Just recently Health Canada has made an amazing statement: “CD is now recognized as one of the most common chronic diseases in the world.”
Health Canada is in the process of preparing badly needed new labeling criteria for gluten-free foods and has made available a surprisingly comprehensive document (Download). This paper includes the most up-to-date and accepted info and research data.
Health Canada writes: “Celiac disease is a common genetic condition with serious symptoms triggered by the consumption of gluten.” Kudos to Health Canada for voicing what many medical institutions fail to point out: the implication of gluten intolerance on the general level of health and the acknowledgment about the importance of a 100% gluten free approach for those affected.
Unfortunately, few general practitioners and specialists know about celiac disease and gluten intolerance. As a result, many individuals go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for eleven to fourteen years. Rarely are these patients informed about the benefits of a gluten-free diet.
Health Canada emphasizes that “Currently, the only treatment for CD is to continually maintain a gluten-free diet (GFD)… The diet requires a strict lifelong exclusion of wheat, rye, barley, and other related cereal grains from the diet.”
In addition, Health Canada states a premise that has guided our work at the Natural Medicine Centre for several decades: “Other consumers may also follow a gluten-free diet for medical reasons. …some individuals with gluten sensitivity do not progress to fully expressed CD… As a result, in addition to individuals with CD, there are other consumers who may also need to follow a GFD for medical reasons.”
When should you suspect that gluten may play a major role in your health issues?
A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, rosacea, psoriasis, asthma, type 1 diabetes, and over 150 immune system disorders may be linked to gluten intolerance; so are several food allergies. Most of these conditions are considered not to have a cure. But they all respond positively to a gluten-free lifestyle.
Among the most obvious symptoms and signs are mineral deficiencies, lack of energy, bloating, gas, and any combination of constipation or loose stools or diarrhea. Gallbladder and other midriff discomfort, low back pain and mottling or yellowing teeth or enamel loss may also be strong indicators of possible underlying gluten issues.
In many cases, withdrawing gluten immediately improves the digestive situation and restores energy levels. Unfortunately, gluten is hidden in just about anything and, if not 100% eliminated, may continue to cause symptoms. Hopefully, the proposed Health Canada labeling policies will start to address these issues.
Remember, you should always consult with a healthcare provider experienced in all facets of gluten-intolerance and celiac disease before taking any steps.