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Bowel Disorders Message Board

Bowel Disorders Board Index

Hi GsMom,

Time to healing is highly individual. Recent studies have found that younger celiacs (under 30 yrs. of age) tend to have significant improvement in their intestinal villi structure within 6 mos. However, older celiacs can take years to heal. In my gluten intolerance support group, we have a woman who took about seven years to heal. She started the diet in her 60s.

There are a couple of reasons why it can take longer than average to heal, even for young celiacs. First, it depends on how long the damage has been going on for. About one third of the population carries the major genes for celiac, however, current thinking is, it takes an environmental trigger to set off the damage. So, you can have two recently-diagnosed celiacs who are 20 yo, and they may heal differently because one may have been celiac since infancy, the other only since the past 8 mos. or so.

The second factor, and it is frequently overlooked, is other food intolerances that are perpetuating the autoimmune destruction. While gluten is what you most commonly hear about in relation to celiac disease, and it is primary there, the destruction to the gut allows other undigested proteins to enter the bloodstream. From there, the body may mount an allergic response, and/or it may develop an autoimmune response to the other protein. Nongluten autoimmune destruction can result from dairy, egg, or soy -- perhaps others, but these are most common. When a celiac is not healing despite faithful diet (this can be ckd w/antigliadin antibody load decreasing), it's reasonable to check for other causes.

NSAIDs are known to cause villi destruction in about 10% of chronic users. Various parasites can also destroy villi. There are other causes, more rare.

Studies suggest that up to 35% of recently diagnosed (by endoscopy) celiacs are lactose-intolerant. There is a test for lactose intolerance.

Whether or not dairy needs to be totally removed for a celiac is highly individual. In the majority of cases, no. However, if one has high levels of antibodies of any sort (IgA, IgG, IgE) to dairy, it certainly makes sense to remove it.

In nonceliac gluten sensitivity (much more common than celiac disease), sometimes results can be seen within a month of removing gluten from the diet, in adults. Even sooner with kids. But if anything, NCGS has a higher rate of other associated food intolerances.

Best wishes.

We used the Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri, and only the powder form (not capsules or chewables). We purchased it at a healthfood store.

My DD would not be able to take the Nature's Sunshine product because of the corn protein it contains. (She developed severe multiple food intolerances as a result of the celiac/leaky gut.)

I doubt that any probiotic will reverse the autoimmune damage caused by celiac disease, in absence of dietary modification. If you don't get the undigested gluten out of the diet, down to the ppm level, destruction of the gut continues in celiac disease. Gluten triggers the body's own defense mechanisms to mount an attack against itself. In celiac disease, it's not just a matter of gut dysbiosis. Dysbiosis may co-exist, but it's not the main problem. At least as far as I understand things.

Beyond that, CD is nothing to fool around with. Without faithful GF diet, there is increased risk for other autoimmune diseases, and also for some very nasty gut cancers. So I have to be very firm in recommending that people w/CD remain on the GF diet, despite a suggestion of a supplement manufacturer that a probiotic is what will heal them.

Of course, if the supplement is GF, and someone wants to try it in addition to the diet, that may be where the benefit lies. Lots of celiacs do take probiotics to good benefit. And I've have heard many testimonials for L-glutamine speeding/ facilitating gut healing in celiacs on GFD, but am not sure that is backed up by research.

I'd love to see independent confirmation of the vili-lengthening stuff. Perhaps this result was in non-celiacs -- folks with vili damage from NSAID use, bacterial infection, or parasites.

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