Avoiding Wheat and Gluten May Reverse
Liver Failure and Hepatitis
Copied from: http://www.mercola.com/2002/may/8/gluten.htm
The gluten-free diet prescribed for
the digestive disorder celiac disease may reverse liver failure in some patients
with both conditions.
And, the relatively high frequency
of undiagnosed celiac disease among people with serious liver conditions
suggests the disorder should be looked for in certain liver disease patients.
Celiac disease is a digestive
disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with the normal
absorption of nutrients from food. It arises from an allergic reaction to
gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt.
The problem often goes undetected
because many of its symptoms -- such as abdominal pain, fatigue and diarrhea --
are similar to a range of other disorders. And some patients have no symptoms.
Celiac disease is also associated
with other disorders caused by immune system dysfunction, including immune
system-related liver diseases like autoimmune hepatitis.
In their study of 185 patients who
had received liver transplants, researchers found that eight patients -- or just
over 4% -- had celiac disease. Two of these eight had not been diagnosed
previously, and in five patients, the liver disorder had developed when their
celiac disease was still undiagnosed. Only one had stuck to a long-term
gluten-free diet before the liver transplant.
Moreover, in another
four patients with advanced liver disease and untreated celiac disease, the
investigators found that a gluten-free diet reversed patients' liver
The two who have adhered to the
diet remain in good condition, the researchers report. One patient who did not
stick with the diet saw his liver disease progress and eventually had a liver
These findings suggest that in such
patients, dietary intervention may prevent progression to liver failure.
And, they point out, their finding
that about 4% of liver transplant patients had celiac disease -- usually
associated with autoimmune liver disorders -- indicates that celiac disease
should be "rigorously investigated" in all patients with autoimmune
hepatitis or hepatitis with no known cause.
In some cases, early detection and
treatment of celiac disease may prevent progression to end-stage liver failure.
Most of us seem to benefit by
avoiding wheat and the major protein that is in wheat, gluten.
Celiac disease has been
considered rare in this country, it often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as
irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance. As many as one in 33 have a
profound problem with gluten that results in celiac disease.
My experience is that the true
incidence is probably much higher still, perhaps on the order of 1 in 10 people.
One of the major problems with
celiac disease is that it maybe very difficult to diagnose. Probably the best
way to diagnose it is to go on a gluten free diet and see if your symptoms
If you have hepatitis, or any
type of liver disease, it would certainly seem reasonable to avoid gluten for a
few weeks and see what happens to your liver.
What have you got to lose? In
some cases, as this study shows, a liver transplant.
Not only is avoiding gluten
useful for many with celiac disease, but interferon, which is used to treat many
with hepatitis, can actually cause celiac
Disease and Indigestion
prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk groups of Children in the United
Sensitivity (Subclinical Gluten Intolerance) Linked To Repeated Miscarriages
Disease: Fertility and Pregnancy