A recent research study linked peptic disease (heartburn, GERD, stomach ulcer) to gluten exposure in patients with gluten sensitivity.
PD (peptic disease) is not uncommon in the presentation of CD (celiac disease). It is more likely to be found in the second decade of life. CD should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with non-HP(H pylori) PD and we suggest routine CD serology and small bowel biopsy in patients with unexplained PD.
The authors of this study recommend that all patients with non infectious peptic disease be screened for celiac disease.

Source: Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(12):1424-8.

Gastric Reflux is A Common Symptom of Gluten Exposure

I commonly see patients with a conglomeration of gastric symptoms that are directly caused by gluten exposure. Reflux, heartburn, ulcer disease, Barrett's esophagus, and even hernia are some of the more common diseases I have seen go into remission with the implementation of a TRUE gluten free diet.

© Gluten Free Society

Make Sure Your Doctor Orders the Right Tests

It is common for physicians to rule out infection (primarily H. pylori) in these patients, but gluten intolerance is very rarely investigated. The results of this study suggest that patients with gastric disease be screened for celiac disease. The problem with this recommendation is that celiac blood tests and biopsies are extremely inaccurate and have a high degree of false negatives. The other problem is that many people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Therefore, testing them for celiac disease is a complete waste of time and extremely misleading.

That it why I recommend genetic testing. The results cannot be skewed by diet and are not accompanied with the flaws of celiac blood and biopsy testing.

Drugs That Block Stomach Acid Have Dangerous Consequences

Remember that taking heavy doses of anti-acids and prescription reflux medications is not the answer. These drugs only serve to neutralize or reduce stomach acid. Reduction of stomach acid is a major problem as it increases the risk for:
  • Infection
  • Osteoporosis (ironically, gluten also causes bone loss)
  • Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies (calcium, B-12, folic acid, iron, zinc, and more - also common in those with gluten sensitivity issues)
  • Protein and fat malabsorption as well as indigestion.
The chronic use of these medications works against your natural physiology. It does not treat the actual cause of disease, but merely reduces the symptoms (sometimes), thus creating a false sense of "healthy security". See the diagram below for nutritional deficiencies and consequences of taking acid blocking medications:

© Gluten Free Society
What are the Consequences of these Deficiencies?
  • Vitamin A - suppression of the immune system, skin inflammation, gastric inflammation, lung inflammation, acid reflux, and infertility
  • Protein Deficiency - immune suppression, anemia, inability to heal, blood sugar abnormalities, weight gain, cancer...
  • Calcium Deficiency - bone loss, hormone disruption, blood clotting problems, muscle cramping, high blood pressure, gum disease...
  • Iron Deficiency - anemia, increased risk for viral and bacterial infections, fatigue
  • Vitamin B12 - nerve damage, increased risk for cancer, heart disease, bone loss, anemia, depression...
  • Zinc Deficiency - reduced immune function, slow healing, easy bruising, lowered antioxidant status, acidic pH, diabetes, heart disease...
  • Folate (Folic Acid) - intestinal cancer and polyps, mood disorders (depression, anxiety), cancer, heart disease, bone loss...
?????Why would anyone want to trade the problems above just to reduce symptoms of heartburn????? Does it not make better since to try and determine the cause of the heart burn? We bathe our intestines with food 3 or more times a day. Shouldn't we start looking at the diet first? When did common sense go out the window? Below is a list of foods that commonly trigger acid reflux:
  • grain
  • wine and other alcoholic beverages
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • soy
  • coffee and tea
There are many more, and it should be stated that different people react differently to different foods. The bottom line is this - if you have acid reflux, have your doctor test for food allergies as part of his investigation into the cause of your problem. Don't accept a drug based treatment without a solution.

Please do me a favor. If going gluten free eliminated or reduced your gastric problems, please share with us below in the Leave a Reply Box. Your story may help encourage someone else to go gluten free.

Wishing you excellent health,
Dr. Osborne - The Gluten Free Warrior