world may have. As research continues to support these influences on nature and health, a field of study called Forest Medicine has evolved with an increase in research in therapies such as shinrin-yoku. Continue reading “Forest Medicine and The Science Behind Shinrin-Yoku”
Probiotics have become enormously popular, expected to reach $42 billion dollars in global sales this year.  This is due largely to our rapidly expanding knowledge of our microbiome and the impacts of gut bacteria on aspects of our health ranging from body composition, mood, genetic expression, immune response, and beyond. There is even a growing field of neurogastroenterology studying the bidirectional communication of the brain-gut axis.
Many of the benefits people report from probiotic use have evidence showing they may indeed be beneficial including relief from antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children  and other causes of diarrhea such as C. difficile infection,  improved bowel movement and consistency, reduced inflammation associated with the intestinal tract, decreased symptoms of allergy and eczema, and aiding immune function to name a few.  Sometimes, however, probiotic supplementation fails to meet expectations. Why is that? Continue reading “8 Reasons Your Probiotic Isn’t Working”