Want to Be Smarter and Avoid Heart Disease? Try Gluten Free!
At HealthNOW Medical Center, we’ve experienced that going gluten free has some powerful benefits! If that sounds a little too good to be true, I promise I’m not exaggerating. We will be looking at the result of two research studies that confirm that those who follow a gluten-free diet do reap some nice rewards.
In the first study published in Digestive Diseases & Sciences entitled “Characteristics of patients who avoid wheat and/or gluten in the absence of celiac disease”, the authors wanted to look at the characteristics of patients with gluten sensitivity in the U.S. They found that patients with gluten sensitivity were similar to patients with celiac disease in regards their BMI (body mass index that measures levels of obesity) and hemoglobin levels. Those with gluten sensitivity had a lower BMI than controls. The group also showed a lower incidence of hypertension and an improved cardiovascular profile similar to those patients with celiac disease when following a gluten free diet.
Gluten Free = A Healthier Heart
In other words, gluten sensitive patients from our clinic who follow a gluten-free diet were less obese and had healthier hearts than their gluten-eating counterparts. The researchers didn’t know whether to cite the diet alone or a combination of eating gluten-free and having a certain genetic profile. We have learned that almost half of those suffering with gluten sensitivity have the same genetic profile as those with celiac disease, so there may be some validity in the gene theory.
A Gluten Free Diet Made Celiacs Smarter
The next study was published in the Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Volume 28, 2013. The article title was a mouthful: “Cognitive performance improves in concert with histological and serological improvement over the first 12 months of a gluten-free diet in patients with newly-diagnosed celiac disease”. Basically all it means is that newly diagnosed celiacs got smarter during their first 12 months on a gluten-free diet and that change was associated with blood tests improving and their gut healing.
Eating Gluten Created the Same Deficits Mentally as Being Drunk
As we and our San Jose Nutritionists have spoken of many times, gluten affects more than just the GI tract. There is a well established correlation between the inflammation associated with celiac disease and changes in behavior, mood and cognitive function. This study looked at the cognitive function in patients newly diagnosed with celiac disease and tracked it as they implemented a gluten-free diet over their first year. Cognitive ability in memory, visual/spatial acuity, motor function and attention was all measured.
The results were rather fascinating: A newly diagnosed celiac has such diminished cognitive function that it was comparable to someone with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In other words, cognitive ability was equivalent to someone who was drunk.
After a year on a gluten-free diet however, those participants who showed a fully healed intestine (and that’s a point worth repeating—only those who fully healed received this benefit) revealed a normal cognitive function level. The improvement, cognitively speaking, paralleled the improvement in their blood values and gut healing. As you can see, I wasn’t exaggerating with my title for this post. Frankly, the more we learn about gluten the less I like it for almost everyone, regardless of their celiac or gluten sensitive status. But that’s a discussion for another post.
Do You Want To Go Gluten Free?
If so—contact our San Jose Nutritionists for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call (408) 733-0400 to schedule. We are located in Sunnyvale, CA. If you are not local to us, our DESTINATION CLINIC treats patients from across the country and internationally. We will help you find the underlying root cause!
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!