How We Won Helm’s Deep
Put on your seatbelts. This is one of my latest offerings and is the text from a lecture that I gave at the annual meeting of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. It is basically The Answer retold from a slightly different perspective, containing some new information and insights….but much shorter. (“Yeah!!!”) This paper is (only) 16 pages long (versus the other 43 page epic) but should leave the reader with the same grasp of the new “gospel” of medicine I am preaching…the good news…We do have our health destiny more in our own hands than we’ve ever believed, certainly more than you’ve been told. How cool is that?
Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn
How We Won the Battle of “Helm’s Deep”
(This is going to be a bit different from most of your medical lectures, I think. I hope you are up for “different”. If nothing else, the hard copy in your conference notes will give you something to read on the plane home.)
“Hmmm… Which metaphor do I use to best illustrate the fate of conventional medicine as we now know it? Which one will give the clearest vision of the dramatic paradigm shift that is now taking place, one that will change the way we practice the art of healing for the rest of man’s days? Which will they grasp, take to heart, and run with to share with their clients, patients, and loved ones, to give them the good news…the fabulous news…this ‘gospel’ of medicine: That we are in sooo much more control of our health destinies than we have ever believed, certainly more than we have ever been told? This is awesome news. But how do I take them from the deception that we are “genetically-flawed organisms at the mercy of man’s mechanical and pharmaceutical creations” to the truth that we reap what we sow? Yes, even in medicine, that timeless principle applies. But once again, this is GOOD news.”
Melodrama??? Is this opening statement simply a gimmick to get the attention of the audience? I personally don’t think so…but I hope it worked. It is the truth.
We are all witnessing, at this very moment, the most important shift in medicine of all time as far as I can see. We should be extremely excited to be alive to observe this phenomenal event firsthand, especially those who have been waiting for years to see this transition occur as many of you have. Certainly, there have been many who have known the folly of long-term symptomatic medication: taking aspirin for fevers caused by viruses, stopping intestinal symptoms at all costs, and “relieving” the airway obstructions of nasal congestion and bronchoconstriction that were designed to limit the offending agents that caused the symptoms in the first place. “Oh, now you’re sounding like one of those holistic nuts!” Yup. And their wisdom has been suppressed long enough. The approach that the body never makes mistakes and that all symptoms serve a purpose has been buried long enough….too long…and it is time for it to be resurrected.
So, on to our first metaphor. Man, I love Tolkien. What a phenomenally wise guy, his epic tales overflowing with truth and wisdom about man’s struggle with himself and the forces-at-be. And the conflict for the possession of Middle Earth serves as a fantastic parallel to the one that we face everyday, with every bite and every breath… and every pill… in the battle for our health. There are many foe and there are huge towers that loom over the battlefield, housing those that create the enemy and direct them into our fields. One of these towers was constructed by men and the forces that drive them in what will be seen as a vain attempt to control man’s medical plight through the use of “magic”, potions as they were once called, to reverse symptoms that came upon the unfortunate victims of illness. “Do you have fever? Not any more. We have a pill for that. Do you have heartburn? Not anymore. We have a bunch of pills for that. Do you have fibromyalgia? Well, we have lots of pills for that one. And, they work ‘OK’, but you will still suffer a bit… as your bank account dwindles. Do you have cancer? Well, we have so much that we can do, but it is a bit of a crap-shoot. You may survive your particular form of this disease with therapy or you may die actually sooner if we treat you. On the other hand, you may conquer this one but die of a different cancer. We won’t really know ’til we try.”
Folks, we are in the year 2005 as I write this piece. We have now placed man-made landers on the moon, Mars, and Titan…one of the moons of Saturn, on the other side of the asteroid belt and Jupiter (Wow!)…but we still don’t know that it is total folly to artificially kill a fever that our body produces solely to control the virus that caused it. Yes, we are still in the Dark Ages of medicine, so the Lord of the Rings analogy is very appropriate. We might as well be wearing animal skins to work instead of lab coats. If we don’t know that it is totally insane to stop a vital fever then we certainly can’t see that acid blockers unleash Helicobacter pylori, (who has been cultured from atherosclerotic plaques of coronary and carotid arteries) or that some of the immunosuppressive elements of cancer “therapy” are counterproductive when it comes to fighting all of the viruses that caused the cancer to begin with. (Just thought I’d quickly throw in a little actual medicine at this point.)
But…BUT… here’s the cool thing. We have just been through the battle at Helm’s Deep. For you Tolkien fans, you know that this was a huge turning point in J. R. R. Tolkien’s portrayal of the battle for Middle Earth. The forces that were bent on the destruction of mankind were coming against the remnants of man, who were hold-up in a fortress built into a mountain. It was a seemingly solid foundation from which to defend against the oncoming hordes, but the numbers and armaments of the enemy were potentially devastating. As the evil forces approached and the battle ensued, it appeared hopeless for man, battling side by side with elves (angels) and dwarfs. The leaders of those in the fortress decided to ride out to meet the enemy, a valiant move but one that seemed certain to seal their doom. But then, over the hill…in a flash of light…came Gandalf and a tremendous army on horseback, who divided the enemy, slaying many and sending the remainder running back to their towers to recover and regroup. Victory was man’s, for the moment. We dodged a bullet as they say today. But shortly, the real battle was to begin…the final battle for Middle Earth and the ultimate survival of mankind.
Oh, how myth puts things in perspective, eh? As a wise author named John Eldridge just wrote in his book Waking the Dead, myths are not simply fictional stories made up to entertain us. They are poignant tales that illustrate timeless truths. They paint mental pictures of these truths that we can draw upon to visualize things that we know to be true in our hearts. They give us faith, hope, and strength to go against what often seem like insurmountable odds to accomplish vitally important tasks and reach our goals. In those myths, we win Helm’s Deep against all odds; Cinderella rises from the ashes to marry the Prince; the Lion King grows up, remembers who he is, and takes his rightful place in the Kingdom; Fiona finds out that she would rather be an ogre and live happily ever after with Shrek than take her “rightful” place in her previous world. They all illustrate how man’s undying spirit can help conquer those circumstances that would hold him back.
In my mind, nothing illustrates our struggle to learn the truth about medicine (and other life lessons) better than Tolkien’s trilogy. All of the elements are there, including things “seen” and “unseen”. It is the classic struggle involving good and “evil“, with man and his knowledge, beliefs, and shortcomings all working together and in opposition to produce the battle of…and for…our lifetime. All of the players are there: the wise masters; those that were seduced by “the dark side”; elements of greed, ignorance, and lust for power; and the undercurrent in which man searching desperately for truth, wisdom, and justice and the reason that all of this is taking place.
“So, enough of the stage-setting.” you might be saying. “How in the world did you get Helm’s Deep out of the current medical situation in which we find ourselves and why all of the ‘prophetic’ references?” Well then, let’s get to it. We’ll start with a news flash. A relatively small band of men have finally understood the vital importance of…this is so cool…FOOD in our health. Wow! What year is it again? How long have we been saying, “You are what you eat?” But, how many have understood this and grasped the full meaning of that statement and what has unfortunately become a worn out cliché’?
Many think in limited terms, I’m afraid, supposing that this expression means things like “eat your broccoli” or “don’t eat too much saturated fat“. Little do they know that the actual staples of their diet are harming them with every bite and setting the stage for most of the plagues that will befall them. When we add in the man-made chemicals, preservatives, colorings, and flavor enhancers, the self-induced nature of our suffering should become readily apparent.
A whopping 75% of the calories in the Standard American Diet (appropriately abbreviated the S.A.D.) come from the number one and number two human, dog, and cat food allergens: cow’s milk and wheat. Why they are the top allergens and why soy and corn join them to round out the top four will be the main topics of this discussion. But as if this is not bad enough, 90% of prepared human foods have hydrogenated oils in them and 60% have MSG (monosodium glutamate), which we will be talking about very shortly. Throw in things like aspartame (a known neurotoxin and MSG’s evil twin), tons of sugar and salt, preservatives, chemicals, estrogens, pesticide residues, and more and you have a pretty good start on how we arrived at Helm’s Deep. When we see that the vast majority of pet foods are made with their main allergens, then we can understand why these little angels (elves) and dwarves are fighting right along side of us. Oh, and we can’t forget the horses. They are vitally involved in this battle.
But, the real question (and this is huge) is “Why are cow milk and wheat the number one and two human, dog, and cat food allergens?” The answer is so simply that it is literally stupefying. There are substances in these “foods” and the other primary food allergens (soy and corn) that do physical harm to the intestinal tract, thereby eliciting an immune response. Part of this response is intended to go off to distant locations (skin, ears, lungs, brain, etc) to warn us that the damage is taking place. Yes, the enemy is sneaky and their initial attack on the headquarters of our camp is cloaked in secrecy. But, those with their eyes open should see the smoke rising from that assault.
In cow’s milk the culprit is casein, a very powerful glycoprotein, from which they make waterproof industrial adhesives. “What?” Yes, they make GLUE from casein. Who’s picture is on the bottle of a very popular brand of household glue, one that the kids could eat in elementary school if they had a craving for it (which we will also cover)? Yep, a well-known dairy company makes that glue and the cow is on the label. It is made from casein. And, it does stick to your (and your pet’s) gut, primarily that first parts of the intestinal tract known as the duodenum and jejunum, keeping these vital sections of bowel from functioning optimally. Its adhesive properties are advertised in the form of a moustache in the ever-popular “Got glue?” ads. Stick out your tongue after drinking milk. Yuck! Is it really a stretch to think that it sticks to out intestinal tract? The thinking person is saying, “But the stomach breaks it down, doesn’t it?” The bad news is that, even with the tons of acid it produces…and the heartburn and chronic gastritis that follows…the glue still survives to reach the duodenum. (Only the fermentation process that takes place in the fore stomachs of the ruminant destroys this glue.)
Who knows this and how do we know? Most doctors both know and don’t understand this. (“Huh?”) It’s a conundrum to me, too. How can they know to tell you not to take certain medications with milk because it will block the absorption of that drug and not know that milk physically blocks other things at the same time? How can some pediatricians tell new moms not to give cow milk products until the baby is on an iron-rich diet and not see that this same milk blocks iron absorption in adults, contributing to the fact that iron-deficiency anemia is the number one nutritional deficiency in the world, including in these United States…the red-meat-consumption capital of the world. How can that be? Simply stated, we are not absorbing what we consume. And now we know exactly why, don’t we? But, cow’s milk and casein are only the beginning.
(Note: Why do I keep specifying cow’s milk? Here is the neat thing: goat milk is nearly devoid of alpha s-1 casein- the most damaging protein fraction in cow’s milk. This is the real reason why goat milk is considered the “universal foster milk” and why the Greeks elevated the goat into the heavens- for the milk it gave. All mammals could be successfully raised on goat milk. BUT, feed those same infant mammals cow‘s milk and watch how many come apart at the seams. The casein is the culprit, not the lactose. Goat‘s milk has plenty of lactose. So much for that deception.)
Here is the important thing. The other “foods’ that coat (and subsequently damage) the intestinal villi…and the only ones that do this along with casein…are gluten, soy, and corn. These are the big four or the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” as I now like to call them. And it is man and animals against casein, gluten, soy, and corn as the title implies. The strongest evidence of their potential harm is found in the fact that all of these food elements are used to make adhesives…powerful adhesives. Casein, gluten and soy are the strongest, stickiest, and most powerfully antigenic glycoproteins while corn is a slightly less powerful but nonetheless very significant player (especially the corn that we have recently created). They put cars together with the super-glues manufactured from soy protein. They make waterproof industrial adhesives from casein and gluten that are used for numerous purposes ranging from the glue on stamps and envelopes to putting metal together. But, the “best” they can do with corn glues is to put cardboard boxes together. So, we see why the FDA and veterinary lists of food allergens are what they are: in order, the (primary) food allergens are cow’s milk, wheat, soy, and corn. (We will discuss “secondary” allergens in a moment.) Soy could become number one…if that were possible. Fortunately, there are too many soy opponents who will keep this from happening.
Now, here is what should really grab attention of veterinarians and (hopefully) not let go. Talk about hindsight being 20:20. When I graduated from vet school 26 years ago, dog foods were corn-based. (Keep in mind that corn has been modified to “death” over the past 25 years. Ever hear the term “hybrid corn“? Do you remember the Starlink /CRY9C corn scare a while back and how Taco Bell took the fall for that one? You only heard the beginning of that story.) The bottom line is that corn was bad enough and was, in retrospect, causing so many of the problems that we saw back then, especially in the “trouble breeds”: the German shepherd, Poodle, Cocker, Shar Pei, some giant breeds, and the Irish setter. (Remember when there were Irish setters around? We’ll be getting to that soon.)
But…but…when we started adding wheat to the diet of pets about ten years later, we effectively landed the single-most devastating blow to veterinary health that we had struck since adding a milk coating to the puppy and kitten chows. Don’t let that last part slip past you, either. The cow’s milk coating we had on the growth formulas was a huge problem that we are just now seeing the vital importance of. In a recent medical study, researchers in human medicine found that our children that ingested cow’s milk in the first five days of life had a staggering 40-50 times higher rate of asthma, type-1 diabetes, and juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis when compared to the general population. Oh, no! How could that be? You need to remember what is going on in the gut and immune system of the newborn during the first five days of life as well as understand the concept of “lectins”- antibody-sized glycoproteins derived from the big four- to really grasp the importance of this cataclysmic mistake. Much of this particular issue is outside of the time restraints of this presentation but I think you will find that this “fun fact” fits right into the grand scheme of things. We will discuss lectins a bit later, however.
So, we added wheat to the pet foods about 16 years ago. Why? Did we not know better? Yes, we did. Veterinary texts in print at that time boldly listed cow milk and wheat as the leading food allergens. So, why did we do it? (Hmmm… Remember those powers and principalities I alluded to in the opening comments. Their two most formidable manifestations are greed and ignorance.) Actually, there was a geopolitical phenomenon that occurred at that time. We had a “wheat glut” develop in this country as a result of numerous factors, including the fact that China became the number one grower of wheat in the world and thereby stopped importing it from us (an amazing transition in their diet which has its own prophetic implications). We had more wheat in this country than we knew what to do with (and we are repeating history with soy right now. There is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9). Therefore, wheat became cheaper than corn and the pet food companies started making kibble from wheat instead of corn. So easy to see…in retrospect.
The fact is that I remember that time now like it was yesterday. I was practicing in California and suddenly my colleagues and I were talking about how sick dogs and cats were rather than our golf games when we went to lunch. It is now a well-defined moment of time in my memory that still shocks me when I think about it. Man, talk again about 20:20 hindsight. Suddenly, every dog had allergies, immune-mediated diseases, and cancer, not just the usual suspects. When I went to school the subject of allergies (atopy) was just another lecture, not the lecture. In an instant, the mutts from the pound were just as riddled with allergies as the pure-breeds. The old adage of “Heinz 57” dogs being healthier than pure breeds was becoming less and less true. Breeds like the Golden retriever were turning into money pits and their owners were saying things like “I love this breed but I can’t afford to have another one.” You as veterinarians remember this all happening, don’t you? If not, you may be too young or just need your memory jogged…or your glasses adjusted…as did some of my educators.
I was at an orthopedic seminar recently put on by the guys who taught me at Auburn University. They were concentrating on the topic of juvenile bone diseases and the same breeds kept popping up on the slides: the Rottweiler, the Lab, the German shepherd, the Rottie again, another Lab, another Lab, and yet another Lab. You get the picture. They also mentioned how they had learned through experience that the puppy chows were harming these dogs more than the adult foods. They weren’t sure exactly why that was so but they no longer recommended the “high-powered” puppy foods for rapidly growing breeds that were prone to these conditions. I was squirming in my chair like a four year old that needed to go to the restroom.
After the lecture, I approached one of the instructors (one of my favorites of all time) and asked him a question. “Where are all of the Irish setters these days? I noticed that you don’t have them up there in your slides anymore,” and I smiled a really big, leading smile. He said, “I don’t know. Now that you mention it, we don’t see that breed much anymore, do we? Why do you ask? Do you know why we don’t see them?” (Chuckle, chuckle.) I said “As a matter of fact, I do know why they’re not around much anymore. That’s what happens when you feed a celiac lots and lots of wheat.” (Blank stare). I asked, “Do you remember what celiac disease is?” He thought for a pretty long moment and said that he didn’t. It sounded familiar but he couldn’t recall. I reminded him that celiac disease was gluten intolerance, an immune-mediated reaction to gluten in wheat, and that the Irish setter was the only breed known to be afflicted with this condition in the veterinary literature. I went on to explain how we transitioned from corn to wheat after I graduated and that once we did, the Irish setter became nearly “extinct”- end of story. He was truly amazed at my insight. As people were starting to crowd around him, I told him that this was just the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg and that I would talk to him more about it later. I went on to compose a five-page letter on my laptop that day and give it to all of the lecturers at the end of the session, explaining how this had become my “mission” (and that this was going to be the contribution that the Upjohn representative was “expecting” when he handed me the Upjohn Award for outstanding senior student in small animal medicine…twenty-some-odd years late). I never heard from any of those instructors again, despite follow-up Emails.
Why didn’t they see the vital importance of what I was trying to share with them? Why didn’t they see the link between celiac disease, the demise of certain breeds, and the fact that puppy chows were worsening juvenile bone diseases? It was right in front of their faces. Are we all that blind? Have we all had the brains washed right out of us in medical schools? Do we really think we know everything when, in fact, we understand very little and are confounded by the knowledge that we do have?
Here is the key!!! As lecturers (and preachers) are fond of saying, “If you get one thing from what I say today then please get this.” The small intestine is “Pandora’s Box“. There. Got it? You can go home now. LOL. What? You don’t understand? I’ll say it more slowly. “The small intestine (the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum)….is…..Pandora’s…….Box.” Of course you don’t understand- yet! But you will and this little gimmick will help to keep it in your frontal lobe, I hope. Why do I call the small intestine “Pandora’s Box“? Because, once you “open” it (damage it), you unleash the plagues- and potentially all of the plagues- that can befall man and animals. “Now wait a minute”, you might say. “I have been following this up to now but you are waaay over the top now.” Hold on. This is going to be good…really good.
The sad and startling fact is that I have yet to meet a health professional (MD, DVM, or nurse) that has been able to tell me what the duodenum absorbs. In fact, I have had numerous casual conversations with members of all of these professions during which they looked me in the eye and boldly stated that the duodenum absorbs “nothing”. Then, once I remove the dagger from my heart (not throwing stones, of course, because before five years ago, I didn’t know either), I go on to explain that the duodenum does nothing less than absorb the vast majority of our calcium and iron, as well as B complex, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, folate, monosaccharides, and more. In fact, it absorbs some of just about everything except our proteins, fats, and fat-soluble vitamins. The amazing fact is that 95% of our vitamin D activity (active calcium absorption) takes place in the first one-third of our duodenum, where the initial and majority of damage caused by the “big four” glue-foods takes place.
Yes, the “glue foods” (as I like to refer to them) leave the stomach…glug, glug, glug…and coat the villi of the duodenum, jejunum and even the ileum, with the heaviest coating occurring along the first one-third of the duodenum, as one would imagine. Then, those glycoproteins from the gluten grains (wheat, barley, and rye), casein, soy, and corn induce an immune response in sensitized individuals. Certainly, not all people or pets have an immune response to these glues, but according to recent studies, the incidence is so much higher than once thought that anyone who understands this should have the same medical “revelation” that I have had: We have found the mother lode.
When I was diagnosed as a celiac 5 years ago, it was considered a “rare disorder occurring in less than 1:5,000 people”. No wonder doctors and veterinarians had forgotten about it. But, in the first week of study about my new-found condition- the one that explained everything that was currently plaguing me and all that had been wrong with me since I could remember- I found that they were diagnosing people on the other side of the Atlantic at the rate of over 1:100. “Say what??? How could it be rare over here, when most of us came from those people…Anglo-Saxons, Italians, Scandinavians, French and Germans?” Yes, there was something amiss. So, I jumped into the study of celiac disease with both feet, discovering that casein, soy, and corn all did the same thing as gluten. I also found out the truth about hydrogenated oils, MSG, aspartame, sugar, the lactose myth, air pollution, and much, much more. (It was so profound that I started a parallel study in religion and prophecy. But that’s a whole ‘nother sermon. Smile.)
I began writing to one of my best friends from high school, an internist at one of our biggest local hospitals. He casually stated that he was glad to see that I was feeling well but that celiac disease was “rare” and that I was simply doing what many do that finally get properly diagnosed with a chronic condition… projecting my illness upon others. At the time, that upset me and I started writing to him like an angry prophet, advising him that if he wanted to get way ahead of the pack, he would start learning all that he could about celiac disease. I even asked him if he believed in God, “because this revelation was Biblical in proportion“. That settled it: I was “nuts“.
But, he was the one who sent me the New England Journal of Medicine article about eight months later that boldly labeled celiac disease as the most under-diagnosed (and misdiagnosed) condition in the country and stated that it was occurring in at least 1:250 Americans without their knowledge. “Na, na, na, na, na,!” (LOL). Actually, I did not call him and rub it in. By then, I had experienced a few of what I call “Jonah experiences”, learning that you catch more flies with honey. Plus, I had received a pretty good glimpse of how and why something this important could be so unknown and misunderstood- and why things were so upside down. The fact is that the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University published their incidence studies last year and found celiac disease to afflict 1:122 Americans. Yes, that is the new “official” number. However, the unofficial number published by celiac authorities is 1:33. Whoa!
But here’s the “bad news”: (Actually, you will come to see that this, again, is good news.) We are only talking about celiac disease here. And wheat is the number two food allergen. What is number one again? Cow’s milk (with alpha s-1 casein). I wonder what the true incidence of casein-intolerance is? Is it more frequent than gluten intolerance? I would have to believe so. While wheat-containing foods (the targets of Dr. Atkins’ partial truth) make up nearly 25% of the calories of the S.A.D., cow milk products make up a whopping 40% of our overall caloric intake. Errrh!!! What about soy- the “third plague” as I like to call it? Errrh, again!!! How about corn- the fourth horseman? Here’s a scary thought: What about a mix and match of the four- some or all of the “big four“? Think that happens? Of course it does. These guys can ride separately or they can form a gang. We all know a gang is harder to control, don’t we?
Now for the pathophysiology that you have been waiting for. The food allergies are just the indicators. During the time that the body is reacting to the “glue” from these foods, the IgE antibody (the allergy antibody) is formed to go out and warn us of the damage that is taking place in the small intestine. Otherwise, this is a stealth condition in most cases, with only one-fourth of celiacs and related food intolerants having gastrointestinal symptoms. Get that? That is very important. In fact, this is critical for all to understand, as it explains much and opens a door through which all truth-seekers must pass. (“There he goes, getting all melodramatic again.”)
Individuals- whether they are humans, dogs, cats, or horses- can go years and years before the bottom drops out of this condition. And it takes the bottom dropping out for most of us to wake up to what’s going on, doesn’t it? We are the masters of denial as well as the patsies of deception. “I’ll do it ‘til I have problems. Then, I‘ll quit (e.g. cigarette smoking, drugs, alcohol, or over-eating)”. The bad news is that by the time you have obvious problems with your lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, brain, immune system or duodenum, then you are way down the wrong road. It is a consistent pattern that we can live on about 25% of our organ function- one half of one kidney, a fourth of our liver, multiple coronary arteries occluded, numerous neurons destroyed, etc.- before we even start having symptoms. That’s a good news/bad news thing isn’t it? As vets, we know that most of our conditions in the pet are “acute-on-chronic“- acute manifestations of chronic problems. I used to think that this was due to unobservant owners or the laid-back lifestyle of the pet. But when I started seeing friends and loved ones dropping dead of heart attacks and strokes without warning and I found out that atherosclerosis starts as early as 5 years old, I knew that we were missing something. Yep, we are made to take a licking and keep on ticking as the old Timex ads used to say. The bad news is that we are beating our poor bodies (and those of our pets) to death and don’t know it or, at least we don’t fully understand the magnitude of what we are doing with every bite… and breath.
Imagine now that over 1:30 humans have celiac disease or are afflicted with the other related food intolerances (casein, soy, and/or corn)- food induced villous atrophy of the duodenum and jejunum. It can affect the ileum as well. We know that this also occurs in the dog, with our old “extinct” friend the Irish setter being the glaring example. (I was absolutely ecstatic to hear that there was a pathologist in a major university in the northeast who has reopened the book on celiac disease.) Now, combine that fact with the consequences of the chronic malabsorption of calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, C, and numerous trace minerals, all of which are vital in the development and normal functioning of our bodies and immune systems. Do you have it in your mind yet? Let it sink in for a second. (Pause)
Which symptoms or clinical signs are likely to show up first? If you said gastrointestinal signs, you would be wrong (unfortunately). If you said signs associated with chronic calcium malabsorption or allergies you would be right. In some it is the former while in others the latter. The “worst of the worst”- those who have the earliest immune reaction to the glue foods- will have the IgE and IgG related symptoms first. These are your infants- human or pets- with congestion, itching, rashes, irritability, chronically sore throats, and ear problems. Some of them do have colic and diarrhea but these should not be required signs to make one suspicious of food problems. The “best of the worst” (as I rarely use the term the “best of the best” anymore) have the signs of calcium malabsorption first if they have any signs at all. Remember: the proximal one-third of the duodenum is greatly responsible for calcium metabolism and absorption. In the best-case scenario, these glue foods form a coating on these villi and keep them from performing optimally.
Here you go: Think of a beautiful coral reef with gorgeous sea anemones and multi-colored sponges. Got it? The “villi” of the anemones are swaying back and forth in the crystal clear water, absorbing small particles of food floating in the water. So serene, so perfect. NOW, imagine that same reef after the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez. Got that? How well do those anemones do when they are coated with oil? Some will survive but many, many will die. I think you have the picture.
This is what the glycoproteins from gluten, casein, soy, and corn do. They coat the villi- at best- and “kill” the villi at worst, with the first and most severe damage taking place in the proximal third of the duodenum. No wonder I had flat feet, short legs, rib abnormalities, painful joint laxity and bad teeth as a child and later developed rotator cuff problems, bilateral inguinal hernias, and premature disc ruptures of my neck and back as an adult. I’m a classic celiac.
But now you know why the most food allergic dogs have the worst orthopedic problems. How cool is that??? Think about them: The Labs, Rottweilers, German shepherds, the Labs, the Rotties, the Labs, the Labs… Hmmm… I’ve heard that before. Why is it that they can’t nail down the genetics of hip dysplasia? Hmmm… again. And now you know why two of the most food allergic small breeds- the Cocker and Shi Tzu- hold the age record for when they start to blow intervertebral discs. Yep, they do it as early as one year of age, don’t they? Why again? They have been malabsorbing the building blocks of their skeletal system (calcium, vitamin C, and boron) since they were first put on the grain-infested puppy chows. What makes up collagen, again? So, you also know why the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (and I have yet to see one that wasn’t severely food allergic) dies of acute mitral valve prolapse at 5 years of age. What is that valve made of again? How did we create the chondrodysplastic breeds like the food allergy afflicted, Demodex-encrusted, cherry-eyed, respiratory-challenged, squatty body English bulldog, anyway? Shall I continue? I could give countless examples that would keep us into the wee hours of the morning. I think you are seeing the pattern here, right? The allergies are there to warn us that the damage is taking place in the gut. Again, the allergies are things “seen” to help us understand the things “unseen”. Watch for this pattern. It will come up again and again.
This is only the beginning- unfortunately and fortunately. Please keep in the very front of your mind that the malabsorption syndrome leads to chronic deficiencies in so many vital nutrients. This is paramount in importance. Keep chanting, “Pandora’s Box, Pandora’s Box.“ We are still on the tip of the tip of the iceberg. (We haven’t even covered the prenatal effects of food intolerance. Imagine the damage being done to the developing fetus when their mother is malabsorbing the nutrients they need to form their skeleton and organs.)
Perhaps this is a good time to throw in the other analogy with which I was considering opening this dissertation. Try this one on for size: Conventional medicine is steaming headlong into an enormous obstacle that is titanic in importance and yet has only a small piece of its mass protruding from the surface right now. The medical establishment (including both human and veterinary) has built a mighty vessel that many would deem unsinkable. “We have made such great gains in extending life” comes the announcement from the captain. “And one day, we will find the cures for cancer and the diseases that plague us all.” And the passengers all say “Hooray!!! It will be clear sailing from there!” The applause dies down and the captain exclaims, “And we are working on better ways to make these necessary drugs more available, more well-known by the public, and more affordable to you. Very soon, many of these drugs will be available over-the-counter and you will no longer need to even consult with your physician about them. Simply choose what is right for you by watching your television and then going to your local drugstore, supermarket, or gas station food mart to pick them up. You will be wise enough to choose for yourself.” (Again, the crowd roars with approval.)
But, there is something looming in the waters, just off the port bow. Some call it an iceberg. Others call it a “rock”. I call it the Truth. This treatise so far has mapped out the tip of the tip of this iceberg. With the binoculars you now have, you can see it. Do you see it??? If your eyes are good enough, you can see much of what is below the surface, too. The water is a lot clearer out in the ocean than you may think. And this “unsinkable” vessel that man has created is heading straight for it. Why? They are not looking for it. Many are happy, quite content with the cruise they are on. Others don’t really know any other way to behave on a cruise like this. Others are desperately trying to keep those who would worry about icebergs distracted so that they don’t spoil the cruise for the others. Ignorance and greed are at the controls- our two biggest nemeses- with contentment being a first mate.
Suddenly…WHAM…the mighty craft hits “the rock”. It starts to take on water. People are dying from drugs they have taken for years: HRT, NSAIDS, nasal decongestants, and what will be the next group- the cholesterol statin drugs. The epilepsy drugs don’t work anymore and the pets on board are being put to sleep for “non-responsive epilepsy”. The vaccines that were meant to protect us “turn on us”, making us question their role in everything from producing the full clinical disease to hard-to-detect/prove sub-total entities of that disease, such as epilepsy, chronic liver disease, immune glomerulonephritis, cardiomyopathy, or worse. The captain is shouting, “Don’t panic. We will figure out what to do. Calmly man the lifeboats.” But some do panic as they had so much faith in this indestructible piece of man’s technology, the same technology that put landers on the moon, Mars, and Titan, a satellite of Jupiter.
But, it is this same technology that does not seem to understand that taking an NSAID for a fever caused by a viral infection is not a wise thing to do. It is the same captain’s mates that don’t see that Helicobacter pylori- the opportunistic bacteria that causes deep stomach ulcers- hates an overly acid stomach and that heartburn is designed partly to control his growth. If they don’t know that, then they certainly can’t see how this beast that they have been feeding with antacids and problem foods leaves the stomach when the individual’s immune system takes a nose dive (after a lifetime of malabsorbing nutrients vital to its health) and takes up residence in a cholesterol plaque (that is safe-guarding a weakened artery) and causes it to break off, inducing a stroke or a myocardial infarction. How can they see that? They have their eyes on the moon and the stars. (And yet, a study done by a group of cardiologists found that a shocking 85% of atherosclerotic plaques that were cultured for H. pylori were positive for this critter. Think about that for a second. Sinking in?)
Go to page 2 of “Helm’s Deep”…