Gluten And Acid Reflux – A Common Association
Is there a medical link between gluten and acid reflux? A recent research study linked peptic disease (heartburn, GERD, stomach ulcer) to gluten exposure in patients with gluten sensitivity. So the short answer to the question is yes. You can read a direct quote from the researchers below:
PD (peptic disease) is not uncommon in the presentation of CD (celiac disease). It is more likely to be found in the second decade of life. CD should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with non-HP(H pylori) PD and we suggest routine CD serology and small bowel biopsy in patients with unexplained PD.
The authors of this study recommend that all patients with non infectious peptic disease be screened for celiac disease.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(12):1424-8.
Gluten Inflames the Stomach and Intestines
I commonly see patients with a conglomeration of gastric symptoms that are directly caused by gluten exposure. Reflux, heartburn, ulcer disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and even hernia are some of the more common diseases I have seen go into remission with the implementation of a TRUE gluten free diet.
It is common for physicians to rule out infection (primarily H. pylori) in these patients, but gluten intolerance is very rarely investigated. The results of this study suggest that patients with gastric disease be screened for celiac disease. The problem with this recommendation is that celiac blood tests and biopsies are extremely inaccurate and have a high degree of false negatives. The other problem is that many people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Therefore, testing them for celiac disease is a complete waste of time and extremely misleading. Also keep in mind that just like there is a link between gluten and acid reflux, other foods can also be triggers.
That it why I recommend genetic testing. The results cannot be skewed by diet and are not accompanied with the flaws of celiac blood and biopsy testing.
Reflux Medications Have Dangerous Side Effects
Remember that taking heavy doses of anti-acids and prescription reflux medications is not the answer. These drugs only serve to neutralize or reduce stomach acid. Reduction of stomach acid is a major problem as it increases the risk for:
- Osteoporosis (ironically, gluten also causes bone loss)
- Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies (calcium, B-12, folic acid, iron, zinc, and more – also common in those with gluten sensitivity issues)
- Protein and fat malabsorption
Additionally, the medication does not treat the actual cause of disease, but merely reduces the symptoms, thus creating a false sense of “healthy security”.
Please do me a favor. If going gluten free eliminated or reduced your gastric problems, please share with us below in the Leave a Reply Box. Your story may help encourage someone else to go gluten free.
In good health,
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior