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Gluten allergy linked to earlier menopause
 
In people with celiac disease - about one percent of Americans - the immune system reacts to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eating foods with gluten damages the small intestine and keeps it from absorbing nutrients.
 
Women with untreated celiac disease may hit menopause earlier, and have a higher risk of some pregnancy complications, than women without the disease, suggests a study.
 
However, if women with celiac disease are diagnosed early, and follow a strict diet as treatment, the findings suggest they won't go through menopause any earlier than disease-free women.
 
"It's very interesting that when this disease is diagnosed early and corrected by a gluten-free diet, you find that these people improved significantly and their reproductive function improved significantly," said Dr. Shawky Badawy. Nutrient deficiencies, plus lower levels of some key hormones in women with celiac disease, may be the reason for the earlier menopause they observed.
 
"When people have celiac disease, they have really chronic diarrhea, for example," Badawy said. "With this, they lose much of the necessary amino acids, vitamins, (and) minerals, and all these certainly have their importance in the function of the vital endocrine organs."
 
On average women without the disease and those who had followed a gluten-free diet hit menopause around age 50, according to the findings, published in the journal Menopause.
 
But women with untreated celiac disease went through menopause between age 47 and 48, on average - making their "fertile life span" shorter than other women's. 
 
As well, the combination of miscarriages and premature births was more common in women with untreated celiac disease than in the comparison group. It was also noted that women in the untreated celiac group reported more menopause-associated problems, such as hot flashes, irritability, and muscle and joint symptoms than non-celiac women.
 
"There are big signs" of celiac disease, she told Reuters Health. "One is anemia, or iron deficiency. If you couple that with gastrointestinal symptoms or with fatigue, then you have three symptoms that all together must tell a doctor: check for celiac disease."
 
 
Dr. Iverson's Comment
 
I validate these findings from a clinical perspective. I will venture to say that it is much higher than 1% of Americans that are suffering unnecessarily from gluten ingestion. You do not have to be celiac positive to have negative side effects from eating gluten. Some people are gluten intolerant, gluten sensitive, or have an elevated IgG response to gluten (food allergy). I have witnessed these individuals to have not only menstruation and hormonal difficulties from gluten, but they commonly also have clinical symptoms involving digestion, immunity, skin, and mood or behavior to name a few.
 
If you have always wondered if you are having a physical response to what you are eating there are a couple ways to determine if eliminating the food will be of benefit. The most concise would be to have an allergy test performed and check for IgG reactions. (Please call our office for details).   Secondarily you could do an elimination diet and remove all the offending foods from your diet. If you read my book Nature’s Diet, it is discussed in chapter 21. An elimination diet will allow you also to pinpoint the offending foods, although it is much more time consuming and challenging for some. 
 
I also discuss in my book that Americans are “wheated out.” In other words, we eat just too darn much wheat in general. A good rule is to not eat any food more than a few meals a week. Rotate, rotate, rotate so that your body is able to receive a wide composite of nutrition and it doesn’t become prone to food allergies.
 
Be well!
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