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High Blood Pressure Drug Side Effects Mimic Celiac Disease

Olmesartan is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure. A new study finds that the side effects of this drug can induce symptoms that mimic celiac disease… A research study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings this week disclosed a very alarming discovery. Researchers have found an association between the prescription drug olmesartan and severe gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, and electrolyte abnormalities.
From 2008 to 2011, physicians from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, treated 22 patients with symptoms similar to celiac disease, including intestinal inflammation and abnormalities. Patients came from 17 states, and some had been diagnosed with celiac disease. They had chronic diarrhoea and weight loss (median weight loss was 17.70 kg [39 lbs] and 1 patient lost 56.71 kg [125 lbs]). Fourteen of the 22 patients were hospitalised because of the severity of their symptoms. When given a blood test, however, these patients didn’t come back with results typical of celiac disease. They also didn’t respond to treatments such as gluten-free diets. After examining their medications, Joseph Murray, MD, Mayo Clinic, pulled several of the patients off olmesartan. Surprisingly, their symptoms dramatically improved. Eventually, all 22 were taken off the drug, and all showed improvement. Eighteen of the 22 patients had intestinal biopsies after stopping the medication and showed improvement. “We thought these cases were celiac disease initially because their biopsies showed features very like celiac disease, such as inflammation,” said Dr. Murray. “What made them different was they didn’t have the antibodies in their blood that are typical for celiac disease.” “It’s really an awareness issue,” he said. “We want doctors to be aware of this issue, so if they see a patient who is having this type of syndrome, they can think about medications as a possible association. “What needs to be known next is the science to understand why there is such an association.”
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic

Why is Drug Induced Celiac Disease Alarming?

Gluten sensitivity diagnosis is on the rise. Studies show that as many as 92% of those going gluten free fail to have normalization of the villi and reduction of intestinal inflammation during doctor follow up visits. Now we are learning that one of the top prescribed drugs in the United States has side effects that can create symptoms of clinical celiac disease. This is a profound finding and begs many more questions to be asked:
  1. Are there other drugs that can contribute to the development of or mimic celiac disease? The average American over the age of 35 is on 5 + medications. Many of the most commonly prescribed medications contain gluten based fillers. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe these drugs to patients who have gluten sensitivity. Currently their are no labeling laws for prescription medications regarding gluten.
  2. Is the intestinal inflammation being caused by the action of the drug or an unintended side effect of the fillers found in the medication?
  3. Do many patients with gluten intolerance and celiac disease fail to respond to diet change because of prescription medications they are taking?

Prescription Drugs Can Create Gastrointestinal Problems

There are a number of medications commonly prescribed that have detrimental side effects. Many of these effects cause gastric and intestinal problems. These symptoms can contribute to a host of different problems. The diagram below illustrates some of the more common negative impacts that are often times ignored or go unrecognized.

Click on image to enlarge

The Solution For Disease (Especially Intestinal) is Not Found in Medication

All too often doctors fail to investigate the origin of disease and instead prescribe a medication that only serves to mask the outward symptoms. This approach can never fully solve the problem that the patient is presenting with, and typically only creates new problems to go along with the original one. Remember that when it comes to the gastrointestinal tract, we must look at food first and foremost. We bathe our intestines three times a day or more in food. The wrong foods can have the wrong effects and lead to many diseases. Celiac disease is a case in point. Bottom line – don’t let your doctor tell you differently. If he/she does, then you know that it is time to move on.    

8 Responses

  1. Dr. Osborn,

    Thank you for posting this information. Have you or anyone else looked into the benefits of soaking (ie sprouting) quinoa over night to make the nutrients more availble and digestable?

    My understanding of modern day grains through reading Mary Eng’s “Nourishing Traditions” is that we over process the grains and strip the nutrition and this is the big link between all the modern day diseases we’re seeing today. She suggests in her book to soak all meat and grains at least 24 hours the way our indigenous ancestors did for maximum nutrition and robust health.

    Your thoughts?

  2. anyone knows if the gluten free rice is ok to eat ir if eeuu hold remove all type of rice and corneta from the diet??

  3. can u tell me if quaker oat rice cakes are ok to eat. I bought some but says gluten free, apple cinnamon flavor with other natual flavors. But the ingredients state that it has maltodextrin, how can it be gf if it contains those ingredient. So nervous to eat anything and I am loosing weight by the day. even chicken and tuna can contain dangerous ingredients. I have just started this diet within the last 4 weeks. I dont know what to eat anymore. Desperate!

  4. I too have inflammatory reactions with quinoa and also chia. I know these are touted as superfoods and are wildly popular, but my body doesn’t seem to care about the hype. It lets me know that these pseudo grains trigger autoimmune reactions for me like brain fog, fatigue, no motivation, urge incontinence, intestinal swelling, rectal swelling, diarrhea, gas, very sore neck & shoulder muscles, sore scalp, and sometimes bumps like pimples on the nape of my neck which I only get when having a reaction. Hard to believe this stuff is poison for my body, but I took the genetic test for gluten sensitivity and was positive on both genes, and 2 “branches” on the same gene which means I got 1 gene from each parent and my kids have at least 1 positive gene which explains their health issues. I’m still learning how to live life with this new no grain diet and I’m still mourning foods that I ate for years and loved, but if I cheat I feel like I have the flu with the symptoms above for 3-4 days so it’s not worth it for me. I know I have an overgrowth of yeast in my gut which some say may have eaten holes in my intestines causing leaky gut and triggered my gluten sensitivity genes to activate. Not sure. I know I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted. This site has given me the hard truth about living grain free. Nothing else works for me. Over time this has cost me noticeable loss of muscle and teeth that used to be great but have been breaking due to not enough minerals absorbed through my intestines so my body is robbing what it needs from my teeth & bones. I also found an “emergency” supplement to help bring down the significant overreaction of my immune system when I get accidentally glutened. It’s a micronized beta glucan that acts as an immune system modulator. It’s totally harmless & patented. Works for me, but I still don’t cheat with gluten even though I take it. It’s called NSC-100. Read about it on their website Let’s help each other with Dr. O’s help too to heal and regain our lives. Thanks for all you are doing, Dr. O!

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