Celiac and Chemical Exposure
June 29th, 2020
Celiac disease is a common autoimmune reaction to the ingested proteins in the plant based foods made from wheat, rye and barley. The immune based inflammatory response to the proteins causes disruption of the intestinal lining leading to permeability and malabsorption of nutrients. It is also associated with cancers and other autoimmune conditions over time if not controlled by a gluten free diet. It affects roughly 1% of all Americans.
In a study by Gaylord and colleagues this year, we see a pilot analysis looking at the exposure of children to persistent organic pollutants, POP's, and the risk of developing celiac disease. They found a 2 fold increase in celiac disease incidence when the children had high levels of POP's in their bloodstream.
Female participants had worse risk which is consistent with the increased prevalence of all autoimmune diseases in females.
While this is a small study with limited power to answer the question posed definitively, it is reinforced by reams of data that chemicals are major drivers of autoimmune disease in the world.
We KNOW that chemicals are bad for us. We know definitively that they cause many diseases from cancer, to cardiovascular disease to autoimmunity. The real question is why don't we, as a population, fight harder to avoid being exposed to these chemicals first and foremost. Tasking the government with protecting us has been a disaster. Thus, I highly recommend that everyone go to the Environmental Working Group's website to understand how to avoid as many chemicals as possible. Being proactive is the best way to live long with minimal disease.