Turning a diagnosis of Celiac disease into more insight for treating skin conditions
I don’t want to sound like, poor me, but 2015 was a hard year, I have always suffered from acne and when my stress levels are high, so are my breakouts. Coming back to Ireland and opening Zest has been a very hard slog. Trying to gain attention in the market with long-standing bigger players has been anything but easy.
I put my constant breakouts into the I am stressed out basket, and regardless that will be one of the triggers. What I did not expect was to be diagnosed with Celiac disease. Returning home from Zest last year, I was in bits, the pain I was experiencing, I cannot say just how terrible it was. Doubled over and wondered what on earth was wrong with me, For several weeks, I had been trying to put on a brave face for my clients when in reality I could have just sat and cried in pain. There was little choice but to visit the doctor, quickly sent away for tests it came back that I had to have my gallbladder removed, and I had Celiac disease a double whammy of great news.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that often occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Celiac disease foundation
So off to Bon Secours hospital I went and had my gallbladder removed, I was told it was a particularly ‘dirty gallbladder’. Just to keep my happiness level at peak performance, the doctor also told me that I have acute Celiac disease and a significant food lifestyle change, will be needed.
Now I make no secret about it, that I like my food, training hard in the gym, having a balanced diet, so I can also enjoy my fair share of chocolate. The thought of losing the sweetness treats and I do like a good soda bread had me very much thinking how will I ever survive. I can tell you it is not easy having a strict gluten free diet, and one of the biggest issues is eating out. What is problematic is being gluten free is also reasonably trendy at the minute, so I find many establishments tell you fibs. I dare say soon enough I might write the Gluten free guide to eating out in Ireland.
I think many establishments do not take it seriously, and there is certainly a lack of education with staff. Being asked questions like is chicken gluten free and yes you can have the steak despite the gravy lashed on top is flour based. When you suffer from Celiac disease, it is not a choice, and the damage Celiac disease causes if left undiagnosed, can be potentially fatal.
Many people do not know that Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. When someone diagnosed as celiac eats gluten, their body instigates an immune response, this response attacks the small intestine. Lining the intestine wall are small finger-like protuberances called villi, these villi aid in the absorbing of proteins; when damage occurs nutrients are unable to be adequately absorbed, into the body.
Included in so many foods gluten is not just barley rye and wheat as so many commercial foods uses gluten based products as thickeners, emulsifiers and stabilisers. Everything from soy sauce, chocolate and pasta of course, to stock cubes contain gluten.
A great number of people go undiagnosed risking serious health complications as the symptoms of Celiac disease present as common nutrient deficiencies. By no means, a complete list but headaches, tremors, muscle conditions, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, obesity, alopecia, fingernail disease, brain atrophy, eczema, seborrhea, and a general lack of concentration, are all symptoms of nutrient deficiencies.
When a client comes in with skin conditions, I often look at the nutrient deficiencies the client may be suffering from; I now have a new worry that just maybe the client is presenting with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is hereditary; there is over a 1 in ten chance of a parent, child or sibling developing gluten intolerance. If you are suffering from symptoms from the above list and coupled with a skin condition, it could be wise to have a test.
Suffering from Celiac disease and not being diagnosed runs the risk of even more health impacts. Developing of multiple sclerosis (MS), Type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, miscarriages and infertility are all real dangers if left undiagnosed.
Celiac disease and skin conditions
Every year we are discovering more underlying causes of skin complaints such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. Gluten intolerance is providing yet more light into these conditions.
Hormonal imbalance a known leading underlying cause of acne, we discussed hormonal balance and sebum production in the formation of acne article. Celiac disease causes gluten to re-enter the bloodstream via cracks in the gut lining; this creates an immune response increasing inflammation as the body fights, what it sees as invaders of the body. Affecting hormonal balance and the inflammation, all act as a precursor to sebum production and acne. The hormonal levels being affected by our insulin caused by the immune response fighting the gluten invader. I have outlined before in the nutrient deficiencies article, that our bodies are a chemical factory and it takes little to upset the balance, throwing our entire system out of whack.
Nutrient deficiencies are a cause of dry skin, with gluten intolerance directly affecting the absorption of nutrients this also could provide some insight into people that suffer from chronic dry skin. People that have been supplementing a nutrient deficiency but still suffering from dry skin may be experiencing symptoms of Celiac disease.
Eczema and Rosacea, both these conditions have a great deal of more research needed. Rosacea, in particular, we still do not understand why people suffer; we do know that is is more prevalent within family groups. Leading to the logic that it is somewhat a hereditary condition the same as eczema being more common in type 1 family members. Recent research into eczema and celiac suffers found a 60% increase in the occurrence of people suffering from celiac disease. It also cited a 50% increase in type 1 family members, (parent, sibling, child) this forms a logical conclusion of a genetic link between eczema and celiac sufferers.
It is of my opinion when we have skin conditions that we are unable to find the cause; nutrient absorption disorders must play a fundamental role, in their formation. Natural Dermatology is gaining more notoriety every year; it stands to reason that getting to the root cause of skin disorders rather than treating the symptoms has to be a better way.
In conclusion, while I might feel slightly ripped off and wonder what I did to deserve this disease, it is giving me insight into more causes of skin conditions. Over the coming months, I will be writing a great deal more about the Celiac disease and very soon about gluten in beauty and body products. Yes, not only is gluten in food, but it is also included, in many skin care products, shampoos and all kinds of body products, not getting “gluten’ed”, is not as simple as a gluten free diet.
Allergy prevalence in adult celiac disease, J of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 113 6 1199–1203 Jun 2004
Antigliadin IgE — indicator of wheat allergy in atopic dermatitis Allergy 55 4 386–391 2000
Emma Ryall LinkedIn — Google Plus — Facebook Licensed Aesthetician, CIBTAC, ITEC and CIDESCO accredited professional therapist with over 14 years industry experience, specialising in skincare. Emma is also a master trainer City & Guilds — Accreditation No: 500/5753/4
Originally published at www.zest.ie on January 26, 2016.