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Friday, April 20, 2012

Going Gluten Free




So you have decided to do a gluten-free trial, to find out if the myriad of symptoms you experience are related to gluten. Perhaps you already know from testing, a previous gluten free trial, or because you have a close relative with gluten sensitivity or Celiac, that you must become gluten free for your health.  Whatever the case, I hope this guide will be helpful for you. This is not an easy undertaking, and if you are willing to give up a few of the foods you love (and most likely are addicted to) then you must also be willing to eliminate all hidden gluten in your entire home. You are going to do a lot of label reading!  Before you begin, if you have not been to your doctor and had lab work drawn, you may want to consider that in order to be tested for gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease, you must be consuming gluten! Testing done while gluten free will certainly be pointless. Read what I had to go through, after a year of improved health,  by not getting my testing done first, in my journal Backwards Into Gluten.    I don't recommend that course of action for anyone! It is better to do your testing first if you suspect you are gluten sensitive or celiac.

The gluten-containing grains most associated with gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease are wheat (e.g., durum, graham, semolina, kamut, triticale, and spelt) as well as rye, barley, and most oats. Although oats technically are not part of the most problematic gliadin-containing family of grains, modern methods of processing nearly always ensure gluten contamination of oat products, and the presence of actual gluten should always be assumed unless a product is labeled “100 percent gluten-free.” The prolamin (avenin) content of oats, however, still makes them at least potentially suspect for inherent cross-reactivity issues, even where they may be sold as gluten-free products. The very same can be said for many products containing corn and cornstarch. Buckwheat and soy flours are almost always contaminated with gluten due to processing and storage methods. The good news is that the devastating symptoms of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease can often be entirely eliminated. You must eliminate 100 percent—not just most—of the gluten from your diet, and that means not just gluten-containing dietary grains, but all hidden sources as well, which can include (but are not limited to) commercial soups, broths, processed food mixes, soy sauce, teriyaki and other sauces, corn products and cornstarch, and salad dressings. Gluten can be listed as vegetable protein, seitan, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, and other names. Gluten is additionally hidden on food labels as other food starches, artificial food coloring, food stabilizers, malt extract (syrup or flavoring), dextrins, and food emulsifiers. Sprouted grain breads or supplements containing wheat or barley grass may sound like healthy gluten-free solutions, but still contain the seed hull (gluten) of wheat, rye, and/or barley and should be avoided. If you want the benefit of wheat grass, you cannot trust any manufacturer and you must grow it yourself, and be careful to snip only the grass, making sure no seed hull (gluten) clings to the grass.

Gluten is even an ingredient in many shampoos, cosmetics, and lipsticks (which can potentially be absorbed through your skin) and other personal care products, children’s Play-Doh, medications, vitamins (unless specifically labeled “gluten free”), and even non–self-adhesive stamps and envelopes. Although I realize all this need for ultrastrict avoidance sounds rather tedious and inconvenient, an article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry stated clearly,“ Even minute traces of gliadin (gluten) are capable of triggering a state of heightened immunological activity in gluten sensitive people,” meaning prolonged inflammation and other symptoms. Saying you’ve eliminated “most” of the gluten from your diet because you are gluten sensitive is a bit like saying you’re just “a little bit pregnant.” Either you are or you’re not. There are no in-betweens. Avoidance must be strict and total.  You need to examine your shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care and skin-care products for the presence of wheat protein, sometimes listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does nothing to ensure the safety of any chemical used in personal-care products, so you’re left to trust the manufacturer. Even the FDA regulation (21 CFR Sec. 740.10) states, “Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives.… Cosmetic firms are responsible for substantiating the safety of their products and ingredients before marketing.” In 1978, congressional hearings presented evidence that the absorption of a known carcinogen, nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA)—commonly found in shampoo products—was shown to be more than one hundred times greater when exposure came through the skin than through the mouth.

Of the roughly 126 chemicals consumers regularly apply to their skin, 90 percent have never, ever been tested for their safety. Most people think nothing of the products they apply to their hair or skin, and the cosmetics industry readily capitalizes on this ignorance at tremendous potential cost to your health for considerable profit. Why is this important? I mean, we’re just talking about skin, right? It’s not like you’re drinking the stuff In fact, it’s probably worse. Keep in mind that your skin is your largest organ and that it is exceedingly thin (less than one-tenth of an inch in thickness) and permeable. If you were to eat or drink these products, you’d have several things come into play to help protect you from direct bloodstream exposure, such as your gut lining, hydrochloric acid, and enzymes. In a hot shower, however, with your pores open wide, there is very little between you and the direct absorption of anything you are applying to your scalp and skin right into your bloodstream, where it is all free to travel throughout your body to your brain and all your other organs. The concern here may seem trivial to some but it is very real. When you’re reading a hair- or skin-care label, it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether you would be willing to actually drink the contents of that product. If you are reading a list that includes a whole lot of difficult to-pronounce chemicals or are seeing wheat protein or vegetable protein on the label, you’d do well to think twice about using that product. And don’t let buzzwords like organic and natural fool you! It's a ploy and a complete lie usually. 

Here is a list of ingredients that contain gluten in common beauty products. Avoid these in cosmetics, shampoos, lotions and soaps:
• BARLEY EXTRACT
• SAMINO PEPTIDE COMPLEX
• HORDEUM VULGARE (BARLEY) EXTRACT
• PHYTOSPHINGOSINE EXTRACT
• BARLEY LIPIDS
• FERMENTED GRAIN EXTRACT
• AMP–ISOSTEAROYL HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT GLUTEN
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT STARCH
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN PG–PROPYL SILANETRIOL
• WHEAT AMINO ACIDS HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM WHEAT
PROTEIN
• WHEAT AMINO ACIDS
• STEARDIMONIUM HYDROXYPROPYL HYDROLYZED WHEAT
PROTEIN
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN/PVP CROSSPOLYMER
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN (and) HYDROLYZED WHEAT
STARCH
• TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GLUTEN EXTRACT/WATER
• WHEAT (TRITICUM VULGARE) BRAN EXTRACT
• HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN PG–PROPYL SILANETRIOL
• TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) FLOUR LIPIDS
• WHEAT GERMAMIDOPROPYLDIMONIUM HYDROXYPROPYL
• WHEAT GERM EXTRACT
 
 Here is a list of ingredients that may or may not contain gluten in common non–food products:
• WHEAT GERM OIL
• WHEAT GERM GLYCERIDES
• DISODIUM WHEAT GERMAMIDO PEG–2 SULFOSUCCINAT
• VITAMIN E DERIVED FROM WHEAT GERM OIL
• TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM OIL
• TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM EXTRACT
• WHEAT GERM GLYCERIDES
• WHEAT GERM EXTRACT

Here is a list of ingredients that is most likely cross contaminated with gluten in common non–food products
• OAT
• OAT (AVENA SATIVA) FLOUR
• OAT (AVENA SATIVA) BRAN EXTRACT
• OAT (AVENA SATIVA) BRAN
• OAT (AVENA SATIVA) PROTEIN

Finally, these ingredients in food and non-food items commonly cause a reaction to people with gluten sensitivities:
  • MILLET 
  • QUINOA
  • RICE
  • BUCKWHEAT
  • SOY

Dr. Joseph Mercola, on his excellent health website (www.mercola.com), has additive- free shampoos and conditioners available. Another source for allergen-free hair- and skin-care products is Gluten-Free Savonnerie (www.gfsoap.com). Just do a If you happen to have a smart phone, there are also numerous “gluten-free” apps available to help you screen individual products, restaurants, grocery stores, and other shopping sources at your fingertips. The good news is that the awareness of these issues is rapidly spreading and resources are likely to grow exponentially in the very near time to come.

Many people will claim they have been adhering to a strict gluten-free diet when, in fact, they have been avoiding only the obvious sources and really haven’t been paying enough attention to potentially hidden sources, including their personal-care products. They will eventually rationalize their lack of positive health results to the idea that they weren’t gluten sensitive after all, and they will simply go back to eating whatever they want. This is a huge mistake! I have worked with clients who were gluten sensitive and were unable to make substantial progress until they addressed the issue of gluten in their personal-care products. Even when adherence to a genuinely gluten-free diet doesn’t seem to generate the expected turnaround in health and well-being, you have at least removed one very major hurdle to improvement. There can always be other hurdles yet to conquer. Gluten in personal-care products, medications, and even stamps and envelopes (the kind you have to lick) can be a problem. Cross-reactivity to other substances is another important possibility to consider when going gluten-free does not yield the expected improvements. Cyrex Labs has a testing array that can screen for this. Gluten is, however, not the only modern substance challenging the health of the masses. Restoring health can be like peeling back the layers of an onion. It is a process. Often enough, by simply removing this one major dietary antigen, the turnaround in some people can seem nothing short of miraculous. It can also make a massive difference where seemingly more benign issues like resistance to weight loss are concerned.

My take on gluten-free substitutes
Seeking out gluten-free substitutes is certainly an option, as there are scores of gluten-free products of all kinds available today. It’s big business for food manufacturers these days. Clearly, gluten-free shampoos and cosmetics are a good and necessary idea. Unfortunately, even though other grains, such as quinoa, corn, millet, and rice, as well as buckwheat and soy, do not technically contain gluten, gluten contamination in many of these foods and cross-reactivity is extremely common. They are also more a source of starch than of protein, regardless, and the majority of gluten-free substitutes are highly, highly processed foods.  Just because something is gluten-free does not mean it is actually healthy for you, anymore than something being vegan does. Beware of the plethora of junk food masquerading as a “healthy gluten-free option” or “substitute.” Gluten intolerance and carbohydrate intolerance, in general, are far more the rule than the exception in today’s world. It is logical to conclude that grain consumption of any kind, especially gluten-containing grains, just isn’t worth the dietary risk, given our culture’s innumerable health challenges and vulnerabilities. Why add to the unnecessary sugary, fattening, neurotransmitter and hormone-wrecking carbohydrate load? In my view, it’s better to take processed food off the radar screen entirely, and to stick to the foods that don’t need a label you have to read every time. Truthfully, it’s far less complicated and confusing to do so. In short, there is no one alive for whom grains of any type are essential for health, and gluten, in particular, is a health food for no one.

References
Corrao. G., et al. August 2001. “Mortality in Patients with Coeliac Disease and Their Relatives: A Cohort Study.” Lancet 358, no. 9279: 356–61.
Duerksen, D. R., et al. 2010. “A Comparison of Antibody Testing, Permeability Testing, and Zonulin Levels with Small-Bowel Biopsy in Celiac Disease Patients on a Gluten-Free Diet.” Digestive Diseases and Sciences 55: 1026–31.
Farrell, R. J., and C. P. Kelly. January 17, 2002. “Current Concepts: Celiac Sprue.” New England Journal of Medicine 346, no. 3: 180–88.
Fasano, A., et al. 2003. “Prevalence of Celiac Disease in At-Risk and Not-At-Risk Groups in the United States: A Large Multicenter Study.” Archives of Internal Medicine 163: 286–92.
Fasano, A. 2003. “Celiac Disease—How to Handle a Clinical Chameleon.” New England Journal of Medicine 348: 2568–70.
Fasano, A., and C. Catassi. February 2001. “Current Approaches to Diagnosis and Treatment of Celiac Disease: An Evolving Spectrum.” Gastroenterology 120, no. 3: 636–51.
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
www.Cyrex Labs
www.Mercola.com 
www.celiac.org

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information, it's actually quite a scary read when you consider the amount of "hidden" gluten in every day products!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for all the great info. I am going to try for the first time to go gluten free. I have been Vegan for several years, but I have needed to do this for a while. I am however just a little confused as to why you reference a website that clearly advocates eating meat. Maybe I missed something. Anyway. I love your blog. I will be back here and on your FB page often!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish you well on your new journey! As for where I get my information on gluten, the references to which I included here for anyone who wants to delve further, they have sound gluten-free information. 'Gluten free' certainly does not mean 'vegan', or vice-versa, and the information on being gluten free so often comes from meat eating sources. It is up to us to filter the information that best fits us.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shelly, thank you so much for posting all of this. I've been gluten free, but I did it all wrong - I went g-free first and now they want to test me. I'm so NOT wanting to go gluten-full again!

    I had found that while healing, grains still aggravated my intestines. Then a friend found some article with some doctor saying that when healing from gluten problems - all grains need to be avoided. Have you heard anything about that? I'd have to agree - especially since you listed quinoa and millet - those are part of many g-free recipes... no wonder I still couldn't eat "g-free" baked goods.

    Did your colonoscopy show any signs of villi damage? I have a procedure on the horizon and I"m a little nervous about it.

    Thanks again,
    Tyra Walters
    tyraleilopez@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tyra,
    I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well, and have to undergo the testing. An endoscopy is no fun, but it will very likely be a waste of time and effort unless you are consuming gluten on a regular basis for 8-12 weeks before the procedure.That will be even less fun :( (If you are interested, I chronicled exactly this experience elsewhere on my blog, http://glutenfreeveganjourney.blogspot.com/p/journal-backwards-into-gluten.html)
    I really look forward to the day when the wide array of celiac testing by Cyrex Labs is commonplace, and paid by insurance! This is much needed, and would benefit so many who have symptoms that the standard testing misses!
    In my case, we were unable to reach the villi by endoscopy for biopsies due to a very rare anatomical anomaly. Doc said it is a miracle I can digest food at all, haha! Of course, he said he could do surgery on me to fox it, I politely said, "it isn't broken".
    As for being gluten-free, I sometimes think we cannot trust ANY packaged foods. I got gluten sick today from a bag of chips labeled gluten free. Here is an article on that you might find of interest: http://experiencelife.com/newsflashes/be-cautious-of-gluten-free-labels/
    Many people with our set of symptoms have a "leaky gut" that the gluten reaction causes. Here are a few articles on that, maybe they will help you:

    http://www.leakygut.co.uk/

    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361058/what-is-leaky-gut.html

    http://www.ei-resource.org/illness-information/environmental-illnesses/leaky-gut-syndrome-%28lgs%29/

    Good luck Tyra, let me know if I can be of any help, and let me know how it goes!

    ~Shelly

    ReplyDelete
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Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear what you think!
~ Shelley