Not to name names, but some of our stomachs don’t like what we feed them. We’re here to talk about our options, and what science has to say about it. Recently there have been calls for research into the affects of a changed diet (gluten free) on symptoms of Lymphocytic gastritis, and considering the theme of this blog, these diseases should be discussed in depth. It is well known that changing your diet to exclude acids can steer some people clear of gastritis (though, if you don’t have Coeliac disease as well, it may be all in your head). Coeliac disease requires a strict gluten-free diet.
Coeliac is an auto-immune disease that wreaks havoc in the small intestine. Villi, small hair-like structures on the wall of this intestinal tract, absorb nutrients and process the food we eat. Under the influence of Coeliac disease, an inflammatory response leaves them shortened ghosts of their former hair-like selves, causing a loss in their efficiency, and anemia as a result.
Gastritis on the other hand is a very broad disease that is characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Causes include heavy drinking, autoimmune problems, radiation therapy, Crohn disease, etc. but the most common are from Helicobacter pylori (bacterial) infection and use of aspirin (NSAIDs). Gastritis affects half of all people. Upper abdominal pain is common, and can be sharp, dull, or even non-existent. Weird!
According to a July 2015 publication entitled “The Coeliac Stomach: Gastritis in patients with Coeliac disease“, chronic active, as well as chronic inactive, gastritis are strongly linked to Coeliac disease. Both of these are forms of that disease lacking an infection of H. pylori (a bacterial infection of the intestinal tract). Lymphocytic gastritis, the form where this bacteria is present, is also strongly linked to Coeliac. This means that if you have Coeliac disease, it is very likely that you have one of these forms of gastritis. Research is underway as you read this to determine if a gluten free diet is effective at treating lymphocytic (bacterial-infection-caused) gastritis. When that study concludes, you will see an article about it here. Until then, let’s look at our diet options.
My guess on diets worth trying:
I would like to preface this by defining how I’ll be using the word diet. When I read about some new diet on a magazine in the store, it brings up dreams of what can be called a get-fit-quick scheme. Eat a certain way, get some amount of exercise and you’ll lose X amount of weight in X amount of days. Ironically, this is not a healthy way to think about health. Your body isn’t a cut of meat where you can shave off fat and that’s that. As demonstrated by research conducted on contestants of the show The Biggest Loser (here is the New York Times article), the human body has its own agenda, working to gain it all back. It’s never content! That’s why I choose to use the word as it was intended, to describe a selected group of foods we consume. A diet is not a lifestyle. Exercise is a great way to get in shape, but won’t help on its own. Health starts with what we eat.
Any diet featuring the absence of gluten will work, but specifically a Ketogenic diet would be easy to try (ask a doctor prior to trying a new diet, or ask your doctor to recommend a nutritionist). The function of this diet is to wean the body off of burning carbohydrates for energy, and into burning fats. Its primary use is for the treatment of epilepsy in children. Body builders use it to burn extra body fat quickly in order to lose weight and gain muscle definition before competitions. This is already a low carb diet, so eliminating gluten at the same time should be easy. Gluten free bread is easy to get at stores like Whole Foods! The link above goes to Dr. Perlmutter’s website, but I’d also recommend the book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, called Eat to Live and can be found on Amazon. That is an affiliate link to the book, which is, in my opinion, the most thorough explanation of how diets affect the body. In it is a good example of a diet that creates real lasting changes on the body, and one that gives us the energy to exercise and get results if we want, or even just to have a stronger working brain.
Benefits of a ketogenic diet are plentiful. Weight loss (and a change to a healthier metabolism), consistent all-day energy, higher brain function, use as a depression treatment and mood stabilization are all possibilities under a ketogenic food regimen. Eating ketogenic gluten-free food yields positive results for treatment of Coeliac and gastritis. The best part is that the brain feeds on fats, so this high-fat high-protein diet can fuel it easily for the entire day. No more getting tired two hours before the end of work!
As stated above, the diet physiologically changes how our bodies use and store energy. Carbs are a powerful fuel compared with fats, they get used up very slowly. If the majority of your diet consists of carbohydrates from grains, your body is conditioned to store what it doesn’t use (this can add up to a LOT of fat storage). Once the body knows it is getting almost no carbs, it will begin to voraciously consume the fats from nuts and meats that you eat, AND fats from carbs you’ve stored. Our bodies stop storing and start consuming! Even more exciting is that our immune systems can heal, and perhaps we can start eating pickles worry-free!!!!
Within a year or two we should have an indication of how lymphocytic gastritis reacts to a
gluten-free ketogenic diet (edited July 2018, no word yet). Whether the paper will mention how Coeliac AND the bacterial infection reacted to the diet is up for speculation. My guess is that the bacteria will not react unless antibiotics are given. The immuno-compromised human body will need more help than a change in diet can provide. Additionally, should the bacteria not react to a diet change, we might see no change in symptoms like abdominal cramps. At this point, only time will tell.
Do you have Coeliac and gastritis? Have you tried a diet that worked? Scroll to the bottom to join the conversation.
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