What is The Gluten Summit?

Dr Tom O’Bryan from theDr.com has generously gathered a group of medical professionals at the forefront of research into gluten related health issues, nutrition and healthy living to bring us a series of interviews on the topic of 'gluten'. The goal of the summit is to bring recognition of gluten-related disorders forward by five years. The summit is taking place online from 11-17 November 2013.

The wrap up from day 4 of The Gluten Summit

Wow, what a day of interviews at The Gluten Summit! If you want to know more about how gluten affects the brain then Dr. Hadjivassiliou is your man! There were also plenty of healthy gluten free tips to improve your lifestyle from Melinda Dennis and JJ Virgin. If you are interested in GMO foods and how chemicals are affecting our foods and our immune systems, then Tom Malterre's informative interview will open your eyes. All in all, a very insightful day. We have included the highlights below for you...

The interviewees and their topics

  • Melinda Dennis, Registered Dietitian: The secret to safely avoiding gluten while dining out.
  • Tom Malterre, Scientist and Nutritionist:The perfect storm: gluten plus gut flora imbalances plus environmental toxins.
  • JJ Virgin, Certified Nutritionist: Your body is not a bank account. It’s a chemistry lab.
  • Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou: Gluten-related disorders: time to move from the gut to the brain.

The most interesting points to take away

  1. Villi can start to regenerate 72 hours after you start your gluten free diet.
  2. Dine at off-peak times when eating out because it means it will be less hectic in the kitchen.
  3. Supporting kids with gluten free diets should involve making food fun and commonplace, if not everyone is eating gluten free then make their food look similar, involve school teachers so you can provide food for school functions.
  4. The increase in coeliac disease, autism, asthma and eczema cannot be put down to genetics so we need to look at the environmental factors, for example - toxins and chemicals we inhale or that are occurring in our food and water sources.
  5. As we increase the concentration of these toxins and chemicals around us the levels of them in our bodies are also increasing. We are what is in the environment surrounding us.
  6. The increase in exposure to chemicals is causing alteration to the microbiome and immune system which is leaving the body more susceptible to allergies.
  7. Genetically modified organisms may also be another cause of the increase in food allergies, if you are concerned eat organic foods.
  8. To overcome weight loss resistance, eliminate foods that create an inflammatory response and address lifestyle factors (sleep, stress, thyroid and toxicity).
  9. The seven foods to eliminate on the Virgin diet, to reduce inflammation are; gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  10. A mixture of good fats, protein and fibre keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  11. Gluten ataxia affects the fingers, hands, arms, legs, speech and eye movement of people. It can result in difficulty walking and judging distance which may result in falls. It is also known to cause tremors and visual disturbances.
  12. Ataxia caused by gluten is one of the few forms which can be stabilised and sometimes improved.
  13. Early diagnosis in gluten related neurological disorders is critical because if you lose your neural cells in the balance centre, which is what happens in the case of ataxia, there is no way to get them back.
  14. Peripheral neuropathy (lack of sensation or tingling in the peripheries) sufferers should be screened for gluten sensitivities.
  15. White matter lesions on the brain are significantly decreased on a gluten free diet in those with gluten sensitivities.
  16. The bowel is simply the body’s point of contact with gluten, but the manifestations of autoimmune disease are diverse, and symptoms are increasingly being seem elsewhere in the body.
  17. Research shows that only 1 in 9 confirmed coeliac patients have bowel symptoms. It also shows that 2 in every 7 people diagnosed with coeliac disease also have neurological issues. The term is now non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.
  18. ‘Gluten-related disorders’ is a new term that covers off a variety of diseases, allergies and illnesses caused by eating gluten. We are being urged to steer away from the term 'gluten intolerance' to avoid the the connotations that it can be treated with an enzyme as lactose intolerance can with a lactase enzyme.
  19. Patients with the right genes and some elevated antibodies could be classified as pre-coeliac.
  20. Over 90% of coeliac patients will have the DQ2 gene and the remaining 9% will have the DQ8 gene.

Some interesting quotes from the interviews

  1. "Now its my chance to take my health into my own hands and get motivated and be perhaps, even healthier than I was before" - Melinda Dennis believes a gluten related disorder is a just a reason to make your lifestyle even more healthy.
  2. “I find that most people aren’t hungry at night, they are just bored!” - JJ Virgin
  3. “It is about time we thought of [gluten sensitivity] as a systemic disease that can affect different parts of the body, rather than concentrating solely on the bowel” - Dr. Hadjivassiliou
  4. “We don’t know exactly what is the precise immunological response that causes [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity]. But we know these patients are not making it up. They are patients who genuinely improved on a gluten free diet… The patients with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity were not patients prone to more anxiety or depression or the kinds of psychological profiles that we sometimes see in non-organic diseases.” - Dr. Hadjivassiliou
  5. “You will be amazed that the vast majority of (coeliac) patients, even those who present with gastrointestinal symptoms, will have those neurological symptoms as well” - Dr. Hadjivassiliou

Check out our re-caps from the other days of The Gluten Summit