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Archive for February, 2010

If a Family Member has Celiac, What are Your Risks?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

An increasing number of individuals are being diagnosis with Celiac.  Lately, I have been receiving questions from relatives concerning their risk of developing Celiac.  Before answering the question individuals need to understand the genetic and environmental elements involved.

Firstly, Celiac disease is a heritable autoimmune condition.  It occurs mostly in whites but has been found in individuals from South America, Eastern Europe, the Near East, Pakistan, Cuba, and North Africa.  It is most commonly found in ancestry from Scandinavia, Italy, Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain, Israel, and Palestine.  Individuals from these countries may have a HLA (human leukocyte antigen) phenotype of B8, DR3,and DQW2.  These specific human leukocyte antigens (HLA) have evidently evolved rejecting the wheat protein (gluten).  All these HLAs have a high incidence of Celiac.  Testing for these HLAs may give some predictability but does not automatically insure celiac occurrence.  Statistics however, have shown some interesting numbers among family members.  Siblings of Celiac individuals have the highest percentage risk of developing Celiac.  Siblings have 40 to 50 percent risk, identical twins 70 to 100 percent, and relatives have a 20 to 50 percent risk.  Certain autoimmune diseases are common with the incidence of Celiac.  They are: type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, Sjorgen’s disease, and Immunoglobulin A deficiency.  If any of your relatives have these diseases, your risk is increased.

Lastly, environmental factors can also increase the risk of Celiac.  The factors are: gastrointestinal surgery, digesting high doses of gluten (i.e. pizza, pasta, fast foods), pregnancy, and viral infection.  These conditions may heighten the immunologic response to gluten foods, increasing the risk.  Because of the increased use of wheat in convenience foods, members of this society are experiencing more environmental risks than ever before.  Is it any wonder that the celiac numbers have increased?

DISEASE PREVENTION: Achieving Balance in the Foods We eat.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Eating PH balance meals is vital to our health.  Our body needs to maintain an 80% alkaline to 20% acid in the foods we eat.  Unfortunately due to societal changes, we are doing just the opposite.  The American public is consuming increased amounts of sugar, fats, and white bread.  All these foods are acid.  Meats, convenience foods, fats and oils, dairy foods, sweets, alcohol, and tobacco are all acid foods.  Alkaline foods are fruits, vegetables, certain seeds, nuts, herbal drinks, and other foods (see note*).  Ingesting too much acid foods can cause a plethora of diseases.  As a society, we are getting fatter, acquiring early diabetes type II, and experiencing gastric reflux more frequently.  This then results in more medications needed (medications are acid).  Can we reverse this trend?  Hopefully, but the public is not educated in cause and effect.  They cannot see that what they are eating is causing their diseases.  They do not know how to cook.  We can tell the public until we are blue in the face to eat more raw vegetables and less meat or pasta.  Will it do any good?  The easiest way to cook and prepare meals with convenience foods seems to be the norm.  Preparing meals together as a family and sitting down together to eat without the television and computer seems to be a thing of the past.  We are wrecking our stomachs and digestive systems with our poor eating behaviors.  How do we awake and educate the society to change this behavior?   The individual needs to want to improve their health, immune system, and sense of well being.  The question is how to promote this.  Wellness is important to our society.  Start by promoting it in your life.

*Note: Food charts or lists of alkaline and acid foods are easily found at many websites.