A new study from the United States has found that many patients with celiac disease have micronutrient deficiencies. Carried out by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a ‘cathedral’ of conventional medicine, the study shows that a lack of vitamins and minerals is a common finding in adults newly diagnosed with the disease. Significantly, in a sign that conventional medicine is perhaps beginning to recognize the importance of correcting nutritional deficiencies, the researchers say these should be addressed at the time of diagnosis.
A serious digestive condition in which the ingestion of gluten, a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and various other cereal grains, leads to damage in the small intestine, celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Gluten is found in a wide variety of foods including pasta, breakfast cereals, pastries, most types of bread, and most beers. Consuming foods or drinks containing gluten can result in celiac patients experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion. Joint pain, fatigue and skin problems can also occur, as also can nerve damage. In children, the disease can affect their growth and development.
Conventional medicine offers no cure for celiac disease. Instead, patients have to switch to a gluten-free diet and are given drugs to control symptoms. Significantly, however, even when following a gluten-free diet and taking prescribed medication, at least 30 percent of celiac disease patients still report symptoms. Clearly, therefore, while obviously necessary, for many people avoiding gluten is an incomplete treatment for this disease.
The Mayo Clinic study looked at data on 309 adults who had been newly diagnosed with celiac disease between 2000 and 2014. The researchers found that many of them had micronutrient deficiencies at the time of diagnosis. The most common deficiency was zinc, which was seen in almost 60 percent of patients. Other micronutrients found to be deficient included vitamins D and B12, folate, copper and iron.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Adam Bledsoe, MD, admits he found it somewhat surprising to see the frequency of micronutrient deficiencies in these newly diagnosed patients, given that few of them had symptoms of impaired intestinal absorption. Weight loss was seen in only just over 25 percent of patients, for example. However, while Bledsoe and his colleagues recognize that the deficiencies may have health implications, they claim that what these might be is currently unknown. In reality, of course, the health risks of micronutrient deficiencies are already very well understood.
Patients suffering from celiac disease are hardly alone in having multiple micronutrient deficiencies. We know this because Dr. Rath’s revolutionary Cellular Medicine research has demonstrated that a long-term lack of vitamins, minerals, and other essential micronutrients is the primary cause of today’s most common chronic diseases. With celiac patients known to have an increased risk of developing health problems such as coronary artery disease and cancer, the presence of micronutrient deficiencies in celiac disease can thus be revealed as the primary reason for this.
Based on this explanation we can also now understand why, even when following a gluten-free diet, at least 30 percent of celiac patients still report symptoms. Unless the micronutrient deficiencies are corrected, avoiding gluten alone is an incomplete treatment for the disease.
The fact that Mayo Clinic researchers have recognized the importance of addressing nutritional deficiencies in celiac disease clearly has the potential to become a significant step forward in the control of this debilitating health problem. As always, however, the key question will be how soon doctors and health policy makers can implement a recommendation to do so into clinical practice. Given the accumulated evidence in favor of micronutrient supplementation, it is time for celiac patients everywhere to be told the facts.