RA News – Celiac Disease or Rheumatoid Disease?

This is important, and complicated, and very very important, and I hope folks read this.  It might be long!

I am a flippin nut, and I know it.  There are times when I would like to go to med school and become a doctor, as I feel I’m too stupid to understand a lot of the medical things that I read.  Lucky for me, my husband has a biology degree, and he can usually put things into terms I can understand.

I started reading about the leaky gut theory a good 12 years or more ago.  The medical community crapped on it as a theory, but the more “alternative” medicine stream was running with it.  The theory is that we eat stuff we shouldn’t, it irritates our intestinal lining, and stuff leaks through the lining and into our bodies.  Some of these things look similar to other proteins and such in our bodies, and therefore confuse our bodies leading to various autoimmune conditions.  The early things I was reading long ago talked about eliminating foods, one at a time, then reintroducing them.  For the few things I did this with (dairy, meat, gluten, sugar), this did not make any significant dent in my rheumatoid disease until I got rid of everything at once (all grain, all animal milk, all legumes, all nightshades).  Now it works.  This is the Paleo Diet I’ve been doing with great results for the last 20 months.

Now, Robb Wolf, one of the Paleo gurus, has a weekly podcast I recently discovered that’s been going since 2009.  I listened to 6 more recent episodes, but found them so intriguing that I started with podcast #1, am currently on #9 and intend to listen to them all in sequence.  There are about 200 of them, so this will take some time (especially since I’m listening to some 2-3 times!)

In a few of his podcasts (around #s 6-8, I think), he’s been talking about transglutaminase.  What the heck is that?  Well, I’m still not exactly sure (can somebody put a medical education in my head to make me smarter?).  The bits I do understand (hopefully correctly) is that transglutaminase has its hand in nearly everything our bodies do, and it’s reactive (aka, doesn’t like) gluten.  Therefore, eating gluten can cause transglutaminase to become mad and piss off any number of things in our bodies (think autoimmune diseases!)  Robb cited a research study where 135 children with type 1 diabetes were screened for celiac disease (celiac disease is autoimmune reactivity to gluten, which causes extreme digestive issues, see this article).  For the mostpart, the children did not meet the criteria for testing positive for celiac.  They were tested further by examining the last layer of protection between the intestines and the body (aka, if “crap” gets through this, it ain’t staying where it’s supposed to), and found that in all of the children, that barrier (can’t remember what that last barrier was called) tested positive for gluten reactions.  This would seemingly indicate that although these children did not have the classic stomach issues of celiac disease, that they did, in fact, have it.  Could this cause type 1 diabetes?  Robb Wolf argued that yes it could.  I agree!

So, I wondered, has anybody looked at this transglutaminase crap with rheumatoid disease?  Well, guess what!  YES!  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21794776

You know what their conclusions were???  With CD being Celiac Disease, ACR being American College of Rheumatology, and RA being rheumatoid arthritis, this is their quote:


It is possible that CD may be the correct diagnosis in a patient with polyarthritis, even if the patient meets the ACR criteria for RA. In other words, CD should be considered among the differential diagnoses in a patient with poly-arthritis.

Holy crap, people!  My head is spinning!  Are we all gluten sensitive?  Maybe more than gluten?  What does this mean?????????????

I would LOVE some comments, please, please, please.

And I love Robb Wolf.  I’m only on podcast #9 of 200 or so.  What else am I going to learn?

2 thoughts on “RA News – Celiac Disease or Rheumatoid Disease?

  1. Likely all autoimmune diseases share the same trigger mechanism – increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) that allows food particles to pass to the bloodstream and initiate autoimmune reaction.

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