As a Certified Gluten Practitioner I help people with gluten-related disorders including wheat allergies, Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and non-immune nutritional deficiency complications. Three parameters must come together to develop gluten-related disorders: genetic vulnerability, environmental trigger and intestinal permeability. While there is not much you can do to change your genetic vulnerability, you can remove environmental triggers and heal the gut.
It is also very common for people with gluten-related disorders to have other food sensitivities that can lead to cross-reactivity with gluten antibodies in their system. These additional sensitivities can prolong and aggravate the widespread systemic damage to various organs of the digestive system and lead to ongoing health issues, autoimmune diseases (Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, alopecia, rheumatoid arthritis), and even irreversible organ/cellular damage.
A patient’s immune system can react to gluten/wheat in various ways and demonstrate a wide range of symptoms. While it was once thought that Celiac Disease was the diagnosis for gluten sensitivity, we now know that Celiac is just the tip of the iceberg for gluten sensitivity diagnosis. We use functional lab testing to help patients understand where they fall on the spectrum of gluten-related disorders. We guide patients, empowering them to make a smooth transition into living a gluten-free lifestyle.
Removing gluten from the diet is only the first toward recovery. The next step must be to heal the gut. Even after removing gluten from the diet, many people continue to suffer the symptoms of gluten sensitivity. That’s because it is necessary to heal the damage to the gut lining that has been caused ingesting gluten over many decades. First, we need to adopt a new approach to the foods we consume. This can be done by starting with the “Four Rs” – remove, repair, restore, and replace.
Step 1: Remove
In this first step we remove the offending foods and toxins from your diet that could be acting as stressors on your system. This means caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, bad fats, and any other foods you think may be causing issues, like gluten and dairy. All of these all irritate the gut in some form and create an inflammatory response.
Step 2: Repair
The next step is to begin to repair the gut and heal the damaged intestinal lining. You do this by consuming an unprocessed diet and giving your body time to rest by providing it with substances that are known to heal the gut, like L-glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and antioxidants (in the form of vitamins A, C, and E),.
Step 3: Restore
This involves the restoration of your gut’s optimal bacterial flora population. This is done with the introduction of probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. A probiotic is a good bacteria and is ingested to help reinforce and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and to help fight illness. In general a healthy lower intestinal tract should contain around 85% good bacteria. This helps to combat any overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Step 4: Replace
It may be important to add back or replace those enzymes or other elements that we may be missing or lacking in the body and diet in order to digest our food properly. These include digestive enzymes that are not being produced in the body at adequate levels to breakdown and assimilate nutrients. They also include supplements to repair the mucosal barrier in the intestines.