Diabetes – An Intolerance to Carbohydrate

Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to efficiently handle carbohydrate (sugar). This happens because of problems with the production of, or response to insulin (the hormone secreted by the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels). Diabetes can either be type 1 or 2 .

Type 1 diabetes (T1D), also called juvenile diabetes, is where the pancreas fails to make insulin and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is where the body does not respond appropriately to the insulin that is being produced and usually follows on from a period of ‘insulin resistance’. Both types cause too much sugar to be present in the blood. Inappropriately high levels of blood sugar can cause a myriad of health issues including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, nerve/kidney/eye/foot damage, skin conditions, Alzheimer’s and depression. T1D is an autoimmune condition (where the body’s immune system attacks the cells that make insulin in the pancreas) and T2D is considered to be primarily a lifestyle condition, although there is now also evidence that T2D also has an autoimmune component.

According to Diabetes UK, almost 3.7 million people in the UK have a diabetes diagnosis (with an estimated extra 1 million who don’t even realise that they are diabetic). It is estimated that 12.3 million people are at an increased risk of developing T2D in the UK i.e pre-diabetic. Diabetes has been described as being the ‘fastest growing health crisis of our time’, costing the country £1.5 million an hour or £14 billion per year (if you also include the cost of treating health complications). This is a real crisis, which is not being resolved by the current nutritional guidelines.

Diabetes is essentially an intolerance to carbohydrate. To quote a critical review titled ‘Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management’ published in Nutrition in 2015 – ‘the benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes are immediate and well documented’. It goes onto say ‘dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication’.

It is however critical that any diabetic that reduces carbohydrate intake, regularly measures their blood sugar levels and works very closely with their doctor so that their diabetic medications can be adjusted accordingly. Failure to do this could lead to the development of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), which can be life threatening.

Autoimmune Reset with Medicinal Mushrooms with Hifas Da Terra

I have been asked to speak at this seminar, which is being run from 10am on the 25th October 2018 at the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol and is being hosted by Hifas da Terra – www.hifasdaterra.co.uk. More information and tickets can be bought by clicking  here

This event is designed to take you on a journey through the latest research relating to the processes that are now believed to be central to the initiation and development of autoimmunity. We will not only explore some of the key interventions that have been developed and are being successfully employed to help people presenting with these devastating conditions to take back control of their health; we will also present the science behind use of medicinal mushrooms in auto-immunity in clinical practice.

Medicinal mushroom have been used as a powerful tool in natural health for centuries. As adaptogens they have the potential to balance and regulate our immune response, an important step in auto-immune reset and recovery. We will explain the role of key medicinal mushrooms in auto-immune protocols, and take you through the mechanisms of individual active compounds and their role in human health and wellbeing.

What makes you, you, is unique to you…

Studies show that a quarter of the population in the UK are presenting with a chronic (long term) condition. These are non-communicable diseases. A quarter of adults are taking 3 or more medications, to manage their symptoms. This is the key point; the medications are designed to manage symptoms, not to get to the root cause of the problem.

Now, there is nothing wrong with treating symptoms. Most of us have taken a pain killer at some point in our lives to deal with acute pain and been extremely thankful for the result. However, when it comes to chronic health conditions please consider this analogy; if you have a nail in your shoe, you can either take a pain killer to reduce the pain, or remove the nail from the shoe. This is of course a slightly flippant example of the main principle behind the functional model of health, but it succinctly explains the difference between treating symptoms as opposed to the root cause.

The functional model of health is based on the fact that the body is composed of several highly interconnected sophisticated ‘functional’ systems, that when working efficiently, promote optimal health and well-being. These functional systems are intricately connected together and nothing exists in isolation.

We are all biochemically individual. What makes you, you, is unique to you. The functional model recognises that it is the summation of your environmental inputs ent that , lifestyle) uts across your life that e to you. hat family historyyence and repair,rs that are likely to h (toxins, bacterial/viral load, stress, diet & lifestyle) over your life that are likely to have contributed to your current health concerns and that most chronic illnesses are typically preceded by a lengthy period of decline in one or more of the body’s functional systems. Family history and genetics can play a significant role in the development of health problems; however appropriate diet and lifestyle choices can do a great deal to lessen their expression (epigenetics).

It is through the taking of a detailed life history that the functional model aims to identify systems that may have been excessively challenged over your lifetime. When these systems are over stretched, it can lead to many symptoms, which often seem unrelated and hard to pin down. Once identified, these challenged systems can be supported through appropriate dietary and lifestyle interventions. As the body moves back towards a state of balance and optimal health, symptoms and health problems are more likely to resolve or lessen in their expression.

Coeliac Disease is not the only significant Gluten Related Disorder

Gluten related disorders (GRDs) include coeliac disease (CD) and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The evidence base shows that GRDs (not just CD) are a serious threat to long-term health and well-being.

GRDs are fundamentally caused by the inability of the body to properly digest gluten (the storage protein in grains), typically driven by imbalances in the bacterial species of the gut in combination with genetic predisposition. Anyone with a GRD should completely eliminate gluten from the diet permanently in order to repair the damage that has been done and regain health and wellbeing.

CD is the autoimmune variant of GRDs where the immune system attacks and destroys the small intestine reducing the ability of the body to absorb nutrients and is connected with over 300 different conditions. CD can be diagnosed using a combination of blood, genetic and physical assessments.

NCGS on the other hand is not an autoimmune disease and is therefore generally viewed as being a much less serious condition. This is simply not true. There is also a ‘new kid on the block’ called Non Coeliac Wheat Sensitivity (NCWS) where gluten is not necessarily the trigger, but instead significant immune system reactions and damage to the intestine are being triggered by other components of wheat.

CD is therefore not the only GRD that should be taken seriously. The results of a large study that reviewed 351,000 intestinal biopsies clearly showed that there was not only just as much inflammation detected with NCGS as with CD, but also that the increased risk of early mortality was 72% with NCGS compared to 39% with CD! If you then also consider that recent studies are now showing that blood markers for the detection of systemic autoimmunity are nearly double with NCWS (NCGS is a sub section of this category) compared to CD, you can start to appreciate that both gluten and wheat can have serious implications for those individuals that do not have CD but instead NCGS/NCWS. Further research needs to be conducted in this area, but these findings are very revealing.

So, if you are presenting with any chronic condition that cannot be explained, then please seriously consider getting professional assistance evaluating the potential for the existence of a GRD. Remember that eliminating wheat/gluten before you have had a professional assessment is not advised.

Leaky Gut?

We will consume between 3 and 7 tonnes of food and drink in our lifetimes, all of which has to be broken down and then the appropriate nutrients absorbed across the gut barrier, before it can be utilised by the body. The gut barrier of the small intestine, is the size of a tennis court and is made up of a single layer of cells that not only regulate the flow of nutrients and water into the body, but also play a central role in how our immune system responds to the significant amount of dietary proteins and microbes that are ingested on a daily basis.

Nothing put into the digestive system is technically speaking inside the body until it has been absorbed across the gut barrier. It is the gut barrier that decides what to both let in and keep out of systemic circulation.

Research shows that the integrity of the gut barrier is fundamental to health and well-being. If the gut barrier is compromised, by ‘leaking’ between and/or through the cells (para and/or trans cellular hyperpermeability), unwanted substances might permeate through the gut barrier and provoke unwanted immune responses – fuelling chronic inflammation. As we have discussed many times before, chronic inflammation is the route cause of all chronic disease and is a recognised key factor in the development of autoimmunity.

Some of the conditions directly associated with ‘leaky gut’ include: coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, spondylitis, Parkinson’s disease, endometriosis, eczema, Crohn’s disease, colitis, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Leakiness between the cells of the gut barrier is controlled dynamically by a protein called zonulin. The higher the levels of zonulin, the greater the leakiness between the cells. The zonulin pathway is initiated by either the presence of pathogenic bacteria and/or gluten in the gut (which gives you a clue as to how the body treats gluten!).

Dysbiosis (imbalances in the micro ecology of the gut) and leaky gut will typically co exist. The presence of either or both of these conditions will drive a state of chronic inflammation. Fortunately you can repair ‘leaky gut’ and rebalance the micro ecology of the gut, regaining control of health and well-being.

The Problem With Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease (CD) is not a minor ‘intolerance’ to gluten, it is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the small intestine, reducing the ability of the body to absorb nutrients from food. If left undetected, CD has the potential to cause significant long-term health complications. CD is one of the most common life long disorders in North America and Europe and only 1 in 8 coeliacs are ever diagnosed. These are disturbing facts.

Diagnosis of CD currently requires a positive blood test and then subsequently the detection of damage to the small intestine via an endoscopy.

The first problem is that less than 50% of coeliacs are presenting with the classical symptoms of diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. The majority of coeliacs are ‘silent’ in their presentation – no overt digestive symptoms but are presenting with signs and symptoms including iron deficiency anaemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, neurological degradation, depression, fertility issues, migraines and chronic kidney disease. This point alone, is likely to be having a significant impact on whether testing for CD is even to be considered.

The next potential issue is with the blood testing itself. The standard NHS test for CD is good if you are presenting with significant damage to the small intestine and your immune system is functioning properly. We know however that damage to the small intestine is a gradual process that can take years or even decades to manifest, the immune system is often underperforming and the markers being measured for are not broad enough. This can lead to very high rates of false negative results (up to 70%), which is a dangerous outcome if the result is that you are told that it is fine to consume gluten, when in fact it is not! Remember you have to be eating gluten and not taking any steroid or immune suppressing medication for any blood test to have half a chance of picking up an issue.

Finally, it is possible to have positive blood markers for CD and no damage to the small intestine – ‘latent’ CD (over and above the fact that the biopsies can often miss the ‘damaged’ areas of the small intestine).

Is it any wonder that CD is such a poorly diagnosed and managed condition?

Video – Sensitivities, Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmunity Seminar Recordings

How food and environmental choices might impact your long term health
Recording of the seminar that was held at Arlington Arts at the end of April 2017.
To view Part 1 of this recording please click on the header image above or this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFOV00Phs7Y
To watch Part 2 click this link: Part 2
To watch Part 3 click this link: Part 3
Research shows that unidentified sensitivities (to both food and the environment) are often implicated in the development of and/or perpetuation of a number of chronic health conditions including but not limited to eczema, joint pain, IBS, indigestion, depression, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, congestion and heart palpitations.

This seminar provides you with an easy to understand overview of the following key topics:
1) What is the difference between an allergy, sensitivity and intolerance?
2) What impact might unidentified food and environmental sensitivities behaving on your health?
3) Coeliac disease and non coeliac gluten sensitivity – the differences
4) Why simply cutting gluten out of the diet is not enough if you are a diagnosed coeliac
5) Sensitivities and autoimmunity
6) Items to carefully consider when choosing a sensitivity test
7) Personalised dietary and lifestyle interventions and the road to health

27th April 2017 Event at Arlington Arts (Newbury) – Sensitivities, Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmunity

Sensitivities, Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmunity
How food and environmental choices can impact your long-term health

Thank you to everyone that attended this event. We had 157 people turn up………..

You can view Part 1 of this seminar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFOV00Phs7Y

Research shows that unidentified sensitivities (to both food and the environment) are often implicated in the development of and/or perpetuation of a number of chronic health conditions including but not limited to eczema, joint pain, IBS, indigestion, depression, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, congestion and heart palpitations.

This seminar provides you with an easy to understand overview of the following key topics:
1) What is the difference between an allergy, sensitivity and intolerance?
2) What impact might unidentified food and environmental sensitivities behaving on your health?
3) Coeliac disease and non coeliac gluten sensitivity – the differences
4) Why simply cutting gluten out of the diet is not enough if you are a diagnosed coeliac
5) Sensitivities and autoimmunity
6) Items to carefully consider when choosing a sensitivity test
7) Personalised dietary and lifestyle interventions and the road to health

 

 

If you are a coeliac, is a gluten free diet enough?

So if you do have coeliac disease (see post http://entirewellbeing.com/coeliac-disease/ for more information on this condition), do you just simply cut out gluten and everything will be alright?

If only it were that simple……..

Although the majority of newly diagnosed coeliacs will experience substantial improvements in their symptoms within the first few weeks of cutting out gluten, research shows that between 10 and 15% of coeliacs continue to experience health problems even when following a gluten free diet. These are called ‘non-responsive coeliacs’. This might be (and often is) explained by unintentional gluten contamination (it is very easy to get ‘glutened’ – and it only takes one eighth of one teaspoon of a gluten flour to reignite the immune response and ‘contamination’ can also come from hundreds of non food items including shampoos and cosmetics). However, between 1 and 5% of coeliacs develop what is called ‘refractory coeliac disease’ (RCD) where any gluten (even levels found in foods termed ‘gluten free’ e.g. bread) cannot be tolerated. This is a very serious sub category of coeliac disease and can lead to significant health problems if not managed appropriately.

Excluding unintentional contamination and RCD, the other key reason for symptoms not improving on a gluten free diet is ‘cross reactivity’.

Research shows that there are a number of other food proteins that can cause the immune system to react in a similar way to gluten, thereby potentially perpetuating chronic inflammation and the destruction of the villi (the finger like protrusions in the small intestine that are damaged by coeliac disease). We know that around 50% of all coeliacs cross react with casein in dairy. Other cross-reactive gluten free foods include oats, yeast, rice and corn (consumption of these foods are actively encouraged as a coeliac). Maybe this is why only 8% of adults with coeliac disease experience complete healing of the villi on a gluten free diet and why there is evidence of poor vitamin status in coeliacs who have been on a gluten free diet for 10 years?

In summary simply excluding gluten from the diet is not good enough. If you are a coeliac some of the key questions that you should be asking yourself include:
1) Might I be exposing myself to gluten contamination from my environment (e.g. skin care products and cosmetics)?
2) What gluten ‘cross reactive’ foods might I also be reacting too?
3) How much damage has been done to the digestive system (prior to diagnosis) and what extra support do I require to help repair this damage?
4) What impact has coeliac disease potentially had on my overall nutrient status?

These questions and more can be answered by working with a suitably skilled and knowledgeable functional practitioner.

Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks and damages the villi (the finger like small protrusions in the small intestine) affecting 1% of the global population (circa 70 million people). Originally considered a rare childhood condition it is now recognised as primarily an adult disease. The autoimmune destruction of villi is triggered by eating gluten (found in Barley, Rye, Oats and Wheat) and since this process dramatically reduces the surface area of the small intestine, the body’s ability to absorb nutrients is compromised, potentially leading to a raft of disparate symptoms and disease presentations.

Screening studies show that CD is one of the most common life long disorders in North America and Europe and that currently only 1 in 8 coeliacs are diagnosed and that on average it takes 13 years and 5 doctors for a diagnosis. So why is this?

The classical symptoms of diarrhoea and abdominal cramping are just one clinical manifestation of CD, with research showing that less than 50% of coeliacs currently present with these classical symptoms. Non classical or ‘silent coeliac disease’ presentations can include: iron deficiency anaemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, neurological degradation (ataxia and epilepsy), depression, fertility issues, migraines, blood test abnormalities, chronic kidney disease, raised liver enzymes, mouth ulcers, dental enamel defects and a number of other autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Addison’s disease, cardiomyopathy and autoimmune hepatitis.

Interestingly the research base would suggest that more people with less severe symptoms (mild anaemia and/or reduction in bone density) are being diagnosed with CD and this often includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with up to 30% of coeliacs having had a previous diagnosis of IBS. It should also be noted that the first-degree relatives (parent/sibling/child) of coeliacs have a significantly elevated risk of developing the same condition and should be tested. Please note that the standard blood tests for CD often provide false negative results (due to the body not being able to produce sufficient amounts of the specific antibodies being measured, or reactions that may be present to other immune stimulating peptides of gluten that are not being measured).

So if your are presenting with an autoimmune and/or chronic condition you might want to seriously consider the impact that gluten might be having on your health.