Gluten and Infertility by Stephanie Austin, HHP
The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. “These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism and infertility.”(2)
Still don't think that includes you? Consider this...
One of the most exciting parts about learning you are gluten intolerant is reversing some of the symptoms you've grown accustom to having, such as forgetfulness, fatigue, inability to lose weight, muscle and joint pain, indigestion, lethargy, dyslexia, ADHD, and even cancer.
In 2006, the American Journal of Gastroenterology said, “The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the US is four years; this type of delay dramatically increases an individual’s risk of developing autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, infertility, osteoporosis and even cancer.”(5)
There are countless medical studies connecting infertility to gluten and I personally have helped two couples conceive after trying countless other methods by adopting a gluten-free diet and repairing the damaged gut lining.
“610,000 women in the US experience unexplained infertility; 6% (36,600) of these women might never learn that celiac disease is the cause.”(3)
What does gluten have to do with conception?
Let’s look at Vitamin B6, for example. Vitamin B6 is one of the key nutrients for hormone regulation. Since a deficiency in B6 can lead to irregularity, progesterone to estrogen imbalance, and poor egg development, one begins to understand the role diet and especially gluten plays in creating life.
Another reason progesterone can be low is too much estrogen due to an excess of body fat. Fat cells help produce estrogen (and carry it), so when overweight, we have higher estrogen and potentially lower progesterone.
The beauty of a gluten-free diet is, it is easy to shed excess weight immediately! Losing as little as 10% body fat can dramatically increase chances of fertility.
One study considered the number of children born to celiac parents prior to diagnoses compared to a control group without celiac. Women with gluten intolerance had significantly fewer children prior to their diagnoses than the control. “The researchers concluded that celiac disease caused the difference in fertility prior to diagnosis, while the gluten-free diet corrected it following diagnosis.”(6)
Being tested through www.cyrexlabs.com for celiac disease, gluten-related disorders and cross-reactivity is the first step. Many other forms of testing are not without false negative and false positive results. Even many of today’s blood, saliva and stools tests can be inaccurate.
While celiac affects 3 million Americans, other non-gut related gluten sensitivities affects 30 million. In fact, Dr. Thomas O Bryan, an expert in the field of gluten, suggests for every one person with a gut related symptom, such as in celiac disease, there is seven or eight others without a single digestive upset who are still gluten intolerant.(4)
If you are trying to bring life into this world and are struggling with infertility, please consider this change in your life. Not only will it potentially bring you a stork delivery but it will create a healthier version of YOU in the long run. Many previously infertile women were able to conceive following a gluten-free diet.
1. University of Chicago Medicine. Celiac Disease Facts and Figures.
2. Dr. Hyman – Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You. N Engl J Med; J Affect Disord; Curr Neurovasc Res.; J Gastroenterol.
3. University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.
4. Dr. Thomas O’Bryan website. General statistics and gluten facts.
5. Characteristics of adult celiac disease in the USA: results of a national survey. Green, P.H. et.al. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2001, 2006.
6. Jane Anderson. Revised by Medical Review Board. 2012. Undiagnosed Celiac Disease Can Lead to Infertility: Fertility Often Returns After Starting the Gluten-Free Diet
Stephanie teaches online and local Eating for Healing classes including Gluten-free Living. Each 1.5 to 2-hour class is designed to help you, Make Sense of Nutrition. Each class includes a PowerPoint slide presentation, handouts, recipes and resources related to that particular class title. Locked within each thing we eat is the potential to support or hinder our body systems, organs and life. Within each Eating for Healing class, I thoroughly discuss how nutrition, or the lack thereof, relates to that particular body system or state of 'dis'ease. For example, with the class, Blood Sugar: Benefits of a Low-Glycemic Diet, I describe how blood sugar works in relation to your body's organs, such as adrenals and pancreas, and then we discuss which foods we need to add or remove in order to support the delicate balance. You do not need to be diagnosed with a blood sugar disease to attend a class such as this. Low-Glycemic Eating, just like Cardiovascular Supportive Foods or Inflammation Fighting Foods (other classes), are applicable to anyone who wants to better understand the important role food plays in your the wellness and longevity of that body system (ie. circulatory system or pancreas, etc). Available online and locally. More info at www.wellnessbymothernature.com/eating-for-healing-series.html