Clinical Nutrition and Botanical Medicine for Celiac DiseaseCeliac disease seems to have taken the U.S. (and many other parts of the world) by storm. About 3 million Americans are diagnosed per year which comes down to approximately 1 out of 133. Conventional medicine considers celiac an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack itself due to an overgrowth of candida (yeast a/k/a bad bacteria). In small amounts candida is needed in the intestinal tract as flora (good bacteria) primarily runs the show. However, when candida takes over it is detected as dangerously toxic and the immune system sends out the message to put a stop to it. Unfortunately this is for nought as most people keep eating highly glutenous, fatty foods which in turn aggravates this panicked immune response. This aggravation can inflame the intestinal tract resulting in the destruction of villi which are small hair-like projections responsible for proper nutrient absorption. As the villi lessens so does essential supplementation. In addition, the immune system is constantly targeting this yeast overgrowth and inevitably becomes weakened making the sufferer highly vulnerable to a slew of other unrelated health problems such as colds, infection and even some cancers.

The Ghost Protocol
Many people have celiac disease and do not even know it. In fact, according to a Mayo Clinic study, “…the incidence of celiac disease is rising and that undiagnosed celiac disease is associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk of death.” Because of its vague symptoms most do not consider cause for alarm. These symptoms are often associated with gastrointestinal challenges such as cramping, diarrhea, bloating and excessive gas. For many, especially those eating an American processed food diet these are considered normal everyday occurrences. Other symptoms that can be even more elusive are fatigue (almost everybody is tired from one thing or another), weight loss (who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds?), anemia (low iron), infertility (this is associated with a multitude of causes) and various bouts with nerve damage (aches and pains are a common complaint, regardless). So it is difficult to target celiac let alone cure it as it is considered incurable by conventional medicine. However, using traditional medicine may have a different outcome.

Gluten Free and Then Some
Gluten is the protein that makes baking dough elastic and is found in wheat, rye and barley. It is also found hidden in everything from frozen French fries, beer and soy sauce to pasta, cereal and even some candy products. Avoiding gluten can significantly diminish the immune systems response to the intestinal tract which in turn reduces inflammation, supports healthy villi and increases nutritional absorption.

Eating gluten-free foods is one attempt at reducing symptoms. Conventional medicine considers celiac disease incurable so it does recommend a gluten-free diet along with various potentially toxic, system draining medications to address discomfort or kill bacteria. However, it is the efforts of naturopathic remedies (traditional medicine), including clinical nutrition and botanical medicine, that have shown some considerable promise in not only easing symptoms but in many cases eliminating this condition altogether. Always check with your naturopathic doctor before changing your diet to treat celiac disease.

Clinical Nutrition Protocol
Clinical nutrition can be the targeted protocol needed to eat for disease prevention as well as continue healthy maintenance. As mentioned, eliminating gluten is essential to significantly reducing celiac symptoms making it the number one clinical nutrition rule for this condition. Interestingly there is no known cause for celiac disease but some speculate that a lack of grain variety throughout generation after generation has perpetuated the mostly sole production of wheat. Therefore, it is no surprise that each generation’s anatomy has become a little more intolerant to wheat or specifically gluten (possibly forming genes to attempt to thwart its ingestion) resulting in the continued rise of celiac disease. In turn, scores of food companies have pushed their way onto the anti-gluten bandwagon offering a variety of packaged, processed, gluten-free products. It sounds like a good plan but people are still reaching for less live foods (non-packaged fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes etc.) and still eating from a box, canned choice or other fancy package even if it is gluten-free.

There are several other food choices rarely mentioned through the mainstream media and conventional medicine channels that can assist and even strengthen a system suffering from celiac beyond just eliminating gluten. Some foods recommended for their clinical nutrition benefits include:

Garlic – This super food is a powerful anti-microbial capable of killing systemic fungi, bacteria, infections and overgrown yeast like candida the major player in celiacs.

Gray Colored Sea Salt – This is the natural color of sea salt not the processed white granules touted as sea salt. The extra sodium will help create a more alkaline system which can assist in moving fluids which in turn is effective in purging toxins.

Apple Pectin – Used to absorb radioactive waste from victims of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl (Ukraine 1986) apple pectin is able to remove toxins as well as act as a soluble fiber to bulk stool for more efficient intestinal toxin removal.

Lemonade or Pineapple Juice – Unsweetened, organic lemonade or pineapple juice several times per day can counteract the acidic process after digestion as well as offer naturally occurring sugars that are more beneficial to flora than yeast.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables – Foods such as kale, alfalfa, collard greens and broccoli rabe are high in vitamin K which is most often very low in celiac patients.

Botanical Medicine Protocol
Healing the body by using botanical medicine is a practice that, if monitored by a professional naturopathic doctor, can forego chemically derived, conventional remedies. It is a process that the body is able to embrace and tap into using targeting botanicals to enhance its own powerful healing powers. Below are a handful of botanical remedies that may be beneficial in the treatment of celiac disease:

Turmeric (curcumin) – According to an article published in the 2009 issue of Alternative Medicine Review: “Natural components, such as curcumin derived from turmeric, have promising regulatory effects on each of these inflammatory mediators. Due to the modulatory effect it has on the inflammatory cascade in the intestinal tract, curcumin is being considered for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.”

Evening Primrose Oil – Most celiac patients lack this essential omega-6 fatty acid.

Paprika – This botanical spice has shown to ease the celiac symptoms when added to food.

Ginger – Combats bowel inflammation.

Marshmallow Root– Soothes inflammation and irritation in the alimentary canal (digestive tract) and may reduce candida production.

Clinical nutrition and botanical medicine are two of many options when using naturopathic medicine for celiac disease. Working side by side with a naturopathic doctor can also include acupuncture (for bloating, inflammation and overall pain), nutraceutical supplementation (such as probiotics and other beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more) as well as detoxification and homeopathy.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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