Gluten Intolerant? This Dangerous Drug Creates a Leaky Gut
Gluten Intolerance, NSAIDs & a Leaky Gut
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are dangerous drugs – for everyone. They are particularly dangerous for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The following information is important for you to know.
I decided on this topic after a patient with gluten intolerance came to see us stating that his gastroenterologist prescribed him an NSAID to “treat” the inflammation in his intestine.
Fortunately the patient asked for our opinion and when we gave him the following information he wisely chose to use a natural method to heal and soothe his intestines.
The reason why I was shocked and dismayed by this doctor’s recommendation will become clear to you when you’re done reading this article.
Do You Use NSAIDs?
If you don’t know which common drugs fit into this category, here is a list:
- Ibuprofen or Motrin
- Naproxen or Aleve
If you use the above occasionally or even more often, you are in very good company.
- It is estimated that over 60 million Americans use NSAIDs regularly.
- Of those who suffer serious GI (intestinal) complications, over 80% have no warning signals.
- GI hemorrhages due to NSAIDs account for an estimated 100,000 hospital admissions every year.
- NSAIDs (except aspirin) may increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and related conditions, which can be fatal. This risk may increase with duration of use and in patients who have underlying risk factors for disease of the heart and blood vessels.
- Too often, patients’ NSAID use is unknown by their doctor, making it difficult to readily determine when they are the cause of death. The estimate is anywhere from 3,200 to more than 16,500 deaths per year in the US alone as a result of GI events from NSAIDs.
- Of an estimated 14 million arthritic sufferers taking NSAIDs, a whopping 60% of them will develop GI side effects directly as a result of their NSAID use.
- Patients taking low-dose aspirin for heart protection, who additionally take another NSAID, have approximately a three-fold increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding – a potentially life-threatening complication – compared with those not taking these medications.
- Toxicities from NSAIDs are estimated to cost us 2 billion dollars per year.
In the US, approximately five billion dollars are spent on prescription NSAIDs, with an additional two billion dollars spent on over-the-counter NSAIDs annually.
If they’re so dangerous than why are they sold over the counter? That is a very good question for which I truly wish I had a good answer. As a clinical nutritionist this is not ‘new news’ for me.
Why are Arthritics at Higher Risk for Damage?
Arthritis is an autoimmune disease like celiac. We know that a “leaky gut” is an associated root cause of autoimmune disease. Could it be that arthritics show more damage because they already have damaged intestines, a hallmark of their disease? Would we see the same increased damage in other autoimmune sufferers such as celiacs and diabetics? I would hazard to say, yes.
How do NSAIDs Work?
NSAIDs reduce inflammation but they are not related to steroids which also have an anti-inflammatory effect.3 Specifically, NSAIDs reduce prostaglandins (chemicals that promote inflammation, pain and fever).
Prostaglandins also have an important positive role in protecting the stomach and intestinal lining.3 They stimulate mucus production in the GI tract that acts to protect the lining from potential harmful fluids and keep them away from the cells lining the gut. NSAIDs reduction of prostaglandins does result in decreased pain but it also results in one of the most common reasons for intestinal damage. NSAIDs create a “leaky gut”.4
How Do NSAIDs Affect Gene Expression?
You can imagine what risks NSAIDs create for those patients who already have damage to the lining of their intestines such as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. We learned last year as a result of Dr Alessio Fasano’s work that the health and “intactness” of the small intestine was likely responsible for the celiac gene either being turned on or off.2 He postulated that it was an unhealthy small intestine resulted in the celiac gene getting “turned on” with gluten intolerance the result.2 NSAID use has a direct link to this as they are absolutely known to create intestinal damage.4
What is the Danger for Those Who are Gluten Intolerant?
Imagine how many NSAID users are, at this moment, creating the damage that will be the catalyst to turn on their celiac genes – they will henceforth be intolerant to gluten.
Considering we now know that such genes can remain “turned off” in a healthy intestine, you can see the hazard of anything that creates intestinal damage. Wouldn’t you like everyone to know this so that we could avoid these dangerous drugs?
Do you now see why I was so horrified that a gastroenterologist was recommending an NSAID to reduce intestinal inflammation when the drug is known to cause it? How many people who already have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance are unwittingly preventing their intestines from healing because they take over the counter (or prescription) NSAIDs?
Do yourself and your family a favor and take this information seriously. And please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you or if you have any questions.
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To your health,
Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”
- Annals of Medicine – December 2010. “Natural history of celiac disease autoimmunity in a USA cohort followed since 1974”
- Gluten-free Living Magazine, Interview with Dr Fasano, December 2010
- The Internet Drug Index – NSAIDs, medical editor Jay W. Marks, MD. http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=94691&page=3
- Leaky Gut Syndrome (Gastroporesis) by Dr Wendy Wells, NMD http://heartspring.net/leaky_gut_syndrome_treatments.html