Celiac/gluten intolerance: Is lack of vitamin C to blame?

Celiac/gluten intolerance: Is lack of vitamin C to blame?

Avoidance is one strategy to overcome gluten intolerance but defensive maneuvers may be more practical.

The current craze in natural medicine is gluten free. Medically the problem is called celiac disease and it involves the deterioration of the mucus barrier in the small bowel as a result of the innate immune system over-responding to an allergen.

However, celiac disease genetically involves only 1 to 2 percent of human populations. You couldn't sell all those gluten-free foods to such a small group. It's as if every unexplained health problem now is being blamed on gluten and grains. People are avoiding whole grains like Dracula avoided a ring of garlic.

Avoidance is one strategy to overcome gluten intolerance but defensive maneuvers may be more practical. Some doctors in Europe are on a different track to conquer this seemingly widespread but certainly growing problem. They explain that life-long avoidance of gluten is burdensome and probably not achievable given trace amounts in other foods via contamination.

These researchers point to an overlooked study published last year where researchers obtained biopsies from patients with celiac disease and added some ascorbate (vitamin C) to lab dishes containing gut tissue. The effects were dramatic. The various inflammatory markers (INF-a & y, TNF, IL-13, 16, 17) were abolished in the vitamin C-treated dishes!

What can we conclude from the evidence showing a shortage of vitamin C may reduce natural defenses against gluten? Dare we say the obvious? That the evidence presented here points to another conclusion: Mankind is suffering from yet another manifestation of scurvy.

For those with sensitive digestive tracts, the buffered mineral ascorbate forms of vitamin C may be better tolerated or even the fat-soluble ascorbyl palmitate form of vitamin C.

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