A holistic approach to treatment of Celiac’s Disease
Stuart Shipe, D.O.M., R.Ph. Dipl Ac. & C.H. (NCCAOM)
I guess the first thing to know is that I don’t treat a disease, I treat a person. The word “Celiac” refers to any general condition of the abdominal cavity. So I would list Celiac’s disease in the same category as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel, Diverticulitis, or any other inflammatory condition of the bowels. Namely, something in the patient’s abdominal cavity is inflamed. To make matters worse, the gut is not absorbing nutrition to any extent because of the inflammation and with poor digestion accompanied with poor gut motility additional toxins (‘guanidine’) accumulate causing additional inflammation. The key to successfully treating this pattern of symptoms referred to as Celiac’s disease is focus on improving bowel health and prevention. To fix digestion in the “South” of the digestive system, I usually begin in the “North.” Before I continue let me digress to an evolutionary mistake in human nutrition.
As humans, our digestive systems were never designed to eat grains. We were hunter-gatherers with food staples of meat, nuts, seeds, berries, and vegetation. Around 6,000 years ago the civilized world due to demands of feeds the multitudes living in close proximity started agricultural habits of growing and eating grains. When I mention meat, I am not referring to the 12 and 24 ounce steaks that we consume on a daily basis in America but meat in small quantities when it was available to catch. To further add insult to the ability of our bodies to acquire nutrition, the nutritional value of grains lies within the bran and the germ of the grain. All the essential vitamins, enzymes and minerals are contained in the bran and germ. We are fed only the starchy cardboard today that is void of nutrition except for the synthetic naked vitamins that are sprayed back into the wheat to give us “fortified” products. This starchy part of the germ has a higher glycemic load on the digestive system and actually slows the digestive motility leading to a process called fermentation, or the rotting of carbohydrates in the gut. Now you know where methane and intestinal gas come from. These undigested sugars “oligosaccharides” (also comes from beans) is a prime food for toxin-producing bacteria lower down in the colon. You can either help fix the digestive enzymes in the north or live off of a product that is grown from mold beginning with a “b” and ending with a “no”.
To begin digestion in the “north” consider chewing the food well. The Chinese philosophy is to chew food until it like water. Carbohydrate digestion begins with salivary enzymes in the mouth secreted in response to chewing. Since the contemporary western medical theory of celiac’s disease states it is an immune reaction to a protein, let’s talk about the proper digestion of proteins in the body. You cannot assimilate proteins without adequate acid in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is the bodies’ main protein digestion juice and most American’s are sadly deficient in the production of this fluid, especially those that live off purple pills, oyster shells and heavy metals of aluminum and magnesium beverages. I use various combinations of natural Betaine HCl, pepsin, pancreatin, ammonium chloride and pancreas extracts to stimulate acid secretion in individuals I test to be deficient in HCl. It also supports iron and calcium absorption, normalizes stomach pH, stops flatulence, indigestion, mal-assimilation, pernicious anemia, demineralization, bad breath, parasitic prevention, foreign travel prevention, vomiting and diarrhea disorders. Without proper acid digestion, the food stuff slips into the small intestine partially digested with uncleaved proteins giving off toxin from putrification. Do you think that these proteins and toxic by-products may aggravate the small intestines lining causing it to secrete a protective mucous barrier, swell, inflame, and attempt to reduce the size of its villi (absorbing finger-like projections). Celiac’s disease my *&%$#! Let’s think about fixing our digestion and focus what’s going down our throats. The advice from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness lists starch and flour by-products as a substitute food source for celiac’s. Nice try! How many individuals are eating steel cut grains that have the bran and germ mixed into the flour? Sadly, real “whole” grain products go rancid quickly due to their high oil and fat content of the germ and don’t have a shelf life. You won’t find whole grains in any common grocery store just the cardboard.
Let’s head next to the liver because statistics already show that over half of all American’s have fatty congested, sluggish livers with a new Western diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. The liver has many functions it produces bile, eliminates toxic by-products, supports thyroid function by eliminating excess or converting deficient thyroid hormone, eliminates histamine (an inflammatory cheerleader), regulates estrogen and other hormone-like substances (xenobiotics) by creating or metabolizing them, filters out bacteria, produces cholesterol the mother of all hormones, and helps us handle sugar metabolism. I think that detoxification support for the liver would be a pretty good idea in helping Celiac’s due to the large amount of inflammatory histamine and other cytokines (other inflammatory cheerleaders) being released in the gut. The liver can reduce histamine levels in the body. I use nutritional foods like the cruciferous family (brassica vegies) and limolene (Citrus) to help liver metabolism. Additional support can come from a special liver extract the Japanese call Yukriton. It quickens the detoxification of the blood in its flow through the liver and can be considered a natural anti-histamine. This can also help with cases of asthma and allergies as well that are histamine related. People who have toxic thyroids may also find benefit. I also get the bile flowing because bile is the source of a great bowel movement and the medium to flush toxin from the liver. Without moving the bile and detoxifying the liver, you just end up with sluggish livers continually recycling garbage. On a side note, the information on Celiac’s from Western thought also lists arthritis and osteoporosis as co-morbid diseases that Celiac’s are afflicted with. Arthritics have sluggish livers. They have a lot of toxic guanidine, an alkaline body substance caused by constipation or cell trauma. Guanidine causes calcium to precipitate out of the blood and deposit in tissue. Hello arthritis, cataracts, kidney stones, etc. Bones become brittle or weaken from the lack of proper mineral absorption in the stomach because there’s not enough acid to help turn rocks into water so-to-speak. Well, enough with the liver, let’s head south now.
We have a massive quantity of garbage heading toward the lower intestines and without proper beneficial bacteria in the colon the garbage becomes another source of inflammation that swells the lining of the colon letting toxin pass right through and heads back to the liver again. I include a broad spectrum probiotic in my regimen in combination with proteolytic enzymes like fig, pineapple, almond, bromelain, lipase, cellulose and amylases. It’s all about enzymes – enzymatically digest your food, don’t ferment it! Oh, by the way don’t even think of using enzymes from food that doesn’t have organic origins. As a safety precaution, I usually combine enzymes, probiotics with an adsorbent (magnet-like) inert product in the colon to bind and eliminate any toxic by-product and help promote the bowel movement. I also combine herbs in my treatment to support hemorrhoid terror if the patient tends to be constipated. Now that I covered most of the digestive system, I would be really negligent if I didn’t discuss the immune system.
The advice from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that “the body attacks itself”. If the body attacked itself we would all be dead. It is a foolish thing to think that the body is stupid enough to self-destruct. Due to an overwhelming reaction to a gluten protein the affected tissue creates antibodies to combat the antigen. This process produces inflammation and a host of immune related response that calls the entire immune system to a “party” on the lining of the small intestine. The immune system brings with it “Pac- man- like” white blood cells ready to engulf, digest and destroy any invader that’s tagged hostile. The problem lies in the fact that friendly fire starts to occur. The massive amount of inflammation at the tissue lining from this antibody-antigen reaction causes adjacent healthy cells to burst releasing more histamine and cell digesting enzymes. Pretty soon, the entire region is blooming with cellular death, destruction and havoc. The immune system becomes hypersensitive and no longer can differentiate between healthy and unhealthy tissue. Western medicine calls this process autoimmune disease. I call it chaos. How do you stop it? Yes, take the offender, gluten, away for awhile but keep the immune system busy on something else than the target tissue. Kind of like in Top Gun when the pilot sends off flares to divert a missile attack. I use Dr. Royal Lee’s theory of protomorphogen therapy. It’s taking similar tissue minus the hormones ingested to deter the immune system and let the small intestine heal. The addition of antioxidants to help clear toxin and boost liver function, whole food vitamins and minerals to help build enzymes and co-factors in metabolism, and a great diet rich in good fats, lean proteins and low carbohydrate is the finishing touch.
Well almost . . . OOP’s, I forgot I was an acupuncture physician. Acupuncture studies have shown tremendous benefit over Western treatment modalities for inflammatory bowel disorders. The best part is that the patient doesn’t have to take anything orally. The acupuncture or acupressure is designed to move stagnant Qi energy. My patients experience relief from stagnant stomachs, intestines, livers, gallbladders, and bowels within a short period of time with acupuncture, Chinese massage called Tuina and Qigong exercises. When the inflammation clears considerably then I feed my patient’s with nutrition and work on diet. With better absorption, other problems like chronic fatigue and depression also listed as problems with Celiac’s are improved.
The best western medical advice for the treatment of Celiac’s is to avoid food that contains gluten. That’s it. That’s the only thing that I found as a recommendation for this disorder and that’s really sad. In my opinion, it’s only symptomatic treatment like most other western therapies. This doesn’t help heal the lining of the intestine. This doesn’t reduce intestinal inflammation long-term, improve digestion, help detoxify the liver and kidney, promote bowel movements or rebuild bowel flora. Where are these recommendations for the person afflicted with an unbalanced digestive tract? The literature off of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness also states that Celiac’s is associated with other lower inflammatory disorders like Crohn’s, IBS, diverticulosis, diverticulitis I mentioned previously. I agree . . . Logical. If you don’t fix digestion in the North, eventually the South will suffer.
Why suffer any longer?