For our final Coeliac Week post, I would like to share a case study and email I received recently that demonstrates you can get well again once you start getting gluten out of your system. I love getting little snippets like these and, thankfully, get quite a few, so thank you.
First, some background. This lady has been struggling with chronic fatigue and myriad other symptoms including chronic so-called ‘IBS’, rhinitis, anxiety and depression, muscle weakness and hormone imbalance. She has seen several well-known experts over the years and has been specifically trying desperately to get her adrenals and thyroid to pick up for the past 2 years. To no avail and to the frustration of everyone involved.
She came to see me for a second opinion and I identified her as likely coeliac and/or gluten sensitive. The clues were there – she started having problems with her temperature control, very early periods, fainting and anaemia quite early on in life. She gradually developed more and more problems and, by her mid-thirties, she was diagnosed with ME. Gluten problems invariably really start to show between 30-45, I presume as the body becomes shattered with dealing with it for so long.
Interestingly – and I see this a lot – her mainstream thyroid tests were normal. She had a conversion problem which is often missed. Her total cortisol level was on the floor at under10, which is why the focus before she came to see me had quite rightly been on getting the adrenals and thyroid to function properly. My question was why wouldn’t the glands pick up with all the normal support? At least part of the problem had to be something still affecting them and pulling them down constantly.
I have found one of the biggest clues to gluten issues is turning out to be these two glands struggling to pull up or balance. This could be because gluten is affecting them directly in some way, or due to the nutrient deficiencies caused by gluten damage – you need shed-loads of the right nutrients in the right place at the right time for these glands to work optimally.
The gluten gene test for this patient unsurprisingly came back positive with four DQ2 genes on both HLA DQA and B locations. Anything on B is very predictive and even just 2 DQ2s is highly predictive of coeliac disease. If only this had been checked out years before! NB: we did the gene test because the lady had already been off the traditional gluten grains so antibody and tissue damage tests would not have shown anything.
The lady started a truly gluten free diet and a prescription tailored to increase her nutrients rapidly just a couple of months ago. Already, her adrenal reflex tests have normalised and there are signs her thyroid is following suit. In two months. She is already coming down off her prescription meds, which is fab news for her as she didn’t want to have to take them long-term if she could help it. Clearly, there is a long way to go, the gluten factor may turn out not to be the only one and I am sure the road will be up and down. But I share this with you to demonstrate how undiagnosed gluten issues can be at the heart of why you are not getting well and, specifically, to draw your attention to the thyroid and adrenal link in case you are struggling with those yourself. If so, get checked out!
So, here is the email I mentioned (lump in throat for me):
“You are worth your weight in gold. I can say truthfully that I do for the first time believe my body isn’t totally ruined and that I can heal myself. I must have some fight in me as my adrenals want to work – I can feel it. I spent the last two years not understanding my health and now I feel that I can make judgements and question what I am doing. We trust you and thank god that we came across your website one very deflated, hopeless evening.
I know I am going to have good and bad days but at least I can say I have found the rungs on the ladder and started to climb. I need to look back and then I realise in such a short time there has been a fight back from little old me.
The ultimate for me will be when I can take J out and keep up with the other Mums. I don’t want to let him and S down anymore. Please continue to support me.
Thanks from a very grateful patient. x”
What more can I say? I wish her a speedy but unbumpy road back to health and very much hope the removal of gluten will enable her body to get well again.
That concludes the week’s posts on coeliac disease. I hope you found something that sparks a healing path for you. Keep checking in – I will of course post loads more whether it is Coeliac Week or not! Over and out for now.