Yes, We’re Aware of Crohn’s and Colitis … So What?

Over the weekend, I happened to catch this news segment while nursing my morning coffee. Take a look:

It’s nice that the Senate is encouraging more people to be “aware” of Crohn’s and colitis, but I was already aware of them. I used to suffer bouts of colitis as a teenager and young adult.

I wasn’t aware, however, that rates of Crohn’s and colitis are on the rise.  After viewing this segment, I did a little online searching and found some articles on the topic.  Here’s one:

Inflammatory bowel disease on the rise in kids

The reason more children being diagnosed with ‘adult’ disease is a mystery

For 10-year-old Jacob Krause, getting ready for the new school year wasn’t a simple matter of back-to-school shopping. It also involved working out logistics for getting to the bathroom as many as 20 times during a single school day.

The Clarksville Elementary School fifth-grader has severe ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that increasingly, and somewhat mysteriously, strikes children.

The number of children afflicted by colitis and another inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, has increased 50 percent in the past decade, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. About 1.5 million Americans suffer from colitis and Crohn’s, about 10 percent of them under the age of 18.

“We’re seeing younger and younger children getting it over time,” said Dr. Maria Oliva-Hemker, chief of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine’s division of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.

The reasons for the increase are not clear. But many researchers believe something in the environment must be behind the surge in pediatric colitis, Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases, which have been on the rise generally.

Hmmm … environmental causes … has anything in our environment changed significantly over the past 20 to 30 years?

One theory is that as the developed world has become more hygienic, the body has become less practiced at fighting off bugs — and more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks its own cells or tissues.

“Since we know [inflammatory bowel disease] is found in more developed countries, it must be something about the exposures that we are seeing in our day-to-day lives,” Oliva-Hemker said. “Probably the fact that we are a more hygienic society, the fact that children, even at an early age, are kept in very clean environments — not necessarily outside, playing in the dirt, being exposed to very low levels of routine viruses.”

Ahhh, yes, that must be it! Children are getting digestive disorders because we’re too darned clean. Thank goodness we just moved to a farm where my girls like to run around outside and return home dirty. Now if I can just talk Chareva out of insisting that the girls take a bath afterwards, they can avoid ruining their digestive systems through excess hygiene.

Here’s another article on the recent rise of intestinal disorders:

Baffling Rise of Intestinal Disorder in the Young

Crohn’s disease, a serious disorder of the intestines, appears to be increasing sharply among children, a trend that may reflect some unknown influence of Western industrial civilization, a British scientist said yesterday at a scientific symposium in Houston.

”It’s almost as if the infection-free environment of modern Western society could be a factor,” said Dr. John Walker-Smith of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, an expert on intestinal diseases of children.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Ferguson said that the excellent health records compiled through the National Health Service in Britain had allowed her to chart a dramatic and unexplained increase in Crohn’s disease among children in Scotland over 15 years.

Dr. Walker-Smith said it was possible that the decline of many childhood infections might allow children in the West to grow up without the vigorous development of their immune defense systems that such infections would ordinarily promote.

Dr. Walker-Smith admitted that this is speculation, but he noted that the increase in the disease among children was real and there was evidence indicating that something in the modern Western environment or experience might be involved.

Once again, the possible explanation offered is that our kids are so clean and so free of infections, they’re no longer developing immunities early in life to whatever mysterious bugs cause Crohn’s and colitis.

Interesting hypothesis. Although I have to wonder: since Crohn’s and colitis are still rising in developed countries — where hygiene has been good and rates of childhood infections have low for many decades now –- doesn’t it seem likely that these digestive-tract diseases are caused by something kids in developed countries regularly digest … such as mutant wheat?

In Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis cites a study which showed that rates of celiac are four times higher now than 50 years ago. (That’s actual prevalence of the disease –- not diagnosis.) We also know that people who suffer from celiac are also more likely to suffer from other digestive ailments such as Crohn’s and colitis.  So we can reasonably speculate (but not conclude) that whatever causes celiac also causes or aggravates these other digestive issues.

Considering that kids are eating wheat products that contain both more gluten overall and mutant gluten with a protein sequence that never existed until around 40 years ago, I think it’s entirely possible that Crohn’s and colitis are on the rise because kids (and adults) are consuming glutens their bodies can’t handle.  These are, after all, auto-immune diseases.  It’s not unreasonable to suspect that when these strange glutens seep in our systems, our bodies attack them and end up attacking our own tissues at the same time.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard from quite a few people whose digestive ailments went away when they stopped eating grains – including the sound engineer for Fat Head, who told me watching the film changed his life.  He no longer needs a daily dose of Prilosec to get through the day.

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to always keep a bottle of Pepto-Bismal in my medicine cabinet and carried the tablet version whenever I traveled. Now I haven’t had a dose of the stuff in years — not since cutting way back on grains.

In the newsclip, Dr. Marion mentioned that new molecules and new medications are being developed to treat Crohn’s and colitis. Fine, but treating a disease isn’t the same as avoiding it in the first place.  It would be nice if some of the research dollars chasing new medications were directed towards determining if the mutant grain we now call “wheat” is behind the rise in digestive diseases.

But I don’t expect that happen, not in a country where grains are big business and the federal government subsidizes wheat farmers. Look at what happened when school-lunch guidelines called for fewer fried potatoes.  Politicians from potato-growing states rushed in and demanded changes in the guidelines.

The Senate may want us to all be aware of Crohn’s and colitis, but I seriously doubt farm-state senators will want us to also be aware that modern wheat may be causing them. We’ll have to spread that message ourselves.


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114 thoughts on “Yes, We’re Aware of Crohn’s and Colitis … So What?

  1. Alison

    Hi Tom,

    Can you fix the typos in the title (and body) of your post? It’s “Crohn’s” and “colitis.”

    Yeah, I’m nitpicky, but I find that errors really detract from the message. “He can’t even spell ‘Crohn’s’, so why should I believe anything he says?” See what I mean?

    Fixed. That’s what happens when I write a post after what should have been bedtime.

  2. Lori

    Digestive problems were the reason I started a low-carb diet. As a result, I’ve been off acid blockers going on two years now, and I can’t remember the last time I took Pepto. My dog now eats a diet of meat, eggs and vegetables, she has good breath, and doesn’t throw up anymore. But she still doesn’t smell good when she gets wet.

    Now I have to ask Chareva if I smell bed when I get wet.

  3. Ginger

    Since the mainstream believes that grains are a normal, natural part of the human diet, they see no reason to blame them for anything. And most people don’t believe that they’re eating GM wheat or any other GM. We also know GM soy and corn is present in most processed foods, too. The idea, of course, isn’t to cure this stuff anyway. Its to encourage people to eat those “healthy” whole grains to avoid cancer, and if you have one of these digestive problems, no sweat…………. they got pills, pills and more pills all full of nice little side effects that you’ll have to take more pills for! Now THAT’s how you get rich and stay that way. Who’s going to tell the masses eating grain free will cure anything?

    PS: I got rid of ALL my digestive issues when I went grain free. Haven’t had a single day of any of that old stuff going on in several years now! Amazing! I don’t even take apple cider vinegar for heartburn anymore. Haven’t had anything like it in years.

    One of the many reasons I’d go grain-free even if doing so didn’t help keep my weight down.

  4. Underground

    Yep, you can sell a treatment. You can’t sell an easily preventable cause.

    Still dancing merrily about the bush.

  5. Gilana

    I was about 2 weeks into my grain-free diet when I missed a dose of Prilosec and realized I felt OK. I experimented. I tapered off with whatever I had left in the package, and didn’t buy another box. Now, if I go “off the wagon” and eat bread (or other wheat stuff like pasta) I feel uncomfortable, but the heartburn/indigestion is nowhere near what it was before I changed my habits. More often than not, I don’t do anything to “treat” it, but if I do anything, I just chew a Tums and it’s over. I think I don’t feel as terrible if I stumble with my eating because off of wheat my body has taken some major turns toward healing. I am sure if I were to go back to the old methods and eat like I used to, my constant burning chest and belly pain would come back. I am pretty sure wheat has always been the worst offender for me, but I’m suspicious of all grains in that regard. I just overall feel better without them.

    If chronic exposure to mutant wheat creates a leaky gut, it’s possible that a healed gut can handle a dose now and then. But I’ve also had my arthritis pains return after one meal containing wheat.

  6. Nola

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s 14 years ago (age 40) and would get a bad flare up every 10 – 12 months but 6 years ago I went no grains/low carb and have not had a flare up since (as well as losing weight). I have also had IBS for 30 years and it is much better when I eat only plain addititive/chemical free food. Lots of meat, butter, eggs, veges. No bread, pasta, potatoes, rice. My cholesterol and blood pressure are great. Weight 135lb. But my friends, many of whom are diabetic, over-weight and very unhealthy still look on my diet as ‘weird’. Last laugh………

    That’s what’s so amazing about how the so-called experts view a low-carb diet: sure, it’ll raise your HDL, lower your triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, reduce or eliminate a whole host of chronic ailments … but in the end, it’ll kill you.

  7. Wolverine

    I ultimately lost all of my intestines, which began as ulcerative colitis. I can tell you that wheat is a major contributer. It’s not just gluten, but the high amount of bran fiber, which are extremely abrasive on the intestinal lining and mucosa.

    The sad part is that doctors still recommend Crohn’s and UC patient adopt a high fiber diet. IBD sufferers (including myself), all claim that high fiber diets, especially wheat, make the conditions worse. Yet the government and doctors continue to push wheat bran as a treatment.

    Not surprising. They still prescribe a diet that jacks up triglycerides for heart-disease patients.

  8. Chuck Currie

    Wheat may be a precursor. But, I believe the over prescribing of antibiotics that destroy gut flora and antimicrobial cleaners that restrict the ingestion of new flora is one of the causes of digestive disorders in children (and a lot adults). My kids downed amoxicillian like it was kool-aide. They both have suffered digestive disorders. We didn’t know any better.

    We should have been giving them probiotics and fermented foods to restore their gut flora.

    I think that’s a factor as well. The last time I had an attack of colitis (misdiagnosed initially as diverticulitis), it was after being on antibiotics following surgery.

  9. Alison

    Hi Tom,

    Can you fix the typos in the title (and body) of your post? It’s “Crohn’s” and “colitis.”

    Yeah, I’m nitpicky, but I find that errors really detract from the message. “He can’t even spell ‘Crohn’s’, so why should I believe anything he says?” See what I mean?

    Fixed. That’s what happens when I write a post after what should have been bedtime.

  10. Lori

    Digestive problems were the reason I started a low-carb diet. As a result, I’ve been off acid blockers going on two years now, and I can’t remember the last time I took Pepto. My dog now eats a diet of meat, eggs and vegetables, she has good breath, and doesn’t throw up anymore. But she still doesn’t smell good when she gets wet.

    Now I have to ask Chareva if I smell bed when I get wet.

  11. Ginger

    Since the mainstream believes that grains are a normal, natural part of the human diet, they see no reason to blame them for anything. And most people don’t believe that they’re eating GM wheat or any other GM. We also know GM soy and corn is present in most processed foods, too. The idea, of course, isn’t to cure this stuff anyway. Its to encourage people to eat those “healthy” whole grains to avoid cancer, and if you have one of these digestive problems, no sweat…………. they got pills, pills and more pills all full of nice little side effects that you’ll have to take more pills for! Now THAT’s how you get rich and stay that way. Who’s going to tell the masses eating grain free will cure anything?

    PS: I got rid of ALL my digestive issues when I went grain free. Haven’t had a single day of any of that old stuff going on in several years now! Amazing! I don’t even take apple cider vinegar for heartburn anymore. Haven’t had anything like it in years.

    One of the many reasons I’d go grain-free even if doing so didn’t help keep my weight down.

  12. Joe Wrigley

    s/chrons/Crohn’s/g

    Sorry, but that bugged me a little

    It bugs me that I spelled it incorrectly. Fixed now.

  13. Underground

    Yep, you can sell a treatment. You can’t sell an easily preventable cause.

    Still dancing merrily about the bush.

  14. Gilana

    I was about 2 weeks into my grain-free diet when I missed a dose of Prilosec and realized I felt OK. I experimented. I tapered off with whatever I had left in the package, and didn’t buy another box. Now, if I go “off the wagon” and eat bread (or other wheat stuff like pasta) I feel uncomfortable, but the heartburn/indigestion is nowhere near what it was before I changed my habits. More often than not, I don’t do anything to “treat” it, but if I do anything, I just chew a Tums and it’s over. I think I don’t feel as terrible if I stumble with my eating because off of wheat my body has taken some major turns toward healing. I am sure if I were to go back to the old methods and eat like I used to, my constant burning chest and belly pain would come back. I am pretty sure wheat has always been the worst offender for me, but I’m suspicious of all grains in that regard. I just overall feel better without them.

    If chronic exposure to mutant wheat creates a leaky gut, it’s possible that a healed gut can handle a dose now and then. But I’ve also had my arthritis pains return after one meal containing wheat.

  15. Nowhereman

    Although marginally related, I have to relate an interesting thing that happened to a friend of mine this past weekend.

    It was a Saturday, all of my friends and I get together for dinner, movies, etc. Well, one of them pulled some pizza out of the fridge to chow down on, which he did. Now he’s somewhat older than I am, in his 50s. Anyway, shortly after eating the pizza slices, he suddenly cried out in pain and began grasping at his right hand’s thumb as though stung by a bee or stuck by a needle, rubbing and nursing the joints. He claimed he couldn’t understand why he was in such pain out of the blue, but I pointed out to him that he was having a very arthritic-like reaction. He got pretty upset at that and he realized that the hint was he was suffering a reaction due to his pizza consumption, so he shied away from further conversation about his pain.

    Although there is no direct proof of it, I’d be willing to bet there’s a reasonable chance that it was an autoimmune reaction by his body that was caused by the wheat he ate in the pizza.

    Could be.

  16. Nola

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s 14 years ago (age 40) and would get a bad flare up every 10 – 12 months but 6 years ago I went no grains/low carb and have not had a flare up since (as well as losing weight). I have also had IBS for 30 years and it is much better when I eat only plain addititive/chemical free food. Lots of meat, butter, eggs, veges. No bread, pasta, potatoes, rice. My cholesterol and blood pressure are great. Weight 135lb. But my friends, many of whom are diabetic, over-weight and very unhealthy still look on my diet as ‘weird’. Last laugh………

    That’s what’s so amazing about how the so-called experts view a low-carb diet: sure, it’ll raise your HDL, lower your triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, reduce or eliminate a whole host of chronic ailments … but in the end, it’ll kill you.

  17. Wolverine

    I ultimately lost all of my intestines, which began as ulcerative colitis. I can tell you that wheat is a major contributer. It’s not just gluten, but the high amount of bran fiber, which are extremely abrasive on the intestinal lining and mucosa.

    The sad part is that doctors still recommend Crohn’s and UC patient adopt a high fiber diet. IBD sufferers (including myself), all claim that high fiber diets, especially wheat, make the conditions worse. Yet the government and doctors continue to push wheat bran as a treatment.

    Not surprising. They still prescribe a diet that jacks up triglycerides for heart-disease patients.

  18. Chuck Currie

    Wheat may be a precursor. But, I believe the over prescribing of antibiotics that destroy gut flora and antimicrobial cleaners that restrict the ingestion of new flora is one of the causes of digestive disorders in children (and a lot adults). My kids downed amoxicillian like it was kool-aide. They both have suffered digestive disorders. We didn’t know any better.

    We should have been giving them probiotics and fermented foods to restore their gut flora.

    I think that’s a factor as well. The last time I had an attack of colitis (misdiagnosed initially as diverticulitis), it was after being on antibiotics following surgery.

  19. Marilyn

    The “too clean” theory probably wasn’t the case for one Crohn’s sufferer I know of, whose symptoms started after a bout of dysentery picked up somewhere in Asia. Grain is probably a contributor, as is the general fixation with “getting your fiber.” Fresh fruit — especially under ripe fruit! — and some vegetables can also be problematic. And certainly, I’d think the first thing anyone with a belly ache would want get rid of would be soft drinks.

    Perhaps if we eat dirty mutant wheat, all will be well.

  20. John

    I agree that all these “awareness” months are somewhat silly. I, too, was already aware of Crohn’s and Colitis. Was that really all they want? For us to be aware of these diseases? If they had called it “Grains Cause Digestive Problems Awareness Month,” a lot more people would be helped by hearing the message.

    Dr. Davis instantly sprang to my mind while watching the newsclip. Wolfgang Lutz also detailed the improvments of his Crohn’s and Colitis patients when they went on a low carb diet in his book “Life Without Bread.”

    I do think the contant use of disinfectant products (like Purell Gel and Clorox Wipes) and anti-bacterial soaps are causing us health problems. But I think it’s from harsh industrial chemicals damaging our skin, killing off good bacteria that we rely on, and helping to create super strains of bad bacteria. I certainly wouldn’t call that being “too hygenic.” Chemical irritation or poisoning sounds more accurate to me.

    Still, removing grains would have a far more positive impact on Crohn’s and Colitis sufferers than getting them to stop using the Purell.

    “Awareness” months probably make politicians feel good about themselves more than they help anyone.

  21. Joe Wrigley

    s/chrons/Crohn’s/g

    Sorry, but that bugged me a little

    It bugs me that I spelled it incorrectly. Fixed now.

  22. Rebecca

    *THUMBS UP* for watching Fox News hehe.

    I think it is crazy they are trying to blame this on being too clean! What do they suggest we don’t take baths? Roll around in the mud? Or maybe go back to how life was say in the 1500’s.

    I never had either of those issues but I know once I switched to Paleo all my stomach cramps, bloat and heartburn vanished! Now I know precisely what causes it unlike before I thought that was just normal to be sick/bloated all the time. Thank God for the Paleo movement 🙂 had it not been for all you outspoken people I would still be 16lbs over weight, sick and tired. Future looks bright!

    I didn’t become any cleaner when I gave up grains, but my digestive ailments sure went away quickly.

  23. Charles-Andre Fortin

    Hi Tom,

    As someone who suffer Crohn, I cannot stand by and say nothing.;) First It’s true that my crohn got better since I begin the LCHF and even better since I stop eating wheat product.

    But in my case It’s hard to say because I start a new medication at the same time call Inflamex (REMICAD) that cost about 6000$ a dose :S every 2 months … Very effective treatment, but that mess-up your immune response a bit (thank god in the province Quebec medication insurance is mandatory). But since I start LCHF, I don’t get a lot of cold like before so it’s alright. But it’s really hard for kid, you get sick all the time, you’ve got to take 10 pills a day (some that kill you’re immune response), most of people can’t take inflamex it’s cost to much… And well, even with medication, you don’t feel energize. So you have to take B12 shot to compensate because you do not metabolize correctly B12 anymore… It’s not really fun to have.

    I better now. I don’t really need B12 shoot anymore. I’m now close to 60lbs loss. And soon when I’m under 200lbs (only 6 more lbs to go) we’ll lower my dosage of inflamex. And if all go right I’ll ask my doctor to try to stop the medication.

    Thanks again because you open my eyes about a lot of thing about nutrition;)

    Here’s three articles that Dr. Su share with me about Carbs restriction and Crohn :

    Lorenz-Meyer H, et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids and low carbohydrate diet for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease. A randomized controlled multicenter trial. Study Group Members (German Crohn’s Disease Study Group).” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Volume 31, Number 9, Pages 778-85. August 1996.

    Leiper K, et al. “A randomised controlled trial of high versus low long chain triglyceride whole protein feed in active Crohn’s disease.” Gut. Volume 49, Number 6, Pages 790–794. December 2001.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1728544

    RITCHIE JK, et al. “Controlled multicentre therapeutic trial of an unrefined carbohydrate, fibre rich diet in Crohn’s disease.” BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL. Volume 295, Number 29, Pages 517-520. August 29, 1987.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1247426

    As with most ailments, some people really and truly need the drugs. But we should look to diet first.

  24. AndreaLynnette

    My husband has a lot of intestinal issues, and I recently got him to go low-carb and he’s reduced (but not eliminated) his wheat consumption. I can always tell when he’s had grain, though, because of the amount of time he spends in the lavatory, and whether or not air freshener has to be sprayed afterwards. Bad breath and body odor are also definitely more intense on a bad diet. I hope that’s not too gross, but I have noticed a strong correlation between wheat consumption and bad smells.

    Interestingly, though, my Plain friends who don’t eat processed food and make their bread from speltz don’t seem to have that problem. I think because spelt hasn’t been known or used by most people, so there’s been no market for a GMO version.

    I think the mutant grains are probably far worse.

  25. Nowhereman

    Although marginally related, I have to relate an interesting thing that happened to a friend of mine this past weekend.

    It was a Saturday, all of my friends and I get together for dinner, movies, etc. Well, one of them pulled some pizza out of the fridge to chow down on, which he did. Now he’s somewhat older than I am, in his 50s. Anyway, shortly after eating the pizza slices, he suddenly cried out in pain and began grasping at his right hand’s thumb as though stung by a bee or stuck by a needle, rubbing and nursing the joints. He claimed he couldn’t understand why he was in such pain out of the blue, but I pointed out to him that he was having a very arthritic-like reaction. He got pretty upset at that and he realized that the hint was he was suffering a reaction due to his pizza consumption, so he shied away from further conversation about his pain.

    Although there is no direct proof of it, I’d be willing to bet there’s a reasonable chance that it was an autoimmune reaction by his body that was caused by the wheat he ate in the pizza.

    Could be.

  26. Mary D

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a number of years ago after suffering for quite some time with body aches, mysterious pain that moved for no apparent reason, IBS, tinnitus, swollen glands and exhaustion. After a couple of years of various medications, I went back to a low-carb eating regimen that included no grains, potatoes, or rice. I noticed almost immediate improvement in the IBS symptoms, followed by a steady improvement in my health and stamina.

    I am now med-free for nearly three years, my blood sugar levels have stabilized, my blood pressure good (118/64 last Friday), and I have plenty of energy & sleep well. I think the biggest change is the lack of wheat in my diet – I certainly attribute that factor to my now overall good health and very few fibro symptoms.

    I wonder why so few people see the correlation between ingestion of mutant wheat and all the health problems we seem to have in this country?

    Because some very powerful interests would prefer we never connect the dots.

  27. Charles-Andre Fortin

    Wolverine : My Doctor never recommend me a High Fiber Diet. Especially when I’m on the worst of my illness. It’s a no fiber one actually…

    I was even amaze by her reaction when I tell her that I was going LCHF… She just said : “Has long as you’re replacing the cal from the carbohydrate with something else…”

  28. LCNana

    Yesterday at the hairdressers we got to talking about diet etc. The hairdresser mentioned that as Italians she and her family eat a ton of pasta – then she said “and my hubby’s a diabetic.” When I suggested pasta was not the kind of food he should be eating she said: “oh, he’d rather die than give up pasta.” So, Tom, when people know what they should do for better health, and less pain, and don’t do it it seems they are pretty happy to accept the consequences.

    But the thought that so many poor kids are suffering because the truth about eating, diet, and all the science that goes with it is being denied by EVERYONE, parents, schools, and the good old government, makes me very very angry.

    If he’d rather die than give up pasta, that’s his choice. Like you, I worry more about those who think they’re eating foods (pasta, grains) that are good for them.

  29. Rocky

    Raising awareness is shorthand for “making sure that everyone who profits from this disease is always funded.”

  30. Lynnanne

    One of the reasons that “they” think staying away from dirt causes bowel disease are the studies that show IBS remission when the sufferers are deliberately given intestinal parasites. The theory is that the worms are “retraining” the body as to what is an actual parasite so the immune system will have an “Aha” moment and realize it was erroneously attacking the body. While that may be true, if eating wheat didn’t start the process off by provoking the immune system, the problem may never have occurred in the first place. Articles also mention that the worms survive in the intestinal tract because they secrete anti-inflammatories, which may mean that they’re effectively delivering doses of worm medication to the inflamed intestines and their value has nothing to do with retraining the immune system at all.

    I just know I never got on a plane or took a long car trip without taking a couple does of imodium first, and I knew where every restroom was in every building I frequented. I was actually eyeballing the worm option. Then I stopped eating wheat and my IBS went away.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4852-diet-of-worms-can-cure-bowel-disease.html

    Interesting angle, but I don’t believe kids today are cleaner than kids 20 years ago.

  31. Mike P

    About once every two-three weeks my 4-1/2 yr old will complain that his stomach hurts when we are at the dinner table. When this first occurred, my wife and I thought that maybe he was coming down with something. We quickly realized that since going Primal, no one in our house [myself, my wife, 4-1/2 yr old, 22month old] have been sick. He also wasn’t showing any other symptoms. The next obvious question [which should have been the first]: what did you have for snack at pre-school?

    When his stomach hurts, 90% of the time it’s a wheat-something-or-other. The other 10% of the time are sugar-something-or-others.

    Usually the pre-school’s snacks are pretty good by our standards, but every now and then they slip up which means a stomach ache for my son. As a result, my wife and I don’t really have to worry about my son going grain-crazy – his school is doing a great job teaching him to be Primal without even knowing their doing it! The next step is teaching him that he won’t go hungry if he passes on a ‘bad’ snack.

    Keep up the good work Tom!

    He sounds like me as a kid. Glad you found the link early.

  32. Dave, RN

    Uh oh, here we go. Whenever they start the “awareness” stuff, that’s really code for “start the fundraisers”.

    Maybe some brown ribbons and some “Runs” for Crohn’s?

    Don’t put “runs” and “Crohn’s” in the same sentence.

  33. gollum

    Well, I wrote a rant about how they don’t know much about the disease, namely about the actual causes, but got a fancy label for it and are experts and have more drugs for you. But we all know that and it is not very helpful.

    That said, the problem with the wheat theory is that wheat is not exclusive to the developed world. Although many peoples prefer rice and sorghum, the frankenfood shows up often enough, I’d suppose (and why would farmers grow old wheat when the new one is so much better?)

    However, the following factors are not ubiquitous outside the First World

    – Celtic genes linked to autism, stubbornness, celiac and similar
    – Medical infrastructure to yield shrink-y diagnosis like Crohn or CFS. I suppose dying by belly cramps in Africa is just another “AIDS” or poverty case
    – common antibiotics. There are rumors that celiac may come about as a cross-reaction to Candida

    It would be interesting to see how much mutant wheat they eat in the non-developed countries compared to here.

  34. Monica

    It took me over ten years to be diagnosed with celiac disease. I didn’t fit the clinical picture. Instead of being emaciated, I had a big, giant wheat belly. After I was diagnosed, I insisted my kids be tested. The child I suspected most likely had it was one point under the diagnostic number. She stopped eating gluten that day, despite my pediatrician’s dire warnings. All the symptoms she had resolved within a month. My recovery took much longer and I still had a positive biopsy a year after living in a gluten free household. I don’t believe my digestive system would have ever healed completely on a standard gluten-free diet. It wasn’t until I began avoiding even gluten-free grains not so long ago that I began to see real healing of my chronic, painful gastritis. I am working on the other leftovers of untreated celiac–peripheral neuropathy and anemia being the most resistant. I am hopeful that continued avoidance of grains and sugars will put an end to the inflammation that took so much from me. It’s working so far!

    I wish you a full recovery.

  35. Marilyn

    The “too clean” theory probably wasn’t the case for one Crohn’s sufferer I know of, whose symptoms started after a bout of dysentery picked up somewhere in Asia. Grain is probably a contributor, as is the general fixation with “getting your fiber.” Fresh fruit — especially under ripe fruit! — and some vegetables can also be problematic. And certainly, I’d think the first thing anyone with a belly ache would want get rid of would be soft drinks.

    Perhaps if we eat dirty mutant wheat, all will be well.

  36. John

    I agree that all these “awareness” months are somewhat silly. I, too, was already aware of Crohn’s and Colitis. Was that really all they want? For us to be aware of these diseases? If they had called it “Grains Cause Digestive Problems Awareness Month,” a lot more people would be helped by hearing the message.

    Dr. Davis instantly sprang to my mind while watching the newsclip. Wolfgang Lutz also detailed the improvments of his Crohn’s and Colitis patients when they went on a low carb diet in his book “Life Without Bread.”

    I do think the contant use of disinfectant products (like Purell Gel and Clorox Wipes) and anti-bacterial soaps are causing us health problems. But I think it’s from harsh industrial chemicals damaging our skin, killing off good bacteria that we rely on, and helping to create super strains of bad bacteria. I certainly wouldn’t call that being “too hygenic.” Chemical irritation or poisoning sounds more accurate to me.

    Still, removing grains would have a far more positive impact on Crohn’s and Colitis sufferers than getting them to stop using the Purell.

    “Awareness” months probably make politicians feel good about themselves more than they help anyone.

  37. deMuralist

    I have UC, diagnosed during my second pregnancy, which came pretty quickly after the first. I can’t say that quitting grains stopped my symptoms, as they stopped about 3 years after my delivery, when I was a vegetarian. What I can tell you is that being off of grains, while still getting the recommended amount of fiber (25 to 30g daily) from my veggies has kept the symptoms at bay with no hint of intestinal issues since I adopted this way of eating.

    Just for clarification, IBS is different from IBD, and colitis, is different from Ulcerative Colitis. I have no doubt that IBS and colitis are likely caused by wheat/grain consumption. I seriously believe that IBD and UC are much more complicated than that. They eat grains (and more of them, as a % of their calories, I believe) in non-developed countries. It seems to me if we are to find a cure, we need to focus on those things that are different between the developed and non-developed countries. Not sure what that will be, but obviously I sincerely hope a cure is found.

    I suspect (without looking it up) that they don’t eat as much mutant wheat in non-developed countries.

  38. K

    Yup. My IBS is just about cured since I went on the Specific Carb Diet. No grains, no sugars.
    http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/legal_illegal_a-c.htm
    The best part is that going out to eat isn’t like rolling blindly through a mine field anymore. I know exactly what I can and can’t eat and it’s fabulous! I just came back from a steak with onions and mushrooms with grilled vegetables and a side salad. Not a vibration from my intestines. It’s all quiet and happy!

    I used to get these major bellyaches now and then, and of course I just figured they came and went for no apparent reason. Now I never get them anymore.

  39. Firebird

    I get agitated with all this “awareness” stuff. Ribbons, buttons, etc. I’m aware of Chrohn’s Disease, cancer, autism, diabetes, etc. Forgive me for sounding harsh, but these are all marketing schemes that do little, if anything to find a cure for any of it. Penn & Teller’s “BS” on Showtime several years ago pointed this out. They even brought in a cancer survivor who gave evidence that supported what they were saying was true. Most of it goes to salaries, overhead, etc. but very little money actually goes to research and finding a cure. So, the next time they ask me for a contribution, I plan to give them a link to Amazon.com and tell them to purchase “Wheat Belly”, for starters.

    Wheat Belly would instill some true awareness.

  40. Rebecca

    *THUMBS UP* for watching Fox News hehe.

    I think it is crazy they are trying to blame this on being too clean! What do they suggest we don’t take baths? Roll around in the mud? Or maybe go back to how life was say in the 1500’s.

    I never had either of those issues but I know once I switched to Paleo all my stomach cramps, bloat and heartburn vanished! Now I know precisely what causes it unlike before I thought that was just normal to be sick/bloated all the time. Thank God for the Paleo movement 🙂 had it not been for all you outspoken people I would still be 16lbs over weight, sick and tired. Future looks bright!

    I didn’t become any cleaner when I gave up grains, but my digestive ailments sure went away quickly.

  41. Charles-Andre Fortin

    Hi Tom,

    As someone who suffer Crohn, I cannot stand by and say nothing.;) First It’s true that my crohn got better since I begin the LCHF and even better since I stop eating wheat product.

    But in my case It’s hard to say because I start a new medication at the same time call Inflamex (REMICAD) that cost about 6000$ a dose :S every 2 months … Very effective treatment, but that mess-up your immune response a bit (thank god in the province Quebec medication insurance is mandatory). But since I start LCHF, I don’t get a lot of cold like before so it’s alright. But it’s really hard for kid, you get sick all the time, you’ve got to take 10 pills a day (some that kill you’re immune response), most of people can’t take inflamex it’s cost to much… And well, even with medication, you don’t feel energize. So you have to take B12 shot to compensate because you do not metabolize correctly B12 anymore… It’s not really fun to have.

    I better now. I don’t really need B12 shoot anymore. I’m now close to 60lbs loss. And soon when I’m under 200lbs (only 6 more lbs to go) we’ll lower my dosage of inflamex. And if all go right I’ll ask my doctor to try to stop the medication.

    Thanks again because you open my eyes about a lot of thing about nutrition;)

    Here’s three articles that Dr. Su share with me about Carbs restriction and Crohn :

    Lorenz-Meyer H, et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids and low carbohydrate diet for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease. A randomized controlled multicenter trial. Study Group Members (German Crohn’s Disease Study Group).” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Volume 31, Number 9, Pages 778-85. August 1996.

    Leiper K, et al. “A randomised controlled trial of high versus low long chain triglyceride whole protein feed in active Crohn’s disease.” Gut. Volume 49, Number 6, Pages 790–794. December 2001.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1728544

    RITCHIE JK, et al. “Controlled multicentre therapeutic trial of an unrefined carbohydrate, fibre rich diet in Crohn’s disease.” BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL. Volume 295, Number 29, Pages 517-520. August 29, 1987.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1247426

    As with most ailments, some people really and truly need the drugs. But we should look to diet first.

  42. AndreaLynnette

    My husband has a lot of intestinal issues, and I recently got him to go low-carb and he’s reduced (but not eliminated) his wheat consumption. I can always tell when he’s had grain, though, because of the amount of time he spends in the lavatory, and whether or not air freshener has to be sprayed afterwards. Bad breath and body odor are also definitely more intense on a bad diet. I hope that’s not too gross, but I have noticed a strong correlation between wheat consumption and bad smells.

    Interestingly, though, my Plain friends who don’t eat processed food and make their bread from speltz don’t seem to have that problem. I think because spelt hasn’t been known or used by most people, so there’s been no market for a GMO version.

    I think the mutant grains are probably far worse.

  43. Mary D

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a number of years ago after suffering for quite some time with body aches, mysterious pain that moved for no apparent reason, IBS, tinnitus, swollen glands and exhaustion. After a couple of years of various medications, I went back to a low-carb eating regimen that included no grains, potatoes, or rice. I noticed almost immediate improvement in the IBS symptoms, followed by a steady improvement in my health and stamina.

    I am now med-free for nearly three years, my blood sugar levels have stabilized, my blood pressure good (118/64 last Friday), and I have plenty of energy & sleep well. I think the biggest change is the lack of wheat in my diet – I certainly attribute that factor to my now overall good health and very few fibro symptoms.

    I wonder why so few people see the correlation between ingestion of mutant wheat and all the health problems we seem to have in this country?

    Because some very powerful interests would prefer we never connect the dots.

  44. Tracee

    Unfortunatly, when they say “too clean” they are right, but at the same time, they are still too dim witted to get it. Antibiotics are making our guts “too clean”. The antibiotics wipe out our protective gut flora. Our guts then have no protection from the pile of grains they tell us to eat. The two go hand in hand. This is not only behind IBD, but almost any other gut ailment, and most autism, adhd, depression, autoimmunity, etc. Almost anyone with these ailments will have a history of antibiotic use as well as wheat issues. Wheat and anitbiotics should both come with warning labels.

    That’s why I’ve stopped taking antibiotics for anything less than a severe infection.

  45. SmoledMan

    What about taking probiotics to balance things out? Also I know that not all probiotics are created equal, which are the best brands?

    Probiotics may help if your gut bacteria aren’t adequate, but I don’t believe they’ll cure the damage done by glutens.

  46. Charles-Andre Fortin

    Wolverine : My Doctor never recommend me a High Fiber Diet. Especially when I’m on the worst of my illness. It’s a no fiber one actually…

    I was even amaze by her reaction when I tell her that I was going LCHF… She just said : “Has long as you’re replacing the cal from the carbohydrate with something else…”

  47. LCNana

    Yesterday at the hairdressers we got to talking about diet etc. The hairdresser mentioned that as Italians she and her family eat a ton of pasta – then she said “and my hubby’s a diabetic.” When I suggested pasta was not the kind of food he should be eating she said: “oh, he’d rather die than give up pasta.” So, Tom, when people know what they should do for better health, and less pain, and don’t do it it seems they are pretty happy to accept the consequences.

    But the thought that so many poor kids are suffering because the truth about eating, diet, and all the science that goes with it is being denied by EVERYONE, parents, schools, and the good old government, makes me very very angry.

    If he’d rather die than give up pasta, that’s his choice. Like you, I worry more about those who think they’re eating foods (pasta, grains) that are good for them.

  48. Rocky

    Raising awareness is shorthand for “making sure that everyone who profits from this disease is always funded.”

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