I had planned to wait to write about health issues, until my health issues were resolved. To give you a retrospect, so to speak. But since my health issues are not resolved, AND I’ve come to realize how big a part they’ve played in my life, I decided to start sharing now.
The last year has been quite difficult health-wise. I was finally diagnosis with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), a problem some experts say is common in more that 50% of celiac patients.
Here is what Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says on their website:
Take Home Message:
- SIBO is a common problem seen in celiac disease.
- The symptoms of SIBO are the same as those of celiac disease.
- If you carefully follow the gluten-free diet and have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting tested for SIBO.
SIBO is relatively easy to diagnosis, but VERY difficult to treat. That is because SIBO is not itself a disease, but rather the END RESULT of a problem. According to Dr. Mona Moristen: The actual problem in SIBO is the damage to the migrating motor complex, which moves food out of the stomach and into the gut and then through the small gut into the colon, where peristalsis takes over. Its damage to the MCC, via damage to the nerves/interstitial cells of cajal and the muscle fibers/vincudin, which is the disease. The end result of the disease is colonic backwash of bacteria into the small intestine which then proliferates, damages the lining of the small gut, causing an inability to produce disaccharidases and causing leaky gut.
From personal experience, I would agree that what is vernacularly known as “Leaky Gut” is a big problem and the first thing that has to be addressed. I was tested for food sensitivities and the panel came back showing that I was highly sensitive to ALL the food I was eating. Yep, that’s leaky gut. The food penetrates the intestinal track. Your body, not recognizing the foreign substance (antigen), says Invader, Invader, attack attack, and produces antibodies. Which for me, resulted in fatigue, nausea, foggy brain, joint pain, bloating, gastro discomfort, weight gain — basically all the same symptoms I get eating gluten!
Low Stomach Acid
To complicate matters, many with SIBO also have low or no stomach acid. (Yep) Without adequate stomach acid, you can’t process fats or proteins –which usually means you have indigestion, and often weight gain. (Some on SIBO lose weight–I am in the weight gainer camp.) I was on a gluten free, dairy free, FODMAP diet and still having gastro problems. My doctor suggested I take apple cider vinegar (acv) and also prescribed bitters for me to take with each meal. But my intestinal track had become ulcerated–I could not tolerate acv, bitters or even fermented foods. So what did I do? I poured over the internet hours each day until i found a convergence of alternative thought saying turmeric, cabbage juice and Cistus Incanus (only from Greece) would help resolve intestinal ulcers so that low stomach acid and leaky gut could be addressed. By golly, those German naturopaths were right, those things halted the inflammation, got rid of the ulcers and allowed me to start taking acv, lemon water and bitters to deal with my lack of stomach acid. I also realized through a near starvation diet (during which I lost NO weight because of the SIBO) and carefully eating only one item at a time, that I was autoimmune to gluten, dairy, soy and commercial cellulose (as opposed to lettuce!), and sadly, probably chocolate.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with information, so I’ll end this post here. In future posts I will tell you about Hashimotos Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, how I learned from personal experience that Hashi can go undetected for decades, and eventually cause Celiac; I’ll discuss Celiac,Hashi and SIBO (the chicken and the egg– which came first?); diagnosis and cure or maintenance; and the retrospective of how these diseases unwittingly and unknowingly, shaped my life decisions and hence, well, my life.