Celiac Disease Foundation Conference and Expo 2014 Pt 2

You might have already read my awesome recap and wrap-up of some pretty powerful research at Celiac Disease Foundation Conference and Expo in Pasadena this past weekend. While I love the research presented by Dr. Fasano and Labcorp, let’s not forget the other topics presented! Here are two more summaries of the presentations at the Celiac Disease Foundation 2014 Conference.

Again, to note:  I’m paraphrasing from the presentations, but I’m going to get as technical as I can from my notes. Remember, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV – but these people are really smart (and are doctors too).

Is it necessary to have gluten free skin care?
Dr. Zone

Like I wrote in my previous piece for Living Without Gluten Free & More Magazine – I tend to use gluten-free make-up and bath products (ex. shampoo, lotion, soaps, etc.) Also, as I talked about, science tells you that you can’t absorb gluten through skin that is intact because of the size of the gluten molecule. Dr. Zone confirmed this, and also confirmed that you 100% need to use gluten-free lip products (as women reapply 2.4x a day according to Dr. Zone – you eat it “it doesn’t just disappear”).

You might be wondering, “But things can go through the skin like estrogen or nicotine patches? So why not gluten?” The answer is that things like this go through intercellular lipid pathway, but these products have to be lipid soluble  – and gluten is not. Imagine the skin like a wire fence – and gliadin is so big that can’t get through the chain link fence. THAT IS…UNLESS SKIN IS BROKEN – as something like a scratch, or disturbed barrier could allow gluten into the skin.

Dr. Zone honestly wondered how and why people have reactions with physical touch if that barrier isn’t broken- as the gluten molecule is too big to pass through (ex. is it another allergy reaction?). He also asked why people used gluten-free skincare. Several people held up their hands when he asked if people got reactions from using gluten-based skincare or beauty products (outside of those that you actually consume like lipstick). Quite honestly, he said that there isn’t enough research done on the topic. Dr. Zone said the best method in science is proof. In order to get proof for this kind of question, he would have to apply gluten to people with diagnosed celiac disease and see what kind of fraction had reactions. That kind of study has never been done before, and it would be a difficult study to execute.

Is gluten-free body products necessary on a gluten-free diet?

Finally, while we may think of Dermatitis Herpetiformis as the only skin condition associated with gluten, there are many. What he called “angry lyphocyes” can be the cause of a lot of issues on the skin with extra-intestinal manifestations. For example, apthous stomatitis (canker sores – hey, that’s me!!!!), only eczema, only hives, only alopecia areata, only psoriasis. He said that there was a lot of data that backed up these associated with skin conditions with gluten exposure.



Nutrition and Celiac Disease
Pamela Cureton RD, Center for Celiac Research

  • It’s important to receive follow-up care when starting a gluten-free diet with celiac disease. For pediatric patients, it’s important to monitor after 3 months of GF diet – to monitor and repeat serology on both pediatrics and adults. For adults, there is often a repeat endoscopy as a follow-up procedure.
  • The most common cause of celiac antibodies is gluten exposure, so it’s important to not just start restricting your diet before you follow-up to make sure that you’re not getting repeated gluten exposure from something.
  • Lactose intolerance is fairly common (30-60%) in newly diagnosed celiacs, and may be resolved in GF diet. Constipation can also be normal in a new gluten-free diet. However, there are other intolerances that can be tested after repeat gluten-exposure is ruled out. (ex. FODMAPs).
  • Unwanted weight gain often occurs (which is ironic since so many people are following a gluten-free “diet” for weight loss).
  • They’ve found that weight does change on gluten-free diet. In a study of 679 subjects, 15.8% increased from normal to overweight BMI and 22% that were overweight at their time of diagnosis increased their weight as well. Those who more closely subject followed the gluten-free diet were more likely they were to gain weight.
  • Weight gain shows the body is healthy, achieving better absorption and healing on a gluten-free diet. Also, patients are eating more because they’re feeling better – the food is no longer making them sick.
  • However, those on a gluten-free diet are eating more higher-calorie food items like packaged and processed foods. Historically, the calorie content of gluten-free food was higher in fat sugar and calories to make it taste better, but now more and more GF processed food is looking more like its wheat counterpart.
  • What can you do about the unwanted weight gain? Keep a food diary, keep pre-packaged food to a minimum, utilize smaller bowls and plates, keep treats out of sight, and read the nutrition facts.

Don't start eliminating other foods if you don't feel well on a gluten-free diet

Is the FODMAP diet right for you?

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