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March 21, 2011

The Reality of Gluten Sensitivity

Today is a great day. It is a great day for many reasons, not the least of which are the warmer weather I took a walk in this hazy afternoon, the splendidly effervescent cranberry kombucha I am now drinking, the extra two hours of sleep I snuggled into this spring morning, the eight minutes I lay in the Optimal Health Center's Vitamin D Therapy Bed, and the stairs I climbed as I rid my apartment of unworn winter clothes, toys my daughter has outgrown, and dusty books we no longer read.

It is also a great day because for the first time, I received an e-mail in which I learned that we now have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease.

I published my book, Ten Days to Optimal Health, in January 2006, in which I stated, "Gluten, unfortunately, is central to many health problems: more and more people are finding that consuming gluten does not promote optimal health."

Many of us have lived with the troubling and confusing symptoms of gluten sensitivity, but have failed to find doctors who agree. We have been told that if it wasn't celiac disease, there was nothing wrong with us, that possibly we had emotional problems that caused our unexplained gut pains, mood swings, chemical sensitivities, and constant muscle aches and pains.

Some experts think as many as 1 in 20 Americans have some form of gluten sensitivity, but there is no defined set of symptoms.

Although scientific exploration of gluten sensitivity and its myriad symptoms -- stomach problems, headaches, fatigue, numbness, depression, and more than 100 other disturbing symptoms -- is still in its infancy, it is clear that gluten triggers an immune response of an enemy invader similar to a response to parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

Even though scientifically gluten sensitivity today is roughly where celiac disease was 30 years ago, it is a great day. It is a great day because at least the scientific community now recognizes that this affliction is real and that these 1 in 20 people aren't crazy.

Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression
in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:23doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-23
Published: 9 March 2001

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March 1, 2011

Poisoned Into Deep Peace

by Kristina Amelong

I am in Mexico for nine days, giving myself more space to write and my daughter more space to learn Spanish. It is going well.

Yesterday, after my daughter’s Spanish lesson, I shared with her tutor, Genio, the work that I do as an author, health consultant, and colon cleanse guru. His shining black eyes lit up, even brighter than usual.

“My friend, who I sit with in the sauna one time each week at the Jardin de Botanica, suggested that I use the enema, about one each week, to bring myself to excellent health. He told me just last week. He tells me that he uses the enema, one a week, along with his sauna. He is very healthy, 65, the most energy-filled man I know," Genio said enthusiastically.

“That sounds like a great idea,” I said.

“Yes, I have not been feeling my best. Three years ago, a black widow spider bit me. I had worked a 16-hour day, doing political work. When I arrived home, I was very tired that I lie in my bed, on top of my covers, without taking any of my clothes off. In the night, I felt a pain in my leg, around my ankle. I thought that my clothes were bothering me, so I took them off and got under the covers. When I next awoke, it was very bright out. I was supposed to be back to work early at 7:30. I was worried that I was late. It seemed like the sun was too high in the sky. As I arose, I lifted the covers and looked down to my leg. I lie back down, thinking that I must be having a nightmare, as my leg around my ankle was the size of a melon. I then had a deep peace come over me. Yes, I was in a nightmare. I went back to sleep. I woke up two more times, looking at my leg, seeing the sun high in the sky, feeling a deep peace, knowing I was in a nightmare, going back to sleep. I was not worried,” he recounted.

“Wow. How long did this go on?” I asked.

“Three days. Finally my friend began to worry about my absence from work. He called me and he called me. He came to my house, but I did not answer. I heard none of this activity. He called my family in another town: they had not heard from me. He looked in the jails because at that time it wasn’t unusual for political activists to be put in jail for a day or two. He called my friends. Nothing. Finally, he and his friend broke into my apartment and found me lying asleep in my bed.”

I was all ears, bathing in the splendor of Genio's story.

“They took me to the hospital. The doctor told me that I was a very lucky man to still be alive. That I had not moved had kept the poison mostly in my leg. However, now I have problems with my stomach that I didn’t have before the spider bit me: each time I drink milk or eat cheese, I have an upset stomach. My friend told me that if I use the enema one time each week, I will return to excellent health.” Genio looked at me hopefully.

“That is an excellent idea,” I offered, considering that over time, we could also explore auto-immunity and his other options to improve his health.

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