ndocroth's blog

How Free of Gluten are "Glutenfree" Labeled Products Really?

How Free of Gluten are "Glutenfree" Labeled Products Really?

Common Complaint: "glutenfree" yet still experiencing symptoms

Mainstream and natural medicine agree:

No matter if non-celiac and/or celiac gluten sensitive, an individual sensitive to gluten needs to adopt a 100% glutenfree diet (GFD) and lifestyle!

Over more or less time on a GFD most related symptoms should disappear. But, as little as 1 gram daily gluten from contamination can lead to refractory (unresponsive) disease and trigger secondary health challenges.

Such ongoing issues include in no particular order: mineral imbalances and deficiencies, RA, polymyalgia rheumatica, anxiety, depression, psoriasis and other skin diseases, hypothyroidism, diabetes, lack of energy, UTI, gallbladder disease, a large spectrum of autoimmune challenges and more.

We routinely suggest a "Fresh Food Finds Friends™" approach to the glutenfree diet for our patients.

Olympic Shadows: The Feel-Good Addiction Factor

Olympic Shadows: The Feel-Good Addiction Factor

Why Athletes are more at Danger of the Feel-Good Addiction Factor

Of course we want to feel good—and we have every right to.

Nothing beats that adrenaline rush of being "in the zone" and accomplishing a goal that we have worked so hard for. That feeling of control and integration of our mind and body is truly exhilarating and energizing.

According to Swiss research the "adrenaline-junkie" is real—complete with "an addictive risk-seeking behaviour" that eventually may overspill into everyday life addictions.[1]

So, when does "wanting to feel good" indicate an addictive personality?[2]

What are the warning signs of an individual being well on the way to addiction[3] or already having become addicted? When is the point in time for those surrounding such a person to stop being their enablers?

Aspirin Allergy May Translate To Food Allergies

Aspirin Allergy May Translate To Food Allergies

HLA-II linked Aspirin / Salicylic Acid Allergy: How Common is it in Gluten Sensitivity?

"A baby aspirin a day keeps the doctor away!" Sounds familiar?

Estimates vary, but it appears, for instance, that each year we consume around 40,000 metric tons of aspirin, equating to about 120 billion aspirin tablets (300 mg is a standard size).[1]

So, forty thousand tons later, shouldn't our public state of health be better? The above statement may be far from the truth about aspirin keeping the doctor away; and the forty thousand metric tons of aspirin consumed annually clearly do not appear to work either.

(For a historical overview and an >180 research listings on aspirin click here LINK)

Many individuals have reported new health challenges and allergies after starting treatment with aspirin. While salicylic acid is the main metabolite of aspirin, this willow bark-derived substance proves also to cross-react with birch pollen.

Unlike gluten sensitivity, (acetyl)salicylic acid allergy can be a true allergy. This means that the more an individual is exposed to salicylic acid via aspirin, daily foods or topical face washes, etc., the greater the likelihood of increasingly severe allergic reactions as the years go by.

It is common knowledge that many non-celiac and/or celiac gluten sensitive individuals react to grass pollen, birch pollen, ragweed pollen or mugwort. But, did you know that many of our edible and common vegetables, spices and fruits also cross-react with these pollens—quite likely due to the salicylic acid they contain?

Monovalent pollen allergy was observed in 57% (n=68) of patients with pollinosis (57x grass pollen, 11x birch pollen), but only in 15% (n=12) of patients with food allergy (9x grass pollen, 3x birch pollen). Hazelnut (71%), almond (65%), walnut (44%) and apple (41%) were the most common food allergens and frequently associated with birch pollen allergy. Grass pollen allergy was associated with an increased frequency of HLA-DQB1*0301 (RR=2.3; EF=0.4; P=0.0016) when compared with the control population. HLA-DRB *08 conferred a sixfold higher risk for peanut allergy (EF=0.3; P=0.0013) and -DRB1*12 a 13-fold higher risk for carrot allergy (EF=0.3; P<0.000001). The differences on allele frequencies detected among patients with food allergies diminished or turned statistically insignificant when their genotypes were directly compared to those of patients with the corresponding pollen allergies. This was found in the case of birch pollen associated hazel nut allergy for the extended haplotype HLA-DRB1*01, -DQA1*0101, -DQB1*0501 as well as in grass pollen associated peanut allergy for HLA-DRB1*08 (from RR=6, P=0.0013 to insignificant) and in birch pollen associated carrot allergy for HLA-DRB1*12 (from RR=13, P < 0.000001 to insignificant).[2]

Here are some additional examples of common food – pollen cross-reactions:  

Grasses cross-react with

  • tomatoes

Birch pollen cross-reacts with

  • apples, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, peaches, pears, or raw potatoes

Ragweed pollen cross-reacts with

  • tomatoes and bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melon,

Mugwort cross-reacts with

  • carrots, celery, apples, kiwi fruit, but also with peanuts (a legume) and spice seeds such as anise, caraway, coriander, fennel, and parsley seed.

In summary, salicylic acid is not only found in aspirin but also as a possible allergen in many of our everyday "healthy" foods (fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts)—foods that may have to be avoided if you are sensitive to aspirin. Surprised? The answer is simple:

Genetic Predisposition

The association of human leukocyte antigen genetic alleles and hypersensitivity[3] has been amply documented. Several of the non-celiac and/or celiac gluten sensitivity predisposing HLA-II genotypes provide cross-links and increased risks of developing additional sensitivities and/or allergies. Some of the more frequent non-celiac and/or celiac gluten sensitivity related alleles include HLA-DQB1*0301, HLA-DQA1*0101, HLA-DQB1*0501.

We were able to identify HLA class-II alleles associated with some allergies thus indicating that these alleles might confer susceptibility to the respective allergens....

...Our observations provide evidence for the major importance of antigen presentation on the manifestation of distinct crossreactivity patterns.[4]

For instance, intense itching, skin reactions[5] (and possibly gut ulcers), burning tongue tip, and many other signs may indicate an allergy to aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) and foods containing natural salicylic acid.[6] Even reversible hearing loss has been described in research.[7] So has aspirin induced asthma (AIA).[8]

Thus, especially non-celiac and/or celiac gluten sensitive individuals may have to avoid aspirin[9] as well as salicylate containing foods.

Other Birch Pollen and HLA-II Cross-Linked Allergies

For instance, kiwi fruit allergy has often been linked with latex allergy.[10] It too appears to carry that HLA-II cross-reaction link to birch pollen... This link further implicates a group of common daily foods:

Many patients showed sensitization to grass and mugwort pollen.

Also, food allergy was found to be associated with kiwi allergy: we found

  • strong reactions to apple and hazelnut;
  • moderate reactions to carrot, potato, and avocado; and
  • weak reactions to wheat and rye flour, pineapple and papaya, and their enzymes bromelain and papain.

RAST inhibition studies revealed cross-reacting antigens between birch pollen and kiwi fruit. Interestingly, patients with birch pollen allergy without clinical signs of kiwi allergy had positive prick test reactions to kiwi. Patients with kiwi allergy showed higher concentrations to birch pollen IgE compared with patients with isolated birch pollen allergy.[11]

Salicylic Acid Containing Foods

The following is not a complete list of foods, and salicylic acid levels may differ greatly. Every individual will need to carefully determine the foods that they can tolerate and those that they better avoid.

Fruits and Berries

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Currants
  • Dewberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Dried Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries


  • Avocados
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes


  • Almonds
  • Cloves
  • Olives
  • Pickles

Processed Foods

  • Green and yellow Candies
  • Cocoa and hot Chocolate mixes
  • Biscuits
  • Cakes and Cake mixes
  • Cereals
  • Crackers
  • Muffins
  • Pastries

Condiments and Preserves

  • Corned Beef
  • Gum
  • Gelatin
  • Jell-O
  • Ketchup
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings
  • Tabasco
  • Tartar sauce

Unfortunately, even some of the so-called "glutenfree" products may contain high levels of salicylic acid!

Should you suspect any of these triggers, the way to go is to follow a strict elimination diet. My patients start out by avoiding everything listed above for two weeks while following their glutenfree diet. Then, for a couple of days at a time, they include one of these products in their daily regimen. All going well, they will add something else after a few days. If any reaction occurs they eliminate the culprit for now.

Just to clarify: this process of elimination and slow re-introduction will not work for gluten-containing products because gluten intolerance is determined by an individual's genetic background, which cannot be overcome. Glutenfree diet is for life!

[GreenMedInfo.com contains research on over 50 of aspirin's under-reported adverse effects: aspirin toxicity research.]

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12374850  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Oct 15;99(21):13371-3. Epub 2002 Oct 8.  Cyclooxygenase-3 (COX-3): filling in the gaps toward a COX continuum? 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9641569 Clin Exp Allergy. 1998 Apr;28(4):434-41.  Identification of HLA-DR and -DQ alleles conferring susceptibility to pollen allergy and pollen associated food allergy.

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17620823 Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Aug;7(4):317-23.  Human leukocyte antigens and drug hypersensitivity.

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9641569  Clin Exp Allergy. 1998 Apr;28(4):434-41.  Identification of HLA-DR and -DQ alleles conferring susceptibility to pollen allergy and pollen associated food allergy. 

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21342226  J Dermatol. 2011 Mar;38(3):246-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.01196.x.  Pharmacogenetics of cutaneous adverse drug reactions.

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20485159 Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Aug;10(4):280-90.  Genetic and ethnic risk factors associated with drug hypersensitivity.

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15143764  HNO. 2004 Apr;52(4):347-51.  [Reversible hearing loss in acute salicylate intoxication].

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15898979 Clin Exp Allergy. 2005 May;35(5):585-90.  Association of thromboxane A2 receptor gene polymorphism with the phenotype of acetyl salicylic acid-intolerant asthma.

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20485159  Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Aug;10(4):280-90.  Genetic and ethnic risk factors associated with drug hypersensitivity.

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9532974  Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1998 Mar;80(3):252-6.  Latex allergy in operating room nurses. 

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8027500  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1994 Jul;94(1):70-6.  Kiwi fruit allergy: a new birch pollen-associated food allergy.


Helping the Bloated Gut

Helping the Bloated Gut

Health and Disease Begin in the Gut – Part Two: A Practical Approach

In Part One of Health and Disease Begin in the Gut we explored the central function of the small intestinal duodenum:

  • how inflammation hampers duodenal controls and functions
  • how an inflamed duodenum plays a significant role in a wide array of disorders from
  • how we can recognize an inflamed gut.

Once we have recognized inflammation and its effects, it is time to identify causes and solutions to any particular set of health challenges. There is no good-for-all solution to gut inflammation and its many secondary disorders. When it comes to true healing we all require an individualized, carefully planned approach.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as Early Diabetes Risk Indicator?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as Early Diabetes Risk Indicator?

A Fresh Perspective from Clinical Experience

High on the list of possible triggers for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are blood sugar imbalances and metabolic issues.

However, it still is generally accepted that carpal tunnel syndrome is caused exclusively by repeat motion injuries, extreme tension, rheumatoid arthritis, or neuropathy (a complication of diabetes).

From years of gripping, pulling, twisting or typing action, CTS in these cases is the result of the narrowing of the nerve duct at the base of the wrist. This narrowing and constant pressure exerted on the sheath of the nerve may lead to inflammation and to temporary or permanent nerve damage, extreme pain, and reduced range of motion.

Is The Ongoing Calcium Controversy Overlooking The Basics?

Is The Ongoing Calcium Controversy Overlooking The Basics?

Research does not distinguish between calcium leached from bones and teeth in response to inflammation and any calcium intake from supplements.

Initially published in shortened form (April 28, 2011)

Several recent studies claim that calcium supplements increase heart disease and stroke risk.[1] Should you stop taking calcium supplements?

Unfortunately, we tend to think of research trials and their results as gospel. Some research results may be confusing or, worse, represent a partial truth as the gospel by drawing conclusions based on simplified premises.

Many research projects tend to overlook important prerequisites. For instance, a recent calcium research project fails to report on several highly important factors such as:

  1. What forms of calcium supplements were taken and in what amounts?
  2. Did the trial subjects have any pre-existing inflammatory conditions such as absorption issues (bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc.), liver or pancreas problems?
  3. Since stress raises cortisol levels (an inflammatory hormone), what were the stress levels of the trial subjects?
  4. Did the trial subjects have any pre-existing forms of arthritis and/or bone density issues?
  5. Were the trial subjects all on the same diet and what kind of diet were they on?
  6. What kind of exercise style and amount did the lifestyle of the trial subjects include?

More specifically, our questions should not only address how, but why does calcium get into the arteries where it possibly can contribute to heart or vascular disease.

Here are some indisputable facts:

Calcium plays several major roles in the biochemistry of our body. But calcium is not solely the most important substance for our bone health. Among other tasks, calcium is instrumental in regulating the tissue pH balance by regulating and keeping down inflammation levels in the body.

Inflammation makes body tissue acidic, a state that is untenable for the bloodstream. Consequently, calcium is leached from bones and teeth to buffer its acidic pH. But, once in the bloodstream, calcium won’t be reabsorbed back into the bones. Instead, it may…

  • harden the arteries resulting in higher blood pressure
  • contribute to plaque and hypertension by allowing triglycerides and cholesterols to build up in the arteries
  • cause arthritic changes, pains and conditions by depositing dead calcium molecules in small or large joints.
  • possibly cause muscle and other pain conditions (e.g. fibromyalgia, brain fog and vision issues)—think of calcium in the bloodstream of the body as "sand in the gears of an engine."

So, it becomes clear that calcium belongs in the bones and out of the arteries. Heart disease and stroke may well be related to this leached calcium. Natural medicine, therefore, has long recognizes that the question must be if calcium leaching is a cause or a result of excess blood calcium.

It is highly questionable if excess blood calcium levels are directly related to supplemental calcium use. And, most importantly, research has not yet looked at nor been able to distinguish if these "increased blood calcium levels" are a result of inflammatory-dowsing leached calcium or non-absorbable elemental calcium supplements.

Most individuals urged to use supplemental calcium appear to suffer from some kind of pre-existing inflammatory condition. Bone loss, arthritis, etc. are direct indicators of natural calcium loss to buffer blood pH values as a result of their chronic inflammation. Hypothetically, the calcium in the bloodstream of these individuals comes from their own bone and possibly not directly from their supplements.

Initially, calcium supplements need to be absorbed into the body via a healthy small intestine (duodenum). But only calcium in citrate form or from nutritional greens and food is absorbable.[2] Other forms—such as calcium carbonate, coral calcium, elemental calcium and many other forms (see Stoned To Death: Calcium Supplements Proven To Kill Again)—in addition to potentially contributing to kidney stones, may indeed end up contributing to heart events.

But, then again, even calcium citrate only gets absorbed if a person’s GI tract is intact and not experiencing any boating, gas or other inflammatory condition that may lead to nutritional malabsorption. See Health And Disease Begin In The Gut.

We all know about the assistant role of vitamin D3 in calcium absorption. On another note, we often seem to forget that vitamin K besides being long esteemed as blood clotting factor also is instrumental in "keeping calcium in the bones and out of the arteries." Many of the leafy green veggies provide vitamin K. But most of the usable vitamin K needs to be formed in our body’s intestinal tract (duodenum).

Consequently, the research conclusion that calcium supplementation raises the risk of heart disease simply indicates too superficial an approach in many of the most publicized research projects.

In the future, research might want to look at the impaired function of an inflamed small intestinal duodenum as a possible cause of calcium and nutritional malabsorption (acidic pH), calcium leaching (leaky gut), lack of vitamin K production and other of its tasks such as bile release and pancreatic enzyme and insulin regulation as a cause for a raised risk of heart and vascular disease.

Many foods naturally provide absorbable forms of calcium—provided gut bloating or inflammation do not prevent absorption. Some of these high-calcium foods include dandelion greens, broccoli, kale, okra, and other greens; kelp, wakame and other seaweeds; almonds, hazelnuts, sesame and other nuts and seeds. On the other hand, high calcium foods such as rhubarb, spinach, chard, or sorrel may not offer the same benefits due to their high oxalic acid caused calcium binding mechanisms.

Another approach used by integrative and natural medicine clinics suggests the use of homeopathic forms of calcium supplementing. Their disadvantage is that homeopathic approaches must be custom-tailored to each individual. However, their easy oral mucous tissue absorption bypasses any issues with GI inflammation and alleviates major concerns about vascular accumulation of calcium.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22626900 Heart. 2012 Jun;98(12):920-5. Associations of dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation with myocardial infarction and stroke risk and overall cardiovascular mortality in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC-Heidelberg).

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437082 Obes Surg. 2009 Sep;19(9):1256-61. Epub 2009 May 13. Comparison of the absorption of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.



When Carrots May Not be Good for You

When Carrots May Not Be Good For You

Retinoic acid (vitamin A) found to cause inflammation in certain individuals

Over the years, several of my celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitive patients have reported a dry "gritty" feeling in their eyes--often along with difficulties to focus vision and mind, reddish fingertips, and other signs of active inflammation.

On further inquiry into food changes prior to these signs and symptoms, my patients invariably cite larger than usual intake of foods high in vitamin A. Among the foods named most frequently are beef or chicken liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, cantaloupe, dandelion, kale, spinach, collard greens, and a few other foods.

The FDA Allows Animal Parts, Excrement, Mold In Our Food

Mold Insect Parts And Rat

What's in the Rub? Mold, Insect Parts and Rat...

Sure, rub it in—but maybe grind your own spices! The FDA calls them food defects and defines its permissible "Food Defect Action Levels" as listed in their online booklet to be "the levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans."[1]

The list of "defects" includes rodent feces (excrement), rodent hair, molds, whole insects, insect parts, beetle eggs, beetle larvae, and more. Most defects are defined as "aesthetic" – really?!

Would you like a taste of the foods that we consume according to the FDA standard’s "Protecting and Promoting Your Health"? Here are a few samples of upper acceptable limits (in abbreviated form) gleaned from the publicly available FDA booklet:

Health and Disease Begin in the Gut

A Bloated Gut Is Not Normal

There is no Health without a Healthy Duodenum and Intestines

How well our digestion works directly determines how well our body and brain function. The old adage "we are what we eat" appears to hold true.

Diabetes and Mineral Deficiency: Problems & Solutions

Diabetes And Mineral Deficiency: Problems and Solutions

Diabetes = Mineral Deficiencies ≠ Supplements

Why taking supplements may not be the straight forward solution they are made out to be

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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