Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oats - can they be part of a gluten-free diet?

There has been controversy for years as to whether it is okay, or not okay, to eat oats if you are gluten-sensitive.

Clinical studies have now provided very good evidence that oats do not damage the gut mucosa in most people who have coeliac disease.  Following this, guidelines from some Coeliac Societies now accept that moderate amounts of oats can be consumed by most coeliacs without risk.

Many experts concerned with coeliac disease have now concluded that oats are safe for coeliacs, as long as they limit their consumption to amounts “found to be safe” in these research studies.  This quantity is up to one-half cup of dry whole-grain rolled oats per day.  Of course, any oats that are consumed need to be free of any contamination from other grains.

Half a cup of oats each day is usually okay

Here is some of the information that this opinion is based on:

A study in Finland looked at 52 coeliacs who were in remission and who had been on a gluten-free diet for more than a year.  They all had a duodenal-biopsy, then they ate about 50 grams of oats (half a cup) per day over the next six months. Finally, they had a second biopsy.   None of the people had any villus damage .

Your gut can heal whilst eating oats
Another group studied 40 newly diagnosed coeliacs in the same way.  As expected, their initial biopsy showed significant villus damage (this was of course because they were still on a gluten-containing diet until they began the study). These people started on their gluten-free diet as well as eating their 50 grams of oats each day for 12 months. At the end of the year, their biopsies showed no damage to their villi. The meaning of this study was that their damaged villi were able to heal while eating oats.

A few people get unwell eating oats
However, other studies have found that not all people with coeliac disease are able to tolerate oats. Especially, those who also have dermatitis herpetiformis.  Researchers report that although oats are well tolerated by most coeliacs, they did find a few exceptions.  Several people recounted initial abdominal discomfort and bloating.  A few patients have been found to eventually develop total villous atrophy during an oat challenge.

Yet another study has investigated 20 adult coeliacs who were in remission, to see if they could eat even larger amounts of oats in their daily gluten-free diet.  They consumed about 100 grams (one cup) of uncontaminated rolled oats in their daily diet for  over a year.  They were tested four times during the study period.  This included small bowel endoscopy and blood samples.  They experienced no gut symptoms.  Also, there were no adverse effects seen in small bowel histology or in their blood test results.   The conclusion was that the vast majority of adults with coeliac disease could include large amounts of rolled oats in their diet without problems.
Oats have also been studied in children.  A group of ten children with coeliac disease were investigated at the time of their diagnosis.  They were put on a gluten-free diet but they were also eating about 25 grams (quarter of a cup) of rolled oats each day.  After six months they were tested again.  There was improvement in both their small bowel histology and their tissue transglutaminase antibody results.
Children tolerate oats well
However, there is still a word of caution.  Oat proteins have been shown to trigger the immune response of cells taken from coeliac people.  Therefore, the long-term effects of oat cereal added to a gluten-free diet in children still need to be determined.

Oats are useful fibre
The ability to use oats in your diet gives an important source of fibre as well as other important nutrients.  This is very important in children who have other food allergies.  If you are also allergic to cow’s milk and eggs, then going gluten-free is a big task.  Therefore, if oats can be tolerated, this makes food planning just a little bit easier.

Each person will have to work out whether or not they can tolerate oats for themselves.  This needs to be determined both clinically and with follow-up blood tests.

Finally, some gluten experts have expressed some further concerns about oats.  These are:

Some food chemistry research studies suggest that avenin protein in oats does have toxic properties.
The purity of oat products in some countries is suspect.  Oats and oat products can inadvertently be contaminated with wheat.  This can occur during harvesting, milling and  processing.
There is a possibility that gut damage from oats takes longer than six to twelve months to show up.  Also, symptoms might not be readily apparent to the person.
The possibility that young children might have a higher cross-sensitivity to oats because of their relatively immature immune system.

These are real concerns.  It is important that gluten-sensitive people know about the oats story.  Whether or not they choose to eat oats, they should be under some sort of regular medical evaluation and supervision. However, the common opinion is that the long-time consumption of oats as part of the gluten-free diet is well tolerated among the vast majority of those with coeliac disease.

Dr Rodney Ford
Food allergy and Gluten expert

Thursday, October 27, 2011

5 different tests for celiac/ gluten/ wheat problems

Wendy says: “My daughter has had 2 negative results for coeliac but still has a major problem with wheat!  Are there other tests for wheat intolerance?”
My reply:
When she says "2 negative results for celiac" I do not understand the problem ...  because there are at least 5 different tests for celiac/gluten/wheat problems. And, none can completely rule out a gluten problem: the only way to see if gluten is truly affecting you is to go on a gluten-free diet for a year and see if you get better.  But get your blood tests first.
The 5 tests:
  1. Gluten blood tests: IgG-gliadin
  2. Tissue damage blood tests: tTG, EMA, DGP
  3. Gene test: HLA DQ2/DQ8
  4. Endoscopy: a small bowel biopsy whilst still eating gluten
  5. Skin tests, EAST/RAST: specific IgE tests for wheat allergy.
Each of these tests needs interpretation in the context of your current diet and symptoms.
We will help you through this at the Childrens Clinic |Allergy Centre, Christchurch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Direct link: gluten and my brain

Erin Fitzgerald writes:

"I just wanted to tell Dr Rodney about my symptoms which may be of assistance for other cases. 

I have been unwell since my teenage years with all of the usual symptoms of gluten intolerance it was particularly bad for the past 11 years including diarrhoea every day. 

But my most disturbing symptom was fainting which was happening daily and ofter multiple times in the day. I had every test known to man with no positive results. Eventually I  went on a gluten free diet on my own accord and noticed an immediate ceasing of the fainting.

I initially thought this was because my diarrohea and associated malnutrition stopped however after accidentally eating a small amount of gluten and fainiting a few months later I realised there was a direct link between gluten and my brain. Possibily because I had suffered severe symptoms for so long.

I have searched for similar cases and never found any nor has any Doctors i talked to heard of a link between fainting and gluten allergy so I thought you might be interested.

Thank you for all your wonderful work."


Thanks Erin, I have similar patients. This is part of the Gluten Syndrome.
Cheers Rodney Ford 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tired all of my life - got no tests

A sad story - 31 years sick

I have been helping one of my patients dads. His name is Chris and he is 31 years old. I have been investigating his son - who was sick, tired and grumpy.  It turns out that his son is gluten sensitive.
But Dad also had the same symptoms! He said:
“I’ve been tired all my life - constantly tired and moody. I can't think or concentrate properly, I was questioning my intelligence level when at school and struggled with concentration.”
“I have done so many things to try and keep up my energy: being fit, drinking lots of water and eating the best I can. However, I was always lacking in energy.  I just thought that's who I am. It has been a constant battle for me. I never feel fresh.”
“I thought I was normal. And, yes, my bowel motions always loose, and I do get tummy pain now and then  - but I thought this was normal.  My sleep is shocking. I wake up lots of times sometimes with nightmares. I hate mornings because when I wake up I do not feel refreshed - I still feel tired.”

My comment 
Isn’t this is a sad story. His blood test have shown up celiac disease. He is about to have an endoscopy to prove this. He is desperate to go gluten-free. He feels that most of his life has been spent struggling.  If only he had sought help earlier and got the appropriate test for celiac disease. This is such a common story.
The message: anyone who has any ongoing symptoms that have not been appropriately diagnosed should have blood tests for celiac disease and  gluten sensitivity.

Dr Rodney Ford

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A big “NO” for a gluten “homeopathic remedy”

I have been sent this query from one of my medical colleagues:

“Have you heard of this product? Apparently it's homeopathic. They make some amazing claims. I'm being asked about this and wanted to know if you had any experience/thoughts.”

My reply: “Yes, interesting stuff, however I remain the skeptic.

I have seen this product advertised on the Internet. I have spent some time looking at the website. They claim that this is a “one time treatment” and that once you have taken the course of capsules that you will be able to eat gluten from then on.

I think that this is most unlikely. I am surprised that they are looking at changes in the IgA-anti-gliadin levels.   This is the stool test from enterolab.   I do not have any experience using this assay.

I would be very surprised if someone with celiac disease could start eating gluten after a course of these tablets.

Their conclusion is: ”Although much  more  work  needs  to  be  done  to  prove  the  efficacy  of  this  remedy,   this  pilot  study  indicates  that  some,  if  not  all,  of  the  ingredients  in  this  preparation   may  be  useful  in  helping  the  estimated  the  20  million  people  in  the  United  States   who  have  Gluten  Intolerance.”

They are making a big claim with almost no data.  I would like to see this tested on someone with full celiac disease and see what happens to the celiac markers over a year.  I am sure that very few celiacs would agree to take gluten again.

I would not recommend this product for my patients.
Gluten does a lot of bad things and taking a homeopathic “remedy” for this seems fool-hardy.”
Stay off gluten - the message from me is go ZERO gluten - do not fool yourself with any "quick fix". "If it looks too good to be true - then it IS too good to be true." 

So it is a big “NO” from me.

Cheers Rodney

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celiac nightmares

Newly diagnosed celiac disease.  Rick is 30-year-old.  No energy! He told me about his lifetime history "tiredness".  As a child, his parents called him lazy. This was because he just did not have the energy to do all of the things that he was asked to do. He has fought this by doing more exercise and eating healthy diet (but this meant more gluten!).  But he still feels so tired.  But he thinks he is normal!
Rick has been troubled with horrific nightmares. He has a sore tummy and runny stool. His brother is skinny, and his father has quit eating bread.
Rick’s blood tests show that he definitely has celiac disease. He will feel so much better on a gluten-free diet. He is excited to start the changes.
Did you know that about 1 in 50 people who are chronically unwell might have celiac disease, and many others have gluten sensitivity.

If you are sick, tired or grumpy - get a gluten test.
Dr Rodney Ford

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gluten sensitive vs celiac - as serious?

Asked: "Would a person with non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity as serious a condition as celiac disease?"

Answered: "Good question. They are both serious diseases. Celiac sufferers get gut damage from gluten that can be seen by a microscope (called villus atrophy) and they are more likely to get mal-absorption of vitamins and minerals. 

However, gluten-sensitive people can get severe symptoms anywhere, and get extremely sick from gluten - but they do not get the gut tissue damage. As yet there is no single test that is accurate enough to make a diagnosis on all gluten-sensitive people. Often relies on a trial of GF foods." 

Both groups need the same treatment - zero gluten
Author of The Gluten Syndrome

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 thoughts on being gluten free

Some of you say you are “gluten-free newbies” and asked for advice. I have written several books on this. Hear are my 10 thoughts.

1. Diagnosis: get a clear diagnosis if you can.

2. Mind Set: declare yourself a gluten-free person

3. Accept that your gluten-free journey will have ups and down

4. Aim for a ZERO gluten diet.

5. Find a gluten-free buddy

6. Take care of yourself – vitamin, minerals, probiotics

7. Learn to eat a wide variety of foods (gluten-free).

8. Be proud to be gluten-free.

9. Learn what you can eat.

10. Enjoy the gift of being gluten-free.


Dr Rodney Ford

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gluten: damaged nerves and brains

See full article on "Gluten Free Planet" facebook page:

It is alarming. When you read down this long list of brain and nerve problems, it is staggering that so many neurological problems can be caused by gluten. The dismal news is that, currently, most neurologists and medical practitioners remain unaware of that these diseases/symptoms are commonly linked to gluten harm. The standard (old school) thinking is that gluten can only be a factor in the gastrointestinal symptoms of celiac disease. End of story. Obviously this is mistaken.

Marios Hadjivassiliou, in his 2010 paper says: “Most patients who present with neurological manifestations of gluten sensitivity have no gastrointestinal symptoms. Gluten sensitivity is shown to manifest solely with neurological dysfunction. To improve diagnosis rates, the perception of physicians that gluten sensitivity is solely a disease of the gut must be changed.”

“The early detection of cases of gluten sensitivity with neurological manifestations and subsequent treatment with the gluten-free diet could provide remarkable benefits to the patients.”

Wow! So many nerve diseases can activated by gluten. The big concern is that once your nerves have been damaged enough to cause you symptoms, it might be too late to get a benefit from a gluten-free diet. Damaged nerves are slow to heal … if ever.

You can read even more about the “grain-brain” connection in my book “Full Of It! The shocking truth about gluten”

The inescapable conclusion is to avoid gluten before you get sick. That means going gluten-free now. That means everyone adopting a gluten-free lifestyle. This is one of the reasons that I eat gluten-free. What about you? What about your family? That means a Gluten-Free Planet.

Next we will explore glutened minds.

Dr Rodney Ford

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Drugs for gluten - oh dear!

Diet not drugs is my mantra. This is the philosophy of my clinic. It is clear that many illnesses are gluten-induced. However, doctors usually treat the symptoms of their patient's with drugs. Although it would be better to treat the underlying condition, which is often celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (gluten syndrome). Of course, the treatment is a gluten-free diet.

The weird thing is that even when the gluten-illness is eventually diagnosed, some people still want to take drugs instead of diet. How odd!

I have just had a phone call from Julian who lives in a far-away city. He has recently been diagnosed with celiac disease and he is wondering whether to look at vaccines or drugs for celiac disease. He is wanting an easy fix for his illness without really trying out gluten-free.

I told him quite bluntly that he should stick to 100% gluten-free rather than trying to immunologically change his body. He is so addicted to gluten and this lifestyle that he is overwhelmed buy the thought of turning his food and social life upside down.

In my opinion, celiac disease with its serious gut damage, is only a minor part of the gluten problem. It is the anti-gluten immunological response, body-wide, which causes the long term damage. This includes neurological harm and autoimmune disease triggering.

I have stated this before. I suggest changing your food, rather than changing your immune system.

I do hope that Julian heeds my advice.

Cheers, Dr Rodney Ford

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Food allergy/intolerance not taken seriously by restaurant server

You might be interested in our dining experience last night, at a high-end restaurant. We asked for the gluten-free menu options - this irritated our server – he was also a chef.
He said he could tell the people who were “genuine” (he did not elaborate on the secret of how he did this!). He went on to say that in his opinion: “most people who request a special diet are doing this to annoy the staff or to show off.”

He also said: “people should know what is in the food and not order the wrong foods.” – He did not tell us how we could find out what the chef was brewing up in the kitchen.
So arrogant. He has no concept of people becoming ill by eating (being poisoned by) the wrong foods. He was smug. Very disappointing to hear his attitude in the hospitality industry. We have a long way to go to educate these people.

You might have also come across this attitude. What is the best way to handle this?

Dr Rodney Ford

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Food allergy missed again - often causes eczema

Arrrrrghh! I feel so annoyed. My clinic over the last two days has been filled with little children who have been suffering from severe eczema. They are itchy, cranky, uncomfortable and their parents distressed. They have seen health professionals who have prescribed moisturizers, hydrocortisone and stronger steroid creams. But to no avail. Food allergy has not even been considered.

They were three children today who had positive skin tests to egg. They have all been breast-feed and then others have been eating eggs (they have thought that the good protein would help in breast milk). Unfortunately, it has precipitated eczema. These poor babies have egg allergy. They are miserable. Most will also be allergic to cow's milk.

I am treating them with a probiotic, a hypoallergenic diet and suggest weaning them from the breast (or mother to completely cut eggs out of her diet). I expect them to have perfect skin within the month.

What I am annoyed about is that their medical practitioner did not even consider a food allergy in the diagnosis. The limit of their treatment was creams and potions. What frustrates me is that I have been teaching about food allergy and eczema for over 30 years. There has been almost no learning from my colleagues. This is despite immediate food allergy occurring in 8% of the baby population. What can be done to spread the message?

Some of these babies go on to develop gluten-sensitivity.

Cheers, Dr Rodney Ford.

Back photo shows skin test positive to egg

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Create gluten-conscious-thinking

Food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance so common, but often unrecognized.

I am in a philosophical mood.

This week I have heard (via my patients) significant hear-say criticism from my medical colleagues about my approach to food allergies and food intolerance.

A comment on skin prick testing from one colleague was “this just a load of crap”. I was appalled to hear this comment reported ... and all it did for my patient was to display his ignorance about these illnesses.

Another colleague apparently commented “I don't believe in gastric reflux , it's just a fad, just deal with it!” Again, this attitude has distanced this family from their GP. Again, belief has triumphed over the fact.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated reports. It turns out that the notion that foods can cause anyone harm is difficult to swallow (deliberate pun).

This lack of a basic understanding of food allergy is very odd in the face of so much medical research. For instance, a recent study on food allergy (Differentiating Food Allergies from Food Intoleran... [Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2011] - PubMed result “Adverse reactions to foods are extremely common, and generally they are attributed to allergy.”

Yes, my experience is that Food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance so common, yet often goes unrecognized. Especially, gluten-illness.

Our plan is to create such a HUGE consumer demand that GF becomes main-stream - together we have great strength.

My mission: to Create gluten-conscious-thinking.
The recognition of wheat/gluten illness is very poor. Most medical people do not even consider the diagnosis. That is why as a GF community we have the responsibility of spreading the word about these gluten-related-conditions.

We all have a story - so go tell it.

Thanks Cheers Rodney Ford
Author of "The Gluten Syndrome"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Refractory iron-deficiency anemia caused by gluten intolerance

Yet another clear piece of evidence of the problems of un-recognised and un-treated consequences of gluten sensitivity. When do you think that mainstream doctors are going to wake up to this diagnosis? Every week that they continue in "self-induced-disbelief", thousands of patients unnecessarily continue to suffer undiagnosed.

Here is the abstract:

Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2011 Jul;103(7):349-354.
Refractory iron-deficiency anemia and gluten intolerance - Response to gluten-free diet.Rodrigo Sáez L, Fuentes Álvarez D, Pérez Martínez I, Alvarez Mieres N, Niño García P, De Francisco García R, Riestra Menéndez S, Vivas Alegre S, Olcoz Goñi JL.
ntroduction: refractory iron-deficiency anemia has a multifactorial origin related to various gastrointestinal conditions, with celiac disease plus malabsorption and IBD together with isolated gluten intolerance being most common.Objectives: to determine the prevalence of serum, genetic, and histological markers for gluten intolerance, and to analyze the response to gluten withdrawal from the diet in these patients.Methods: a number of patients with refractory anemia were prospectively and consecutively enrolled. A protocol to measure serum (TGt-2), genetic (HLA-DQ2/DQ8), and histological markers for celiac disease was applied. All followed a gluten-free diet for a median 3.6 years. Sustained remission of anemia during follow-up was interpreted as positive response.Results: ninety-eight patients (84% females) with a mean age of 54 years were studied. Anti-TGt2 antibodies were positive in 5% of cases. A total of 67 cases (68%) were haplotype HLA-DQ2 or -DQ8 (+). We found villous atrophy (Marsh III) in 13% of patients, and an inflammatory pattern (Marsh I or II) in 13%. All remaining 72 patients (74%) had no histological duodenal changes.Age, anemia duration, number of transfusions, number of parenteral iron doses, and time on a gluten-free diet were all compared according to the presence or absence of villous atrophy and HLA-DQ2/8 positivity, and no significant differences were found for any of the analyzed variables. Response was positive in 92% of subjects.Conclusions: celiac disease with villous atrophy is rarely a cause of refractory anemia. Gluten intolerance with no histological lesions is seen in almost 75% of patients, and therefore plays a relevant role in its development.

Dr Rodney Ford
Visit the eClinic for a second opinion
Author of: The Gluten Syndrome

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gluten Free Planet - you can help me write the book

Gluten Free Planet

Introduction to the new book


“We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything”. Thomas Edison


Your first thoughts about the gluten-free planet idea might be to dismiss the concept as ridiculous. Maybe crazy or whacky. However, I challenge you to answer the question: “Why not?

This apparently crazy concept has got me intrigued. The practical question we are posing is “Under what circumstances could a gluten-free planet become a reality?”

This book is being created by the collaborative effort from the amazing people/friends on our facebook group “Gluten Free Planet”:

Modify the food, or modify the people?

There are two schools of thought about celiac disease: 1) Modify the food and avoid gluten (lifelong), or 2) modify the people so that they can tolerate gluten. The default option is do nothing – just leave millions to suffer unknowingly from the deleterious effects of wheat/gluten.

Modify our body

The first approach is to use drugs and/or vaccines to modify your immune response to gluten. The idea is to force your immune system to react differently to gluten, so you will not get sick.

Prof Bob Anderson (, a celiac disease researcher in Australia, has set up “The Coeliac Research Fund” (CRF) which he says is the first organisation in the world to actively seek to solve the problem of celiac disease. He believes that to do this, it is just a matter of working out the molecular basis for celiac disease, which will then revolutionize treatment and prevention.

I understand this to mean giving us drugs and vaccines, and making alterations to our immune systems so that we are able to tolerate a potentially toxic food (that is the gluten and other wheat proteins) that without this immune-protection make us sick.

I am totally opposed to such an interventionist research program. This research is centered on the idea of creating commercially successful new pharmacology products. Many patents have already been applied for. Vaccines are already in the early testing phases. The pharmo-commerce machine is already being created.

Should we give drugs and vaccines to smokers?

This is like saying that smokers should be given drugs and vaccines to allow then to continue smoking, rather than making it easy for them to quit. And it would be easy to quit smoking if we lived on a tobacco-free planet.

One of the CRF researchers, Dr Jason Tye-Din, wrote in the Coeliac Link magazine (2011): “As to why people with coeliac disease get symptoms is not well understood … we believe that certain chemicals are released by the body after eating gluten, and these can lead to adverse symptoms.”

This is such a vague comment to base the drive to create a vaccine. It is my hypothesis that the main pathway for gluten-harm is through the neurologic pathways.

Or … modify our food

The other approach is to modify your food. This is the current and only way that people with celiac disease have been able to manage their gluten-sensitivity. This has been the standard approach for the last 60 years.

This has meant eliminating every speck of gluten from our diets, and replacing it with other (more) nourishing foods. The gluten-grains of wheat, rye and barley have to be completely avoided. However, our big problem is that of cross-contamination. In this food-processing-world, wheat and wheat derivative are either purposefully added to foods, or it creeps (gallops) in by accident. Consequently, this makes it difficult to completely eliminate gluten from our lives.

Thus, if all foods and food-manufacturing activity could be transformed into being gluten-free, the problem would be solved.

Over the last decade, there has been exponential increases in the availability of excellent gluten-free products. It has never been easier to adopt a gluten-free diet. But the cross-contamination problem remains unsolved, and is likely to be getting bigger.


Request; This is the first part of my new book - you can contribute to it by writing feedback in the comments - next post will lay out the proposed structure.

Cheers and thanks

Dr Rodney Ford

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Neurological symptoms - will they heal on a GF diet?

Tom asks: “I am wondering whether or not my neurological symptoms from gluten will heal on a gluten free diet (left temple ache, left arm pain, right leg weakness, muscle twitching, etc)

Years ago, I noticed dizziness that seemed connected with allergy season. The more significant symptoms above started about six years ago--although some arm pain occurred before then.

I'm a 49 year old male. I've been gluten/casein free for about eight months with no improvement.

Please let me know your thoughts on this question. Thank you.”

My reply: Hi Tom, Good question. The longer that gluten damage has gone on, the slower any healing.
Did you get anti-gliadin-antibody tests?
Why do you suspect gluten might be a problem?
Do you feel any better on a gluten-free diet?

If you are happy on your current diet, keep going.
You also need to have an adequate micronutrient intake.
Also, taking a probiotic might help.

Keep fit.

Let me know progress.

Cheers, Dr Rodney Ford

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Disease, Drugs or diet? What is your choice?

I have just seen a boy Joseph in my Clinic. He is ten years old. He is gluten sensitive (diagnosed by high gliadin antibodies and a good clinical response to a gluten-free diet).

He complains of a sore tummy, he is tired and irritated. He has a degree of reflux and constipation.

In the past, he went gluten-free with good effect - all his symptoms disappeared. However, he has been eating gluten for the last year again and is now sick again.

Both he and his parents are reluctant for him to go back on a gluten-free diet because it is somewhat complicated for them, it is inconvenient and it costs more.

He has a choice of three outcomes: Disease, Drugs or diet?

1. DISEASE He can continue with disease probably getting more symptoms, and having a significant impact on his health, particularly in the future.
2. DRUGS He can take drugs for reflux, constipation and pain. This means he still has the ongoing disease and also the potential of harm from chronic medication.
3. DIET He can choose dietary changes. He needs to be on a gluten-free diet and eat more healthy food.

The third option is the most complicated for his family but would give him the biggest benefit. The choice seems like a no-brainer intellectually, but when you apply these thoughts to the real life, many people chose drugs and disease.

My call: diet not drugs. Eat better food for better health.

Cheers Dr Rodney Ford

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Laurie Donaldson asks on facebook: "I wonder how it feels, Dr. Ford, to be one of the people who has known this all along and has tried so hard to get the word out!"

Well Laurie, thanks for the question. In one word, it feels "frustrating!"

I have spent 30 years treating children with food allergies (and most docs still won't 'believe' in food allergy.

I have spent 21 years (since 1990 when the gliadin antibodies were available) learning more and more about gluten/celaic/sensitivity - and guess what - most docs still won't 'believe' in gluten intolerance.

So what can I do?? I have written 9 books on allergy, gluten and nutrition (2 more to come out soon); I have travelled the world speaking about gluten-harm; I have launched the concept of Gluten Free Planet; I do blogs and facebook and twitter!; I run an allergy clinic; I write medical articles and present at GI conferences; I advocate advocate advocate.

I am the first person to describe "Gluten Syndrome" and have written the book about it!

It is hard work - but as Churchill said "Never, Never, Never Give Up". I am an optimist - we (the GF community) will prevail.

If you want me to speak somewhere - please invite me - I will see if I can make it.

Cheers Rodney

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are you gluten diseased?

When we are unwell, we look for a diagnosis for our illness/disease. Say we have been diagnosed with the ‘flu’. We get better and so we no longer have the flu. We are well.

In my question on facebook I asked, Why are you Gluten free? In the options I wrote "I had celiac disease". I used the past tense because when you go GF you should no longer be diseased. I want to talk about health, not disease.

Why do people use the description “celiac disease” when they are now fully recovered? Yes, they need to be gluten-free life-long. Yes, if they eat gluten they will get diseased again.

People could say “I am a healthy celiac”

What do you think?

Cheers Dr Rodney Ford

Friday, June 10, 2011

Anonymous food at conference

I was at a gastroenterology conference last week (ESPGHAN). The information was excellent (in Sorento, Italy).

But I am very disappointed about the lack of any food descriptions. The food was anonymous. No labels, no description, no allergen declarations.

At a GI/food allergy/nutrition conference, I would have thought that people on special diets would be catered for. For example, I am Gluten Free. Morning & Afternoon teas had no GF option. Boxed breakfasts - no GF option. Lunch boxes - GF option was hard to track down (no info given about how to get this food). There was no indication about dairy/eggs/nuts in any of the food. It was definitely not a food-allergy friendly conference. Very odd. This lack of food action does not give a very good message - we should be taking food allergy/intolerance seriously, at every venue. I say: less talking and more doing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celiac gate-keepers reluctant to accept gluten syndrome

I have read these comments with interest. So far, all comments support my position that gluten syndrome is common, and usually not associated with coeliac disease. Nobody has yet made a contrary statement.

I am a paediatric gastroenterologist. In my clinic, I look for coeliacs every day - I find a few, but for every coleiac, there are another 10 children with gluten intolerance. All you have to do is look at pubmed and put in the search words 'gluten sensitivity' to find the medical research that documents the gluten syndrome. I gave Matt Philips (the author) lots of these references, however he chose to mostly ignore them (so that he could write a 'balanced' article.

Most gastroenterologists do not want to accept gluten intolerance as this would be inconvenient for their on-going practice. Currently they wield the power of endoscopy as the gate-keeper of the coeliac diagnosis. So best to pretend that the gluten syndrome is a placebo effect (nonsense!) and that these gluten sufferers are deluded. Crazy. My purpose is to help my patients get better, and often this means seeing if gluten might be causing them harm. Coeliac disease is not the only condition that is triggered by gluten.
Dr Rodney Ford.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Doctor denies gluten problems

Oh dear, it is a pity when doctors speak out about gluten not causing any harm to people other than celiac disease.

These 'disbelievers' should get up to date and read the latest medical articles that clearly state that gluten-sensitivity is a real entity that demands attention.

Please make a post on this newspaper site - to make a stand.

The reporter says 'But Dr Lane's position is unexceptional. Most of the experts I spoke to said that not only is there no medical justification for the majority of people who are following a gluten-free diet, it's just not healthy.'

Why is the GF diet healthy for celiacs, but unhealthy for anyone else? Weird logic.
So much dogma and not enough thought.

Cheers Dr Rodney Ford

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Celaic Gut: When will my bowel recover?

Celiac disease is defined as “small bowel mucosal damage, which is reversible on a gluten free diet, in genetically predisposed people (who carrying the DQ2/DQ8 HLA gene)”. Gluten can trigger your body’s immune response that can then go onto cause this tissue gut damage.

However, this damage is slowly progressive: the longer you have been eating gluten, the worse the damage. Of course, when you have this gluten-gut-damage, you do not absorb your food nutrients very well, and this leads to many other health problems. But, with any on-going gluten ingestion, the gut damage is perpetuated.

The good news is that as soon as gluten is (completely) removed from your diet, the bowel at last has a chance to recover. In children, who have had a shorter time of gluten exposure, their bowel usually recovers very quickly (within weeks their symptoms go away, and within months their gut is completely normal). It is rare for a child to not have complete gut recovery.

The bad news is that as we get older, and have had this gluten assault for a lot longer, our gut damage can be more severe and more extensive. Consequently, you can take a lot longer to get better. You might take weeks and months to begin to feel better and sometimes it takes years for the gut to fully restore to normal.

Of course, if you still eat small amounts of gluten, or your diet is not scrupulously purged of gluten, then this small amount of gluten-toxicity can keep causing you ongoing damage to your gut (and other organs, especially nerves and brain).

To check if your gut has properly healed, you can either have second endoscopy (which is often scheduled about a year after you have started a gluten free diet), or you can see whether or not the tissue-damage-markers (tTG, DGP, and EMA) are coming down. There is a good correlation between blood test results and endoscopy.

The lesson from this: diagnose celiac disease as early as possible, and once diagnosed remain strictly gluten free without exception, lifelong. If you have ongoing gut disease and ongoing symptoms, there may be other things going on and you may need to have other strategies to help gut healing.

Cheers, Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome

The Gluten Syndrome is now available (in next 24 hours) as an eBook (only $4.99) revised new edition, 2011: