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MTHFR Genetic Defect

The Importance of Methylation in Managing Chronic Illness

B vitamins are involved in over 250 biochemical processes in the body.

Especially in:

  • Energy production
  • Growth and repair of cells
  • Immune system function
  • Production of neurotransmitters
  • Serotonine
  • Dopamine

B vitamins have to get activated in the body!

The enzyme that activates b vitamins is called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR).

The genes that allow us to make this enzyme are called the c677t and ai298c

30% of the population has various polymorphisms (defects) in these genes reducing the capacity to activate our b vitamins by 10-70%

We now can test for these various defects in the Mthfr genes and more importantly have a solution…
Modified B vitamins.

shutterstock_63534817Over the holidays I took a week away from practice and read an amazing book that I would recommend to every female interested in natural health.

“What Your Doctor May not tell you about menopause- The Breakthrough Book on Natural Hormone Balance” By Dr. John Lee, M.D.

Let me tell you that this book is not just about menopause but is for all women whether in menopause or not.

Let me also tell you that what I am about to share with you is not just for women but also men.

 Estrogen dominance affects both sexes and at any age. 

The tips I am going to share with you can greatly enhance hormone balance and thus your health for any sex and at any age.

Last week I shared the importance of pH balance and how it makes all of our hormones and enzymes in the body more efficient. This week I want to share with you the important interplay between our sex hormones and how the balance of these hormones is absolutely essential for health of the body and especially the brain.

Let me first emphasize that there is no such thing as a “bad “hormone or a “good” hormone. They are all needed and the key to them working is proper balance.

All of our sex hormones come from a molecule that has received a bad rap for many years and that is cholesterol.

Yes, that’s right. All of our estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and a few other hormones are made from cholesterol. Now I don’t want to get into the whole cholesterol controversy (a topic for another day you can be sure) but suffice it to say that the big pharmaceutical companies have done a great job in scaring the daylights out of the American public of the evils of cholesterol. That’s enough about that for now.

Up until 60 years ago most women didn’t suffer from PMS, migraine headaches, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, fibrocystic disease, endometriosis, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, memory loss, low libido, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, obesity, bloating etc. – and certainly one out of eight were not diagnosed with breast cancer!

Men weren’t as obese as they are now, they weren’t needing hypertensive drugs as much as today and they certainly didn’t need anything like Viagra when they were in their forties, fifties and sixties.

What has changed?

Literally in the space of a few decades an enormous amount of chemicals have been added to our environment that turn into estrogen in both the female and male body. These chemical compounds are known as XENOESTROGENS.

The list of all the possible compounds that have an estrogen effect on our bodies is mind boggling but here are the big ones:

Pesticides, microchips ,many medicines, petrochemicals found in clothing, carpeting, soaps and perfumes, parabens, plastics, bug sprays, weed killers, fertilizers, PCB’s, gas fumes. Seriously think about the amount of these products in our environment today compared to 50-60 years ago! Is it any wonder so many suffer from many or all of the symptoms listed above? Is it any wonder estrogen fed tumors like those of the breast and uterus are skyrocketing? Since we are on the subject, why isn’t much the research dollars generated for cancer research going toward prevention, instead of new and better pharmaceuticals that make billions of dollars of profit for pharmaceutical companies?

Besides xenoestrogens there are other causes to why most females and many males have too much estrogen in their bodies:

1. Estrogen has the longest half-life of all the sex hormones and is the hardest hormone for the liver to metabolize. It does this through a process known as conjugation. So sluggish liver =higher estrogen.

2. If you have any gut issues or if the good flora in your gut is abnormal (this is known as dysbiosis) estrogens easily get de-conjugated and readily get reabsorbed back into the blood stream.

3. The birth control pill came into existence in 1960 (coincidentally the year I was born). The pill prevents ovulation (the eruption of the egg from the follicle). Without ovulation the female does not form a corpus luteum and this is the major source of progesterone in the female. Females need about forty times more progesterone than estrogen. When this ratio is not appropriate this is relative estrogen dominance. It is important to understand that a female can have proper amounts of estrogen or even low estrogen but if her progesterone is even lower this is still an estrogen dominant state and she will suffer all the symptoms. Females need progesterone to balance estrogen.

4. Most of us are a lot more stressed than our ancestors were. Stress produces the stress hormone cortisol and cortisol interferes with progesterone leading to estrogen dominant state. It also messes up thyroid expression too.

5. In males if they have any insulin resistance ( blood sugar problems) or diabetes they will convert more of their testosterone into estrogen leading to low libido, loss of erections, weight gain, heart disease, inflammation and they become more emotional.

6. There are far fewer pregnancies than there were 50-60 years ago. When a female is pregnant they have 300-400x more progesterone in their body than when they are not. This gives them 9 months of the protective benefits of progesterone against estrogen.

7.  Females naturally start to make less progesterone in their early thirties. This is not true for estrogen. So by the time many females hit peri-menopause the are only making 35% of the progesterone they did in their twenties but they continue to produce about 75% of the estrogen they did in their twenties.

So what can be done?

I am a big believer it getting the proper testing to make sure you know exactly what you are up against. In our clinic we now offer a 28 day saliva hormone test to cycling females. This allows me see exactly where in the cycle the problem exists. Because of the reasons mentioned above it is most commonly due to a lack in sufficient progesterone to balance the estrogen.

If this is the case we would use bio-identical progesterone at the proper time of the month. This is usually done sub-lingually. We see dramatic changes in patients when we do this.

By the way if you are on any hormone creams and your doctor is not using saliva to check your levels then this is a serious mistake. With creams a lot of the hormone goes directly into the tissue and not into the blood. This can only be accurately assessed using saliva.

Much can be done to prevent or clear excess estrogens from the body.

· Eat organically

· Use “green” detergents and cleansers

· Maintain good liver function. We use a great product called hepato-synergy by Apex energetics

· Maintain good gut health. Get tested for food sensitivities, gut infections, leaky gut syndrome and dysbiosis. Eat fiber which binds the estrogens in your gut and eliminates them through the stool. A compound known as indol -3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower help to eliminate unwanted estrogens.

· If you are on the pill consider an alternative form of contraception. Many female patients state they are on the pill to “regulate their periods” or for PMS. When we correct the underlying disturbances there is no need.

This is a real problem. If you suffer from this I encourage you to order my new DVD when it becomes available (early March 2014) “How to Naturally Restore Female Hormone Imbalances” at hormonerecoverytx.com or contact my clinic 708-315-2025

Yours in good health,

Dr. Ed Beyer

 

 

 

 

PH

By Dr. Ed Beyer, DC

Change your total body chemistry by changing this one thing…

Monitoring pH for optimal health 

One of the foremost things we can do to promote health and prevent disease is to keep the body in homeostasis and let it do what it does best: repair, rebuild and replenish. To me the first key to homeostasis is optimal pH.

What is pH? Without getting too technical it simply is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a solution is. It is measured on a scale of 0-14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. 7.0 is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline such as in water.

Every chemical reaction is dependent on proper pH!

Without the correct pH, hormones and enzymes cannot function at their capacity.

The proper pH for the blood is 7.4 or slightly alkaline. The problem is that the standard American diet is very acidic and therefore, most Americans and especially those with chronic disease are very acidic!

 

When we become acidic many bad things happen in the body such as:

· Poor digestion

· Low energy

· Can’t lose weight

· Increased aches and pains from inflammation

· Increased free radical production and thus quicker aging

· Heavy metal toxicity which greatly impact thyroid and parathyroid function

· Bad viruses and bacteria love an acidic environment and thus increase colds, flus and infections

· Brain doesn’t work as well so- brain fog, memory loss, depression and anxiety

And…

· Osteoporosis!

Why? Blood pH is very tightly regulated so even a small drop in pH will cause the body to do whatever it has to raise the pH. These mechanisms are called buffering systems.

The first thing the body will do to restore pH is to leach from bone, teeth and soft tissue precious minerals such as calcium, magnesium. It will also grab sodium, potassium and zinc wherever it can get it to buffer the acidic blood.

Most Americans are mineral deficient so the body grabs these from the bone and tissue.

Correcting your pH can stop this and reverse it as I see in many of my patient bone scans.

Remember that the pH scale is logarithmic meaning that each drop is a decrease of ten; for example a pH of 5.5 is 10x more acidic that 6.5 and 100x more acidic than 7.5.

When are pH becomes acidic the powerhouses of our cells (the mitochondria) become impaired and cannot produce enough energy. Fatigue is the number one complaint I see in my practice. The organ that fatigues the most is the brain. These mitochondria then produce more free radicals which ultimately destroy the mitochondria. This process is known as aging! Ever know someone who looks like they are 15 years younger than you think? I’ll bet dollars to gluten-free donuts that they are not acidic! Have you ever seen someone that looks older than they should? They are most likely acidic.

How do we measure our pH? 

It isn’t practical to draw our blood to measure our pH. It may take weeks to months to establish our pH and so we need a more practical way of measuring. The first morning urine is the best way. We do this simply with pH strips. Your morning pH should be 6.5 to 7.0. This equates to a blood pH of 7.4 which is ideal.

How can we get our pH to be optimal?

The most important step is the diet. 

1. Vegetables and fruits have a strong alkalinizing effect on the body. This is mainly due to the minerals they contain. Juicing with vegetables and fruits is a great start.

2. Avoid acidic foods like dairy and grains

3. Taking a hot bath with 1 cup of Epsom salts and 4 tablespoons of baking soda for 30 minutes. The magnesium in the Epsom salts will diffuse into the body and toxins will be released.

4. Drink lots of purified water with juice from a ½ lemon. The kidneys are very important in maintaining proper pH.

5. Use sea salt instead of iodized salt; Sea salt contains many essential bio-available minerals

6. Make sure your vitamin D levels are good.

7. VERY IMPORTANT: if your stomach is not acidic enough (hypochlorhydria) you will not absorb your minerals and the body becomes too acidic!

8. Currently we are getting excellent results using two supplements from Moss products. They are called Magnesium Glycinate and K Alkaline.

We start by taking 2 of each before bed and then measuring the pH in the morning with the urine strips. If the pH is still low we go up to 3 of each. Usually by 5 of each optimal pH is achieved and by doing the dietary changes optimal pH can usually be maintained after a few weeks.

 

Get your pH right and you will be amazed at how well you feel!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Ed Beyer

 

Exercise & Diet

By: Trish Pearce, Metabolic Care Consultant
Student of Chiropractic Medicine, National University of Health Sciences

Why is it so important to move? Not just to exercise, but to MOVE. Get out and about, breathe fresh air, and stretch your muscles?  Is it all about “staying in shape,” or losing weight, or cardiovascular health? It seems that in 2012, our society is firmly entrenched in the misconception that exercise (or even just MOVEMENT!) should be a chore. But it doesn’t have to be!

As a student of naturopathic medicine, I spend an awful lot of time in the anatomy lab. In fact, it’s one of my favorite places to be! There are so many lessons the human body can teach us that to use the word “endless” would be an understatement. My lab group and I feel particularly blessed, because the gentleman that we work with, whom we have affectionately named “Boris,” is a fine example of what the body looks like when it is well taken care of. People from other lab groups come over to us just to admire Boris’s body in all its glory. The most important lesson that Boris has taught us is that human beings were MEANT to be healthy, MEANT to be in good shape, and MEANT to live a long, fulfilling life.  That is the “importance of being Boris,” or at least like him.

So what was Boris’s secret? Why, at the age of 82, was Boris in such exemplary physical condition?  Why did he have so little body fat, and such large, healthy muscles? Did he work out 7 days a week? Was he a marathon runner? Perhaps Boris was once a world class athlete! In reality (although we never had the pleasure of meeting Boris outside of anatomy lab) I suspect that Boris was, more or less, as ordinary as you or I. It’s just that, well, Boris MOVED! He got out and enjoyed life, and did active, physical activities that made him feel good.

What do I mean by move? I mean do exercise that YOU ENJOY! Believe it or not, we were designed to LIKE to exercise, and our bodies were designed to be in good physical condition. The key to getting on a consistent exercise program that works is to have fun! Do you like taking walks with your dog, yoga, zumba, dance, swimming, or weight lifting? Pretty much any physical activity that gets your heart rate up and your muscles moving counts! Figure out what you love to do and get motivated! So why don’t more people exercise? Unfortunately, society has lead us to believe that exercise should always be strenuous, it should always be LONG, and it should always be inconvenient. Otherwise it “doesn’t count.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a good exercise regime should have three important qualities:

  1. It is as difficult as you want it to be. Now, this doesn’t mean that it should be too easy! But you shouldn’t feel like you have to go to the gym and run 10 miles in an hour to get a good workout. In fact, you don’t even have to run if you don’t want to! Cardio doesn’t have to be high intensity, and in fact, it shouldn’t be!
  2. It should only take 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete. Yes, just 30 minutes of exercise a day is good enough! Remember, there are 24 hours in a day. You CAN find 1 hour out of those 24 to work out!
  3. You should WANT TO EXERCISE! You should look forward to exercising because you have chosen an activity that you LOVE TO DO! Being consistent with an exercise regimen relies on how motivated you are to get started. Once you get started, you’ll find that your own momentum carries you along!

So what exactly are the benefits of movement and exercise? Gee, where do I start? The one everyone knows is that exercise causes you to lose weight. But no, it’s even better! Exercise burns fat and builds muscle. There is more to exercise than just “losing weight.” Think about that phrase for a second. What exactly do you want to lose? Certainly not muscle, or bone, or organ mass! Then what? Instead of saying you “want to lose weight,” say “I want to lose fat!” The more muscle and less fat you have, the better you will look and feel! Secondly, exercise is a MAJOR stress reducer! Our body requires exercise to “burn off steam.” You shouldn’t feel run down and exhausted after exercising, you should feel invigorated! If you are feeling run down or crummy after you work out, then you overdid it. Third, exercise is good for our organs. Cardiovascular health improves significantly with some amount of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week, as well as gut, immune, liver, and nervous systems. Exercise is also an absolute REQUIREMENT for joint and bone health! Movement in general removes waste products from the joints, and in fact, lack of movement can seriously exacerbate conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Like I said before, we were meant to move, to be physical, and enjoy life! Boris knew that.

It is vitally important to exercise, to do what you like, and to use your body as it was designed to be used. Planning a good exercise regimen is the first step in the direction of leading a healthier, more active lifestyle. Your homework is to find out what kind of workout program appeals to you the most. If you aren’t sure, there are plenty of options out there! In the second part of this series we will discuss the basics of a good workout program and how to properly do both aerobic and anaerobic exercise

I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude toward Boris, wherever he may be, for the invaluable lesson he has taught us, simply by being himself.

 

Leaky Gut Syndrome & its Negative Effects on our Health

By: Trish Pearce

Metabolic Care Consultant- Beyer Natural Health Solutions

How many times have you heard someone say, “I have Crohns disease,” or, “I was just diagnosed with Hashimotos,” and , “My doctor recently changed my medication for depression,”  or something along those lines? In fact, it seems that hearing someone mention a chronic illness is extraordinarily common in our society! However, in all of the many, many times you have heard someone bring up a health condition, how many times have you heard someone say, “I have leaky gut syndrome?”  Never? That’s interesting, because the three aforementioned diseases (and many, MANY more) can actually be CAUSED by leaky gut syndrome! But wait…what exactly IS LGS?

The fact that you have never heard someone complain about their leaky gut syndrome is probably due to the fact that most Americans don’t know such a thing even exists. In fact, the medical community vehemently denies its existence altogether. However, it is very real and in fact very prevalent in our society for a myriad of reasons.  First, let’s define LGS: “When tight junctions of the intestinal mucosa are compromised, they become widened and permeable to large, undigested compounds, toxins, and bacteria.” Huh? Translation: “The cells lining the gut (“the gut” being the long tube that starts with your mouth and ends with your anus) become damaged and broken, allowing the contents of the gut to enter systemic (whole body) circulation.” Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. Put another way, LGS is like stomach ulcers…just on a much smaller scale.

What kinds of things can leak into the blood stream, and why is this bad? Think of your gut like a screen door that keeps bugs from getting inside your house, but gets poked full of holes! (My great grandfather had a rather disgusting habit of patching the holes in his screen door with chewing gum. Unfortunately, this approach does not work with the gut.) Anything in the gut that can escape through the holes created by damaged cells is fair game, like undigested proteins from the food we eat, toxic material, and infectious organisms like bacteria and parasites. Anything that enters the blood stream that the body does not like it termed an “antigen.” After leaking from the gut into the blood stream, these antigens get recognized by your body’s highly efficient defense system, your antibodies. Your antibodies are like your body’s military. Your antibodies then make a concentrated effort to attack and destroy the antigens that they have spotted in the blood. This causes an “inflammatory response.” When this scenario plays out day after day, week after week, and year after year due to LGS, CHRONIC DISEASES DEVELOP.  Angry antibodies=inflammation=symptoms=miserable you!

LGS is associated with ALL SORTS of chronic conditions and symptoms! To give you a short list: chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, chronic pain and inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, food sensitivities, chronic gut infections, brain fog, and more. In fact, it is hypothesized by researchers in the field that people with an autoimmune disease (that is, the body’s antibodies are mistakenly attacking your own cells) ALWAYS have leaky gut syndrome! That is to say, LGS is a PRE-REQUISITE for becoming auto-immune! Wow!

There are many ways a person can develop a leaky gut, but usually, it is a combination of one or more things occurring at once. If you have been recently diagnosed with LGS, or suspect you or a loved one may have it, here are a few things you can start doing that will go a long way toward allowing your body to heal and correct symptoms that go along with LGS. (Yes, your body will heal ITSELF, or as we say in the field of naturopathic medicine “vis medicatrix naturae.”)

  1. Correct the diet. LGS is often caused, or exacerbated by, multiple food sensitivities. If you are sensitive to gluten or other foods, they MUST be eliminated from the diet. Also, processed foods, excess sugar and high fructose corn syrup, soda, and fast food have been shown to contribute to LGS.
  2. Stop popping pills. Excessive use of OTC drugs like antacids (like tums) and NSAIDS (like advil) can severely damage the cells of the gut. It is common knowledge that excessive use of pain medications can lead to peptic ulcers. Now that you know that peptic ulcers are simply LGS on a macroscopic (can be seen with the naked eye) scale, you know that if you have ulcers, you most certainly have LGS.
  3. Eliminate gut infections. First, you need to be tested for bacterial, parasitic, or fungal gut infections. If any are present, you must follow the supplementation protocol laid out by the doctor designed to eradicate infection. “Bad guys” in the gut will continuously damage your fragile cells. After all, it’s their job!
  4. Reduce stress. Easier said than done, right? Being chronically stressed out, believe it or not, is not only damaging to your mental health, but also to your gut! Find ways to unwind, relax, and be sure to get plenty of healthy exercise.
  5. Supplementation. There are supplements that are specifically designed to aid the body’s natural healing process. The most important ingredients for healing the gut are amino acids (the “building blocks” of gut cells), like glutamine, soothing botanicals to calm inflammation, and enzymes to aid digestion. You should always take supplements exactly as directed by the doctor.

So how do you discover whether or not you have LGS? YOU GET TESTED! Dr Beyer’s program includes a lab test that can determine whether or not you have LGS. Now that you know what LGS is, what diseases it can lead to, where it comes from, and steps you can take to correct it, it shouldn’t seem so daunting! Now, you are swapping “health woes” with your Aunt Marge, instead of mentioning, “I have leaky gut syndrome,” you can instead say, “I’m currently FIXING my leaky gut syndrome, and I feel better already!” Or…even better, “I used to have leaky gut syndrome. But I fixed it!”

Now how often do you hear people say THAT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief History on the Gluten Disaster

By: Trish Pearce, Metabolic Care Coordinator- Beyer Natural Health Solutions

Are you familiar with The Simpson’s? Most people are. Each episode follows the same general template: the opening scene, a plot full of unexpected (and hilarious) twists and turns, and an ending that (unless you saw the first few minutes of the show,) seemingly makes no sense at all! Think about it…you have never turned on the TV and caught the last few minutes of an episode that you’ve never seen before without thinking, “Huh?!” Why do the writers do that? Are they just quirky? Well, yes, obviously. But it’s a good strategy, isn’t it? How could you ever truly understand the plot of ANY story without knowing the beginning?

It is impossible to understand the impact gluten has had on our health (and the health of our pets!) without understanding the history behind it and the series of events that lead to new research showing that EVERYONE is gluten sensitive, with 1/3 of the population being symptomatic at any given time. Not to mention the endangerment and possible EXTINCTION of a once well-known and common dog breed. To understand the enemy, we must look into our not-so-distant past and decide what choices were made by our ancestors that allowed such a silently spreading epidemic that is virtually IGNORED by our medical community.  We must ask the following questions: Where did gluten come from? What is gluten, exactly? How does gluten affect our health?  Who is affected by it? And last, but not least, where the heck DID all the Irish Setters go? (Have you noticed you don’t see many around anymore?)

Humanity has been around, in our current flattering form, for approximately two million years (wow, good for us!) The earliest humans were “hunter-gatherers,” which consumed, for the most part, freshly killed game meat and whatever fruits and vegetables were found lying around. Depending on your beliefs: God, Mother Nature, or Evolution designed our bodies to consume this rather plain fare in the belief that we would adhere strictly to our diets. But, alas, ancient humans, like modern ones, have a hard time sticking to one diet for too long. The ancient peoples of Mesopotamia were able to last until about 10,000-15,000 years ago when agriculture of the DISTANT ancestor of our current wheat grain was developed. His name was Einkorn, and he was a simple guy. So simple, in fact, that it’s postulated that our modern day celiacs could snack on him with absolutely no adverse affects! Uh, come again? It’s true! Modern humans have genetically altered and processed the original wheat grain to the point where it went from a seemingly innocuous, average food source to AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER THAT IS DESTROYING OUR HEALTH!

Geez, Einkorn, what did they do to you? Well, humanity is not known for it’s ability to leave well-enough alone, and instead of leaving wheat to remain in its intended design, we decided to tamper with its genetics (some higher power must be FED UP with us.) Early Germanic tribes began a process called cross-pollenization (early genetic modification), which basically means they created hybrids by reproducing different, although closely related, species of wheat. Why? Well, who likes crumbly, crumby bread? Our ancestors certainly didn’t, so they bred different varieties of wheat in order to create a perfect, delicious loaf of bread. Mission accomplished! But what they didn’t know WOULD end up hurting them, and all the generations that came after them! What didn’t they know?

THE TRAIT THEY WERE BREEDING FOR WAS GLUTEN. Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives bread its sticky quality, its lovely ability to rise into a distinct shape, not tear when we scrape a butter knife full of mayonnaise across it, and its delicious consistency. Unfortunately, those wonderful aspects of bread require BOATLOADS of gluten. We’re talking toxic levels, here. In fact, do you know what most industrial adhesives are made out of? Gluten protein. No, seriously. (Casein, or cow’s milk protein, is used as well. That’s why there is a picture of a cow on Elmer’s glue. But we’ll save casein’s story for another day.)

So…what does a protein that is often used for industrial strength, water proof adhesives do to our fragile insides which were meant for a simple diet of meat, vegetables, and the occasional fruits and nuts? It does exactly what you would think. It sticks. Specifically, it liberally coats the first thing it encounters after leaving your stomach, your duodenum, and then makes its oozing way into your small intestine, where your body absorbs all the nutrients from the foods you eat. (Wait a second…my stomach is loaded with acid! There’s no way this stuff can escape a hydrochloric acid bath! Actually, yes, it does. Gluten, along with other proteins like casein, doesn’t dissolve in acid. They only dissolve in alkaline and alcohol based solutions. Phew, good thing you had that glass of wine with dinner, right?) The body absorbs all of its nutrients, that is, vitamins and minerals, fats, proteins, and sugars, through tiny, finger-like projections lining the inside of your intestine called villi. Each villus has a special job, like little villagers. One villager harvests calcium, another, protein, another, vitamin D. Aw, how cute! They are extremely efficient at their jobs until, WHAM. They are coated in sticky protein. Could you do your job covered in glue? I couldn’t.

The best case scenario is that your little villagers get coated in glue and can no longer work. The worst case scenario is that your body’s clean-up crew, your immune system, mounts an attack. On you. Or rather, your villagers.  See, your immune system sends guys called antibodies whose job is to target the sticky protein covering the villi and eliminate it. These guys are highly efficient but, the problem is, they can be a bit over-zealous. Rather than simply wash the glue off the villi (it’s not that easy, see) they might just annihilate the little guys entirely! Oh, no! Now you are not absorbing nutrients efficiently. But it gets worse. What if the unsuspecting person just KEEPS EATING GLUTEN? Again, the answer is intuitive. Eventually, the immune system will destroy every single villager in small intestine town. What’s the medical diagnosis for this condition? CELIAC DISEASE.  Actually, the immune system might just bomb the town for good measure, leaving actual holes in the intestinal lining. What’s the medical term for that one? LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.  By the end of the barrage, the entire body is in crisis mode. Once there are holes in your small intestine, and “enemy molecules” (yes, GLUTEN, in addition to lots of other bad stuff) start leaking out, your immune system has basically declared martial law. Antibodies will attack gluten and EVERYTHING IN YOUR BODY THAT LOOKS LIKE GLUTEN. Some of your cells look like gluten! RIP, cells. What does the medical community call this one? It’s a bit more general now that multiple organ systems of your body are involved. They call it auto-immune disease. Wait, why are we still eating gluten? Because donuts are worth it! Eh…maybe not.

Current research shows that one in thirty-three people in the general population have the genetics that predispose them to celiac disease. Remember, you are only considered celiac AFTER every single one of your villagers has died. This is termed “total villous atrophy.” But, what if your villagers are in the PROCESS of being obliterated? What if your body is making antibodies but hasn’t quite reached crisis mode? The line between general gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is rather blurry. Most people wouldn’t know the difference. Your body might be mounting an immune attack against gluten, but you haven’t had total villous atrophy. Are you still feeling the effects? Certainly. Should you stop eating gluten? OF COURSE. Do you call the fire department when you see the first whiff of smoke in your house, or do you wait until the entire thing has burned to the ground and the fire begins to spread to your neighbors’ houses?

So…what the heck DID happen to all the Irish Setters? First of all, consider the fact that the pet food companies have been making grain based food since their inception. It started with corn meal, which is an obvious choice. American farmers grow LOTS of corn and there’s often a surplus. Then, 10-15 years ago, China figured out how to grow its own wheat supply and stopped importing ours. Uh oh. Wheat glut. The pet food industry bought up wheat grain for pennies on the dollar and began making foods that were wheat grain based. What makes you think pets aren’t gluten sensitive? Moreover, what makes you think that animals that were designed to eat MEAT, and meat ALONE, should be eating kibble that’s made out of grain? Of course, that’s silly. Pets these days just don’t seem as hearty as they used to, do they? They experience all sorts of crazy health problems, from inexplicable allergies to cancer to chronic diarrhea (I would know, I was a vet tech for 5 years!) Have you made the connection? Or are you still doubtful?

Remember the Irish setter? Used to be a fairly common breed, you might see a handful for every 20 labrador retrievers, sure! Don’t see many of them anymore, do you? In the years I worked as a vet tech I never saw ONE, and I saw such rare specimens as hairless cats and Irish wolfhounds! The setter has even been added to the AKC’s list of “endangered breeds” which means they have fewer than 300 annual registrations. What the….? They’ve been on the list for a little over 10 years! What happened 10-15 years ago to the pet food industry, again? Get ready for it…here it comes…Irish Setters are celiacs.

 

That’s where they all went.

Dr. Ed Beyer was recently interviewed for a Chicago area morning show. Here he speaks with host of WCIU’s You and Me This Morning Melissa Forman about hypothyroidism.