The Health Bridge Podcast – Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? with Guest Tom O’Bryan

The Health Bridge Podcast – Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? with Guest Tom O’Bryan

>>Pedram Shojai: Welcome to a special episode
of the Health Bridge. We are actually on the set of the Urban Monk TV show here with my
good friend, Dr. Tom O’Bryan. Doc, welcome.>>Tom O’Bryan: Thank you. Thank you so
much.>>Pedram: Today’s the day, we’ve been talking
about this for a while, I really want to get into this gluten thing. It’s all over the
press. John Oliver’s making jokes about it. It’s funny, except it isn’t, and so I really
want to peel back on gluten and get a better understanding for our listeners because it
is a challenge to know what the right answer is and you’ve got a lot of research going
for you. First, how did you get into understanding this? You got into this in an interesting
fashion, and now you’re the expert at it. How did you end up in the gluten universe?>>Tom: 35 years ago, my wife and I couldn’t
get pregnant. I was in my internship at the time. I called the seven most famous doctors
I’d ever heard of and I asked, “What would you do for infertility?” They all told me
what they do and I wrote it all down and I put a program together. We were pregnant in
6 weeks. My neighbors in married housing had been through artificial insemination and nothing
had worked. They asked if I’d work with them and I said, “Well I don’t really know what
I’m doing but I don’t think it will hurt you.” She was pregnant in 3 months. We were hot
to trot coming out of our internship and ready to go out and heal the world and help everybody
get pregnant that wanted to get pregnant. There’s a checklist of things that you look
for with hormone imbalances, and at the top of the list consistently, I can’t say every
time but consistently, food sensitivities are at the top of the list, almost for everyone
that has hormone irregularities. The most common food was gluten that people were sensitive
to. Back in the late ’70s, there weren’t very good tests available so it was really by trial
and error. Let’s take this out for a few weeks and see how you feel. Now we’ve got much more
science and much more ability to accurately identify this. That got me into it, and it
was 15 years ago that I read a research article in the Journal of Neurology of 10 patients
who had been on workman’s compensation for an average of 8 years because of migraines.
They couldn’t work for 8 years, and somehow in reading that paper, I thought about, “What
about the kids in that family? What’s it like to live in a house like that where there’s
so much stress because dad can’t work and they’re living off of their savings and dad’s
got a headache?” It just hit me. The paper talked about all 10 of these people when they
checked, had a gluten sensitivity, not celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity. When they took
gluten out of the diet, 7 out of 10 had complete relief, 2 out of 10 got partial relief and
the 10th one refused the diet. That just shocked me and you saw the x-rays, the MRIs of these
people in the research article showed they had lesions in their brain from the gluten.
Now I know that you could reverse lesions in the brain sometimes on a gluten-free diet.
There are many studies on this now.>>Pedram: Let’s back up real quick and say
what is gluten, just in case I want to get everyone on the right page here.>>Tom: Gluten is not bad for you. Premise
number 1, gluten is not bad for you. Bad gluten is bad for you. Gluten is the term for a family
of proteins and it’s in most grains. There’s gluten in wheat, rye and barley. Those are
the toxic ones. There’s gluten in corn, rice, quinoa so gluten’s not bad for you. Unfortunately,
the term gluten sensitivity is now in our language and so we associate the word gluten
as being bad. It’s not. Now somebody can be sensitive to rice, that’s really possible
and fairly common but that’s not the type of gluten we’re talking about here. We’re
talking about wheat, rye and barley. It’s a protein. It’s a family of proteins in wheat,
rye and barley. Now, what’s just come out this year in 2015, the papers from Harvard
have come out that show they took 3 different groups of people. They took celiac patients.
That’s when gluten sensitivity is chewing away your gut, it’s eating away at you. They
took people that did not have celiac disease but had a sensitivity to wheat and they took
people that did not have a problem with wheat, 3 different groups, and they looked at 4 different
types of wheat. They looked at 2 modern strains, the hybrid strains of wheat and 2 ancient
strains of wheat. This is for all you people that think it’s okay to eat ancient strains
of wheat, if you have a sensitivity. It’s not. They looked at all 4 types of wheat,
all 3 groups and what did they find? Every type of wheat stimulated the genes for intestinal
permeability, the slang term is leaky gut, in all 3 groups. Every human, every time we
are exposed to wheat, rye or barley, every human develops intestinal permeability every
time.>>Pedram: Wow.>>Tom: Yeah, every time. The science is very
clear now. This is not a fad. This is not some doctor trying to make a name for himself.
There are many, many research papers on this now. Every human, every time.>>Pedram: Some people feel it, some people
get sick from it and some people don’t, so what really separates us in that spectrum?>>Tom: It’s called loss of oral tolerance.
There’s a threshold and whether you’re 2 years old, 20 years old, 65 years old, somewhere
you cross an imaginary line and you can’t put up with this insult anymore, and it’s
the straw that broke the camel’s back. Now you start getting pathogenic intestinal permeability,
so I want to back up a little to give this view. Your intestines are a tube. It’s about
20, 25 feet long from the mouth to the other end. The inside of the tube is lined with
shag carpeting. This shag is where calcium’s absorbed, this shag vitamin C, this shag fish
oils, other shags the amino acids from proteins. All the shags absorb different nutrients.
Celiac disease is when your shags wear down and you’ve got berber. If you have berber,
you don’t absorb calcium. You get osteoporosis. It’s not rocket science. It’s why in the Archives
of Internal Medicine, they say that every osteoporotic patient needs to be checked for
celiac disease as celiac disease could be the cause of their osteoporosis. They’re not
saying every osteoporotic patient has it, but they’re saying it’s so very common that
you just have to check. Have you heard before that women, the most dangerous group with
osteoporosis, osteoporosis is a leading cause of death in women over 60. It’s the complications
from a fracture of the hip and within 1 year, they often pass because they form a clot.
Osteoporosis is very serious. Have you heard that the drugs that are used for osteoporosis
as called bisphophonates? That’s the family of drugs. Your doctor has been shown, the
pharmaceutical rep comes in to visit the doc at lunch. He gets a lunch appointment so they
have an opportunity to talk to the doctor and so they bring lunch in for the staff and
lunch for the doctor and they bring this research article and they start talking about what
the doc’s eating and he’s looking at this article that the pharmaceutical rep has brought
in on the drug he’s talking about, and he’s highlighted a couple of points and so the
doc’s looking at it, “Oh, okay.”, and turn the page and you see yes, the bisphophonates
make more bone and you see the pictures of the x-rays before and after, before they take
the drug and after they take the drug and the x-rays look better. Clearly, you have
more bone, no question about that, but what the pharmaceutical rep doesn’t tell the doctor
is that the bone you make is balsa wood. It’s not oak. It’s balsa wood. It still breaks,
so women that take bisphophonates have almost identical rates of fractures as the women
that don’t take bisphophonates in osteoporosis because if you’re not absorbing your calcium
and vitamin D and vitamin K, you don’t have the building blocks, so the drugs help build
the architecture, the scaffolding for new bone, but it doesn’t get filled in with all
the bricks and the mortar. You have balsa wood so you break bones just as easily.>>Pedram: People who’ve worn down their intestinal
villi or the carpet shags down to berber can’t absorb.>>Tom: They don’t absorb.>>Pedram: Then they become osteoporotic and
then the solution for that is a drug that makes it look better but doesn’t actually
make the bone any stronger and so we have all these people with brittle bones.>>Tom: Exactly.>>Pedram: How do we screen for this, because
I know a lot of people say, “I went to the doctor and they said I’m fine.”>>Tom: There’s one more concept on the bone
thing if I could just stay there for a minute and that’s why the Archives of Internal Medicine
say every osteoporotic patient just needs to be checked. It’s not that they got it,
you just need to check and you have to check accurately so your test, your question is
really relevant. Many, many people have friends who have gotten a check for gluten that says,
“Yeah, I went to my doctor. He checked me and I’m fine. I don’t have celiac disease
but I feel better if I don’t eat wheat.” That’s all in your head. It’s okay. See, here’s the
test results. I like to talk about testing for a minute. There’s 2 types of tests or
2 things to test for when you’re looking at this condition. One is celiac disease. The
other is gluten sensitivity, and they’re different. Celiac disease is when a gluten sensitivity
affects your gut and it wears down the shags. You don’t have to have celiac disease to have
a problem with gluten. For every 1 person that has symptoms in their gut, there are
8 people that don’t. It’s somewhere else. Most common area is the brain or it could
be the kidneys or the lungs or any other tissue in the body. The ratio is 1 out of 8. The
first test is for celiac disease. That test looks at something called transglutaminase.
That’s the blood test that doctors do to confirm if you have celiac disease, and all of the
research papers show the blood test is 97%, 99%, 100% accurate for identifying celiac
disease. How do they know that? Because the researchers, in validating the test, they
went back and they bought the blood of 100 celiac patients. There’s blood banks that
have blood of people with diseases so researchers can get lots of blood of people with lupus
or MS to see if their drugs or tests work. They bought the blood of people with celiac
disease to see, and the transglutaminase test is right on the money every time, every time.
The problem is the blood samples. The blood samples are from people that have celiac disease.
In order to have celiac disease, the diagnosis, your shags have to be worn down completely.
It’s called total villous atrophy. It’s the end stage of the disease. The earlier stage,
which could be there for years causing problems, the shags may be just a little bit worn down
or you might just have the inflammation before the shags get worn down, and you could have
lots of problems with that. You don’t have to have the shags completely worn down, but
when you look at people on the whole spectrum of the celiac spectrum, the blood test transglutaminase
is 27% to 33% accurate. It comes back with false negatives 7 out of 10 times. Those people
who get a blood test, they’re told they’re fine, there’s no problem here. They stop eating
wheat and they feel better and the doctor tells them, “It’s all in your head.”, and
they’re confused. They don’t know, this is the reason why, because your doctor doesn’t
know that the test or the research articles that say the test is right on the money, that
they used people with celiac disease as the samples to check>>Pedram: All the time.>>Tom: It’s cherry picking the data. It wasn’t
their intent to be misleading because they just look for people with celiac, but you
don’t get the diagnosis unless your shags are completely worn down. That’s the first
test. Those are 2 tests, if I may.>>Pedram: Yeah of course.>>Tom: The second test, for transglutaminase,
if it comes back positive, you’ve got a problem but if it comes back negative, it doesn’t
necessarily mean you don’t have a problem. It’s not sensitive to the earlier stages,
which can be just as bad, just as devastating. You get seizures, you get attention deficit,
you can get autism, you can get chest pain, you can get muscle pains with earlier stages
of celiac disease. It doesn’t have to be at the end stage. If it comes back positive,
you got the problem but it’s not comprehensive for the earlier stages. The second test is
looking for the sensitivity to gluten itself, not looking to see if the shags are worn down.
Here’s your body fighting this food to say you got a problem with this food. Now if you
think of gluten as a pearl necklace, the protein is like a pearl necklace, hydrochloric acid
undoes the clasp of the pearl necklace. Now you got to string the pearls and our enzymes
are supposed to act like scissors to cut off each pearl of the pearl necklace. The problem
with gluten proteins and wheat, rye and barley, we don’t have the enzymes to cut it down into
each individual amino acid. The best we can do is break it into clumps of pearls, a 17-pearl
clump, a 33-pearl clump, a 19-pearl clump. All these different clumps of pearls are called
peptides, and the problem is those peptides trigger the inflammation in your intestines.
The blood test to look for that, every laboratory in the country looks at a 33-pearl clump called
alpha gliadin, and 50% of celiacs will have alpha gliadin elevated but the other 50% don’t.
You say, “Wait a minute, celiac disease, if you know they’re celiac, celiac disease is
a reaction to gluten but the gluten test is coming back negative.” I guess the gluten
test is not very good. No. That’s just one of the peptides. There are many peptides.
There are over 50 that have been identified as triggering the immune system to fight the
food. There’s over 50 of these peptides, but every laboratory in the country just tests
one. They don’t test the others. Why? No one has an answer as to why. A laboratory opened
4 years ago that looks at the top 10 peptides of gluten, and you don’t get the false negatives
anymore. In terms of testing, we have to know those 2 things. One, transglutaminase, it
comes back positive, you got a problem. If it comes back negative, it doesn’t mean that
you don’t have a problem. It means we don’t know, and then gluten. If you do alpha gliadin
and it comes back positive, you got a problem with gluten but if it comes back negative,
it doesn’t mean you don’t. The test from the lab is called Cyrex, Cyrex Lab, C-Y-R-E-X,, if that test comes back positive, you got a problem. If it comes back negative,
you likely don’t. You likely don’t. You still could, because there are others, but you likely
don’t.>>Pedram: They’ve looked at the top 10 out
of these 50 and basically statistically, chances are these are the ones that are going to be
the ones that create a reaction with your immune system.>>Tom: That’s exactly right, exactly right.>>Pedram: You’ve gone through this whole
arc and you have people that have it all worn down that are totally sick and not doing well
or getting osteoporotic and people that have sensitivities and just know that they feel
better when they’re not eating grains, and yet the Harvard study is saying everyone has
been affected.>>Tom: Everyone reacts. Now whether your
system can calm it down, we’ve got these shags, right? These shags are covered with cheese
cloth so that only really small molecules can get through, so when the scissors break
down the pearl necklace, those little pearls called amino acids can go right through the
cheese cloth into the blood stream and your body uses them to make new muscle and bone
and all that. The cheese cloth controls so you’ve got this tube from the mouth to the
other end, it’s lined with cheese cloth so only real small molecules can get through
into the blood stream. What happens when you’re exposed to gluten is that you tear the cheese
cloth, but the fastest-growing cells in the body are the inside lining of the intestines.
Every 3 to 7 days, we have a whole new lining to our intestines. It’s like the skin of a
snake, just kind of shedding it right off. You tear the cheese cloth but it heals after
the toast at breakfast. You have a sandwich for lunch, you tear the cheese cloth but it
heals. You have pasta for dinner. You tear the cheese cloth but it heals. A cookie, you
tear the cheese cloth but it heals. Croutons on your salad tear the cheese cloth but it
heals, day in, day out, day in and day out for the most popular food that we eat in our
culture today, which is wheat-based products, day in, day out, day in, day out, until 1
day, you cross that imaginary threshold, you don’t heal anymore. It’s called a loss of
oral tolerance, oral meaning what we eat, tolerance that we can tolerate this little
insult we heal from it, but when you have a loss of oral tolerance, you don’t heal anymore.
Now you have tears in the cheese cloth. That’s called pathogenic intestinal permeability.
The slang term is the leaky gut. Now you get these bigger molecules, getting through the
tears in the cheese cloth before there’s been enough time for those molecules to be broken
down into the smaller pieces. Those bigger molecules are called macro molecules, big
molecules so it gets into your blood stream. Here comes a tomato and before it’s broken
down completely, a clump of the tomato gets into the blood stream. Your immune system
says, “What’s this? This is not good for me. I better fight this.” You make the antibodies
to tomatoes. Your body’s protecting you from this macro molecule that got in there that’s
not supposed to get in, and then beef and then chicken and then spices and then bananas.
These are people that do a 90-food panel and it comes back and it shows they’re allergic
to 25 or 30 foods and the people say, “Oh my God, that’s all that I eat.” Of course,
that’s what you eat because your immune system’s doing what it’s supposed to do to protect
you. You don’t want to shut down the immune system. You want to heal the leaky gut. That’s
the critical component here. When you do that, 6 months to a year later, when you do that
90-food panel again, now you’re sensitive to 1 or 2 foods and those are true allergies.>>Pedram: When you develop an allergy, because
people have been told that once you develop an allergy, you have antibodies — like tomatoes,
you’re always going to have problems with tomatoes for the rest of your life because
the body has now registered that as an allergy or sensitivity, but you’re saying that if
it hasn’t gone too far and you clear the leaky gut, you’re really not going to get those
big macro tomato clumps in there and then the immune system backs off?>>Tom: When people get a vaccination like
for measles, you get a shot of the bug measles. Your brain says, “Oh this is not good for
me.” Your immune system, you have an Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, IgA, IgG, IgM,
IgE, they’re branches of the immune system that are there to protect you. Your brain
says, “You general, in the Air Force maybe, general, you sit around with nothing to do,
you fight this. Get rid of this.” Now you have General Tomato and General Tomato builds
an assembly line. The assembly line starts producing soldiers that are trained to go
after these tomato macro molecules in your blood stream. Those soldiers are called antibodies,
and they’re going around in the blood stream. They fire a chemical bullet called cytokines,
and they’re just trying to destroy the tomatoes. That’s all they do is destroy tomatoes. When
all the tomatoes are gone, the tomato molecules are gone, General Tomato, who’s watching this,
says, “Okay, turn off the assembly line. We don’t need those soldiers anymore.”, so if
I were to check you right now, you shouldn’t have antibodies to measles in your blood stream,
but unless you’ve been exposed, but General Measles or General Tomato is now vigilant
the rest of his life, the rest of his life. If measles ever gets into your body again,
then General Measles, who’s watching this, he just has to flip the switch. He doesn’t
have to build the assembly line again. That takes months. He just has to flip the switch.
That’s why if you go to Africa, you need vaccinations for yellow fever, dengue fever, all these
strange diseases months and months ahead of time, but if you go back to visit 15 years
later, you just need a booster shot 2 weeks before you go. Everybody knows about booster
shots. All they have to do is wake up General Yellow Fever. General Yellow Fever is called
a memory b-cell. Memory b-cells, their job is to keep the memory that this is not good.
As far as I know, the only food that we have identified memory b-cells to, as far as I
know, is gluten. There are no memory b-cells in tomatoes, so that we know gluten, if you
have elevated antibodies to gluten, it’s lifelong. You can’t reverse that. People say, “Well,
I can reverse this.” Some doctors say, “I can reverse it.” Well, show me that you shut
down the memory b-cells. They don’t do that. What they’re able to do with their protocols
is get rid of the symptoms you had when you were exposed to gluten, which is helpful but
people are misled because you’re still tearing the cheese cloth and you have these antibodies
in there. We don’t know about memory b-cells to eggs or to chicken or to any other food,
just gluten. That’s the one food that we know is permanent.>>Pedram: That’s great news. It’s like a
gateway drug into the rest of it.>>Tom: Exactly, so that you probably can
eat some or most of those foods again but you just have to check. How you feel is not
a measure of whether the food is okay for you or not. It’s critical that you feel good
when you eat a food or you don’t feel bad but you can’t use that as the determining
factor if the food is okay, because the damage — see, you pull at a chain, the chain breaks
at the weakest link. It could be at one end, the middle, the other end, your heart, your
brain, your liver, your kidneys, whatever your genetic weak link is. If your weak link
is in your brain, like it was for me, and you are exposed to gluten, you may not feel
bad in your tummy when you eat it, but you may get elevated antibodies to your brain
tissue, and it’s killing off your brain cells, and over the years, it gets more and more
damaged. Nobody gets Alzheimer’s in their ’60s or ’70s. You get Alzheimer’s in your
20s and 30s. It’s a decades-long process of killing off brain cells. Just last November,
Dr. Dale Bredesen, who runs the Alzheimer’s Research Center at UCLA, he published the
first paper showing reversing Alzheimer’s in 10 patients over 3 years. He reversed Alzheimer’s,
and what did he do? He got rid of all the inflammation. Food sensitivities were a critical
component of that. There were more but it’s just get rid of the inflammation, calm down
the fire. You don’t feel fire in the brain. You don’t feel it unless you’re lucky enough
to get headaches or migraines or attention deficit or something, then you have symptoms
which is the alert to do something, but most times, you don’t feel it. I had elevated antibodies
to three different tissues in my brain, myelin, basic protein which causes MS, cerebellar
peptides, which is why old people can’t walk with grace anymore, they’re really cautious
is because their cerebellum has been attacked for many, many years, and gangly sides, which
causes numbness and tingling. I have all 3. I looked at this and said, “What? This is
a mistake.”, because I was a triathlete. This was about 12 years ago. I was a triathlete
in the peak of my life and I called Bless, “This is a mistake.” “No it’s not.” “Do it
again.” “We did. We know it’s you. We did it again. It’s accurate.” It was a wakeup
call for me because I didn’t have any symptoms at all.>>Pedram: Can you explain the difference
between this myelin sensitivity and the memory b-cell? Now we’re talking about autoimmunity,
which is something that’s a whole different game coming from this gluten issue.>>Tom: That’s the big cajun. That’s actually
the problem. The problem is not gluten causes sore tummies or something like that. The problem
— we’ve always thought that cardiovascular disease is the number 1 cause of death, and
that cancer’s number 2 and we know that autoimmune diseases are number 3. Now they’re looked
at separately, they’re in separate silos like a farm has silos to store the corn. The silos
of medicine that if you have MS, you go to a neurologist. If you have psoriasis, you
go to a dermatologist. If you have rheumatoid, you go to a rheumatologist and they focus
on your symptoms, but the mechanisms that cause all of this are the same, the same basic
mechanisms. There’s a trilogy in the development of autoimmune diseases. First is the genetic
vulnerability to the disease. Second is an environmental trigger that sets it off, the
straw that broke the camel’s back, and third is intestinal permeability, the leaky gut.
Papers started coming out 10 years ago that said you can arrest, and that’s their language,
arrest the development of autoimmune disease by healing the gut, and doctors went, “What?
What?” Yes, you can arrest rheumatoid by healing the gut and we’ve done it so many times, so
the focus, the takeaway focus to this talk today for you and I is your gut is primary,
irrespective of what symptoms you have, you want to put attention on your gut, right?
How do you get this intestinal permeability, the leaky gut? You tear the cheese cloth,
and when you cross that imaginary line and it doesn’t heal anymore, that’s when you get
pathogenic intestinal permeability, the big molecules go into the blood stream and that
starts the whole cascade. Whatever the weak link in your chain is, that’s where you’ll
have your symptoms.>>Pedram: Grandma never had this problems,
I never heard about this stuff. Why is it that now — this is what I hear all the time.
It’s like it never used to be this way. Why all of a sudden, we’ve been eating bread for
10,000 years, why all of a sudden is this an issue?>>Tom: Yeah, really good question. There’s
2 studies that I’ll talk to on that. One is from Mayo, Mayo Clinic and they found 9,734
I think it was, samples of blood from airmen from the 1950s. What a gold mine, if you’re
a researcher, to find blood that’s been frozen and still good from 60 years ago, to compare
people back then with people today, what a gold mine. You can argue, when you’ve actually
got the blood, because you could test it, we have better equipment now for testing.
They looked at these 9,000 plus blood samples of mostly men. There weren’t many women in
the Air Force and they checked to see how many of them had silent celiac disease, which
means their shags were worn down and so transglutaminase would be positive. Their shags were worn down
but they didn’t have any symptoms that they knew about that were associated. They may
have headaches but they didn’t know that could have been a problem with what they were eating.
What did they find? Then they compared with 9,000 men from Humble County, Minnesota, which
is where Mayo is, same age bracket who came in for physicals. They were healthy and they
just came in for physicals.>>Pedram: In the 1950s or present day?>>Tom: 2009, 2009, so 9,000 guys from the
1950s and 9,000 guys from today and they looked at the same blood markers and they looked
to see how many of these people have celiac disease and didn’t know it. They found that
the guys today, there’s a four-fold incrase in the number of people that have the disease
today than had it in the 1950s, 4 times more, not 50% more, not 100% more, not 2 times more,
4 times more than 60 years ago, and they followed these guys from the Air Force from the 1950s
because they were veterans so they could file their health history because they go to the
VA for their services throughout their life. How long did they live? What did they die
from? We know the projections of someone diagnosed today in their 20s, we know how long will
they live and what will they die from. They found that the expected life span is also
shorter for the men today than it was in the 1960s. It’s 3.86-fold shorter life span than
the guys back in the 1950s. More people are getting it today and they’re dying earlier.
That’s consistent, well there’s one more study I’ll tell you about but that’s consistent,
the journal medicine article that you’re familiar with that came out 9 years ago that said for
the first time in the history of human civilization, for the very first time, our children have
a shorter projected life span than their parents, for the first time in history of humanity,
your kids are going to get sick earlier, get diseases earlier and die earlier than you.
That means our healthcare system isn’t working, so this study from the Air Force base in the
1950s and Mayo Clinic today is consistent with that study. Here’s the second study,
why more now. In Brazil, they looked at children diagnosed with — how many children? I don’t
know how many. I think it was 400 or 500, I’m not sure, in the number of people and
they did blood tests on how many kids have celiac disease, and they looked elders, their
grandparents and how many of the same numbers of grandparents have celiac disease. They
compare them, and what did they find? There was a 5.3-fold increased number of kids today
that are getting it than the old people that have it, 5 times more kids have it than the
old people. It’s just ramping up. It’s ramping up, so the question is why.>>Pedram: It is a thing, it is happening.
It’s not in our heads.>>Tom: Right, it’s getting worse. It’s not
in your head. It’s getting worse. It’s not a fad. It’s getting worse. Here’s why. It’s
called loss of oral tolerance, that when we go to a picnic and we eat the potato salad,
how come 4 people get sick out of the 20 that ate it? All 20 people don’t get sick. It’s
because those 4 people, the strength of the immune system in their gut can’t handle the
bacteria because the potato salad was left out too long in the sun, so more bacteria
grew in there and their immune systems are vulnerable. They don’t have tolerance. Everyone
else’s immune system, “Oh this is a bad bug. Let’s just deal with this. Let’s get the
bug out of here.”And your immune system in the gut can deal with it, but for those
people that got sick, they can’t deal with it, so it’s loss of oral tolerance. The loss
of oral tolerance is occurring earlier and earlier in humanity today because of all of
the stuff we’re exposed to, all of the toxins we’re exposed to. You think fish is good for
you, but what about the mercury? You think rice is good for you, but what about the arsenic?
We’re exposed to so many toxins in what we thought to be good foods, that it builds up
and builds up and builds up in our system and we lose tolerance, that our immune system
is fighting so hard, it’s hyper-vigilant and it becomes anxious. It’s got anxiety and the
littlest thing comes, “No, got to fight that.” And the result is what we could tolerate before,
we could no longer tolerate.>>Pedram: It sounds like a metaphor for all
of life, really.>>Tom: That’s right.>>Pedram: Yeah, I mean–>>Tom: It’s lifestyle.>>Pedram: Yeah, we’re pushed to the brink
and it seems like the chemical exposure is adding to that. Then the answer would obviously
be if you’re sensitive to the stuff, back off. If you’re not sensitive
to the stuff, back off and build some tolerance, build some resilience. Is there a way to create
a cushion to build up the vitality to do something to help us offset this and maybe heal the
gut?>>Tom: You bet. You bet there is, and for
all of our viewers here today, the message is really clear. Heal your gut. Start learning
about how to identify if there’s any issues in my gut. I don’t mean stomach pain. I mean
the microbiome, the good bacteria that’s there. We have 10 times more cells of the good bacteria
in our intestines than all the cells in our body put together, all the muscle cells, skin
cells, bone cells. You add them all up. There’s 10 times more cells of bacteria in our gut.
That bacteria has 150 to 200 times more genes than the human genome, and genes control function.
We now know without doubt, there’s no question, your gut controls brain function. Your gut
determines how much of the nerve hormones called neurotransmitters that your brain makes.
That’s controlled by the bacteria in the gut. They send the messages to say make more serotonin.
Make more dopamine. All these neurotransmitters that are critical to how we feel, whether
we’re happy or depressed, anxious or schizophrenic, that those neurotransmitters are produced
by messages that come from the bacteria in the gut, so that when you have abnormal environment
in the gut, you get mixed messages going up to the brain, and so your brain function is
altered from it. That whole world is called enteric neuroscience, and people are getting
their Ph.Ds now in enteric neuroscience. There’s papers coming out all the time and if you’re
a physician and you look at all the seminars that are coming out, there’s seminars every
month now for doctors to go to or to listen to online about the value of working on the
microbiome in the gut. For our listeners here and viewers at home, the key is learn everything
you can overtime, don’t be fanatical on this but you just put a little bit of attention
regularly on healing your gut. One of the recommendations I give to all of our patients
is everyday, everyday, you have a forkful of fermented vegetables. Just a forkful, it
doesn’t matter which ones, sauerkraut, kimchi. Whole Foods sells 10 different types that
you can get like curry flavored or caraway seed flavored but have a little fermented
vegetables because they help encourage the good bacteria in the gut. That’s just one
little thing that you can do. Going to the store and buying a bottle of probiotics, the
good bacteria and taking it one capsule a day is not going to get the job done, and
that’s what we thought back in the 1970s and the 1980s and it’s helpful. There’s no reason
why not to, but that’s not the complete approach. The foods that we eat, the more organic the
foods, the better. They’re spraying GM — they’re spraying the GMO chemical called glyphosate.
They spray it on the wheat now in our country 3 weeks before they harvest. Why? It kills
the wheat and then it doesn’t clog up the combine machines, so all of the wheat, if
it’s not organic now, has residue of glyphosate on it. That’s your breads and your cookies
and all of that, if they’re not organic, and glyphosate causes intestinal permeability.
You tear the cheese cloth so that’s another insult besides the wheat itself and the pearl
necklace clumps of peptides, now just the chemical that comes along for the ride with
the wheat, glyphosate causes intestinal permeability.>>Pedram: When you have a 3 year old or a
5 year old that’s having trouble, does the kid even have a chance to mess things up?
That’s when we got to start looking at the bacteria that came through mom and dad and
just the genetic line. I’d look for you to speak to that a bit.>>Tom: You bet, you bet. In Sweden, they
have socialized medicines. They have records on everybody. When a child is born, they poke
the baby’s finger and they put a drop of blood on a card. They dry the card and they store
it. They’ve got 50 million cards. They’ve been doing this since the 1960s. They looked
at people currently diagnosed with schizophrenia, so they’re in their 30s or 40s, and they went
back and they looked at the card from their birth. What did they find when they looked
at the card? They looked at that drop of blood on the card for antibodies to gluten, the
gliadin antibodies that we talked about earlier. They look for antibodies to gluten. Now babies
don’t make antibodies at birth. The antibodies that a baby has in their blood stream when
they’re born come from mom. Why? In the eighth month of pregnancy, mom starts sending antibodies
down to baby, to the fetus, “Okay, baby, here’s some antibodies to cats. We have cats at home.
They’re nice cats. You don’t have to freak out. Here’s some antibodies so you don’t freak
out.”, or “We live in the woods and the leaves fall down and the leaves decay. There’s mold
in the air. Here’s some antibodies to the mold around our home.” Baby is being prepped
for the world that baby’s about to come out into, and what world is that? Mom’s world.
It’s a perfect system. If we didn’t have this, we wouldn’t be here today, so baby comes out
with some immunity to the bugs in the air and the bacteria and stuff. Cats carry lots
of bugs and baby is prepped and prepared. They look at that drop of blood of babies
at birth to see, did they have elevated antibodies to gluten? What did they find? Those babies
with the top 10% of antibodies to gluten had a 70% increased likelihood of developing schizophrenia
30 to 40 years later. Those babies in the top 5% of antibodies to gluten had a 240%
increased risk of developing schizophrenia 30 to 40 years later. I show that slide in
my presentations to doctors and they sit there and they say, “Wow.” Some of them were like
deer on the headlights, “I didn’t know that. Wow, what do I do with that?” Here’s what
you do with this, every woman of child-bearing age is just checked to see, do they have elevated
antibodies to gluten before they get pregnant, especially the women that have a family history
of any type of cognitive complaints or mental disorders in the family, especially them because
this is genetic. If the woman has elevated antibodies to gluten, you just explain to
her, “Here’s a study that just came out. Nobody knows why this happens but this is shocking,
so to help your baby have the best shot possible, let’s guide you in having a nutrient-dense,
really rich diet, great nutrients and vitamins so your body’s good and strong and your brain
and nervous system are strong, so if and when you get pregnant, you and your husband are
ready to get pregnant, your body is ready to go to create the best environment for baby.”
That’s the way to use these kinds of studies, is to see, you’re at high risk, here’s how
you reduce the risk.>>Pedram: The challenge today is I saw gluten
in shampoo the other day. Gluten is everywhere so even if you’re trying to behave at the
restaurant, you might have some issues. You’d mentioned a couple of studies I’d live for
you to talk about, and also just the amount of products that we put the stuff in and I
don’t even know why. I mean it’s a good binding agent I guess.>>Tom: Yeah, it is a binding agent. Gluten
means glue and so it stretches but doesn’t break. That means your bread can rise higher.
Your cookies and muffins can be lighter and all that. They’ve got gluten. They put gluten
in dental retainers, so your kids that are wearing retainers, they’ve got gluten in them.
There’s gluten in vitamins. There’s gluten in your drugs. You have to ask the pharmacist,
“Is this gluten free?” Well I don’t know. Find out. They’ll check for you. They may
not want to but if you ask, they will. They’ll find out. It’s in your spices. McDonald’s
puts gluten in their french fries. We are at Jay Alexander’s last week. It’s a chain
restaurant, and I’m going to put this on film. I’m saying this here, because we ordered gluten-free
foods and my sister ordered a piece of fish grilled with a little bit of olive oil and
some rice. I said, “Ask the chef if there’s any gluten in this meal anywhere.”, then the
waiter said, “No, no there’s none.” “Yeah, I understand but just ask him anyway.” He
came to us, “Oh apparently, we put flour in our rice.” I didn’t know that. All of our
rice dishes have flour in it. It’s hidden. You’d never know you’re getting the exposure.
Three of the last 7 Japanese restaurants I’ve gone to, I’ve asked the same question and
the waitress comes back and says, “Yes, the chef puts a scoop of flour in the sushi rice.”
You can’t naively think that foods that don’t look like they have gluten are safe, that
you have to ask, you have to inquire, you have to learn how to ask the right questions.
The FDA just published a study in early 2015, I think it was in January of 2015, 3 of their
scientists, they looked at 275 different foods, gluten-free foods. They put them in 2 categories.
One category was labeled gluten-free, the other category was naturally gluten-free but
not labeled, like rice cakes and you read the label, it’s rice and salt but it’s not
labeled on the outside gluten-free. They looked at these 2 categories of gluten-free foods.
What did they find when they were searching for gluten? The foods that were labeled gluten-free,
97.3% of them were actually gluten-free but just under 3% had toxic levels of gluten.
That’s a pretty good ratio for the industry but it’s not good if you’re one of the people
…>>Pedram: If you’re in those 2.7.>>Tom: You’re in that 2.7, right. In the
foods that were naturally gluten-free, 24.7% of them had toxic levels of gluten, 24.7,
1 out of 4 times, when you eat quinoa or you eat amarant cookies or you eat granola bars
that have no gluten on the label but they’re not labeled gluten-free, 1 out of 4 times,
you’re getting toxic levels of gluten. Here’s the problem with that is that a single exposure,
you activate the memory B-cell, General Gluten, he turns on the assembly line, starts producing
the soldiers and that whole inflammatory cascade goes for at least 3 months and for some, as
long as 6 months, from one exposure, from one exposure. It’s overwhelming when you start
thinking about this. I’ve been working for years to come up with a solution for that
and there are some enzymes and things that help with that.>>Pedram: That’s really the promise, is yes,
medicine now recognizes this. Now we got to figure out a way out of it, but exposing yourself
to gluten is a bad idea, period, and it sounds like we have to be — I have so many people
that come to me and say, “It is just so aggravating and so frustrating for me because I can’t
relax. I can’t go out. I can’t eat. I can’t do any of these things. It’s like I feel like
I’m not living my life anymore.”, but at the same time, 3 to 6 months of suffering that
comes from taking that exposure because you let it go.>>Tom: Yeah, there’s a point that I didn’t
carry forward I like to carry forward now and it’s about autoimmunity. I talked about
heart disease and cancer and autoimmunity is number 3. That’s accepted as the number
3 cause of getting sick and dying. However, papers started coming out 10 years ago that
show atherosclerosis, hardening of your arteries, is an autoimmune process. What becomes the
number 1 mechanism in getting sick and dying in the world, it’s your immune system attacking
cell, autoimmunity. That’s why this is so critically important for you and your family
to understand just the basics of this. It’s going to take some time to study. You’ll listen
to this interview again and again and then you’ll start searching for more information.
It’s critical that you get this, that the autoimmune mechanism is the number 1 cause
of getting sick and dying in the world, number 1. Where does it come from? Genetic vulnerability,
environmental trigger, intestinal permeability, so you have to correct the tears in the cheese
cloth to protect your family, you and your family. You have to prevent the tearing of
the cheese cloth. You have to create the environment in the microbiome so that it’s strong enough
to deal with the insult and to heal. That’s primary.>>Pedram: It sounds like there’s no other
way around this but through it.>>Tom: That’s right. That’s exactly right.
That’s why I train physicians on this all over the world. We have over 450 doctors now
that are certified gluten practitioners, and they know this. They know how to test for
it. They know how to treat it. They know the education process that people have to go through.
It takes 6 months, sometimes a year, to really get it down so that you’re on track. You’re
going to blow it sometimes, it happens, but you learn from the experience so that if it
takes you a year to really get this down, now you and your family are gluten-free and
you’re vibrant and healthy and those headaches are gone. The attention deficit’s come down.
The teacher said the new drugs you’re using are really working with your son and you say,
“I didn’t give him any drugs. I just put him on a diet.”, and the teacher says, “I’ve heard
that before.” That happens fairly regularly for people because the kid’s brain starts
working better. Let me tell you about that study. In the Journal of Attention Disorders,
they looked at 132 kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They put them on a
strict gluten-free diet. Within 6 months, every child or the parents reported improvement
in all 12 DSM4 markers for attention deficit, doesn’t pay attention, fails to finish work,
blurts out answers, interrupts frequently, can’t sit still. All 12 markers improved in
every child within 6 months and the teachers say, “The new drugs you give are working.”,
because they don’t know. They don’t know. If that were a drug, it would be in the front
page of every paper in the country but there’s no profit in this, so there’s no one — the
messenger trying to carry this out to everybody.>>Pedram: There was a little bit of a diamond
in the rough there when you had mentioned these statistics, when you said close to 97%
of the labeled foods were actually what they said they were versus the non. It seems like
if we had a little bit more emphasis on food companies actually going and labeling and
certifying that things are gluten-free and being a little more meticulous, that would
at least help carve into that 24%, almost 25% of foods that are just burning us.>>Tom: That’s exactly right. That is a really
good strategic approach to take is to write letters to the companies, to Kellogg and General
Mills and all of those companies. If they get 10,000 letters, they start to listen.
They start to, “Oh, we might need to look into this a little deeper.” That’s a really
good point.>>Pedram: It’s funny, just yesterday, day
before this recording a very big Swiss company, it’s a grocery chain that started to ban glyphosate.
Why? Because the consumers said, “Hey, get this out of our food.” It is happening. The
tide is turning. Things are starting to work but it’s from information like this and conversations
like this that people then go, “Hey, wait a minute.”, and then they go start writing
companies and doing things and changing things around their lives.>>Tom: I saw a video from Sweden and it was
someone like you in the Urban Monk who did this video of a family of four, a family of
four who went organic, and they went organic for 3 weeks and all the food was given to
them to be organic for 3 weeks and they measured the amount of toxic chemicals in their urine
before they started, and then they measured it throughout the 3-week period, and by the
end, at the beginning, you were shocked to see that the boy, little boy and the girl
and the mom and dad all had very high levels of these toxic chemicals that cause cancer,
cause many other degenerative diseases. We all have this, by the way, but here was the
measurement and you give them organic food for 3 weeks and it just went right down to
almost zero, almost zero within 3 weeks. That came out of Sweden so it’s that kind of information,
that kind of general public, “Hey, listen to this,” and then the public says, “We
demand, I want more organic,” or in this case, “I want no GMO,” which is what we
need to do in this country.>>Pedram: Yeah, and it all starts with some
examples but don’t wait to be on the other side of history. I think the moral of the
story here is you’ve heard what Dr. O’Bryan had to say. It’s time to really start taking
a close look at what you’re eating, and pulling the gluten out to see how you feel and understand
that if you have been exposed, 3 to 6 months might need to go by before a lot of this stuff
starts to clear.>>Tom: But you feel better quickly, usually
within 3 days to a week, you feel better on a gluten-free diet. Most people do, but the
immune system will not calm down that quickly.>>Pedram: That’s one thing I’d like to share
is a personal story is I can eat bread and feel fine, but then a couple of days later,
I find that all my orthopedic issues are worse. My joints are achy. The hip that I hurt hurts
more and I didn’t put 2 and 2 together for years and then as I cut out the gluten, it
became so clear, clear as day, within a day or 2, all of a sudden whatever it was, much
better.>>Tom: Yeah, back in the day when I was doing
marathons, I used to run a lot of marathons and I’d eat a pint of Haagen Dazs 3 or 4 times
a week, but only honey-vanilla because there’s no sugar. That’s the silly logic I use and
I noticed that I had chest pains every once in awhile, and I said, “Where is this coming
from?”, because I have a family history of heart disease so I was concerned. I went and
I had lots of exams and scores off the charts on their treadmills and the MRIs, the 64-slice
MRIs were all normal. Everything was great, “No, you’re fine.” I said, “I get this chest
pain.” “Well it must be in your head.” He actually told me that. One day I was on vacation
or something and I came back and I had Haagen Dazs, and the next day, my chest pain and
I associated, “No, that can’t be. That’s not it.”, and so I just kept eating, but then
here’s the chest pain. It would just keep coming, and then when I stopped the ice cream,
the chest pain was gone. Same thing with gluten, for some people, it’s dairy. For some it’s
gluten but the symptoms that you just live with, you think, “Well I’m healthy but…”,
and when you get the gluten out of your diet, the … goes away.>>Pedram: Fantastic. Doc, how do people find
you?>>Tom:>>Pedram: The doctor, Dr. Tom
O’Bryan, you are a gentleman and a scholar, great to have you here, always a pleasure.>>Tom: Thank you, thank you so much.>>Pedram: Yeah, see you next time.

26 thoughts on “The Health Bridge Podcast – Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? with Guest Tom O’Bryan

  1. If you are a diabetic, first thing, cut anything with gluten. I'm Native American and all symptoms disappeared within 10 days. I went back, an experiment, and tried some things. snapped right back into the nasty. My mother, a severe diabetic, tried it and within a few weeks was back to her old self and so on. Ditto the uncles and aunts who went gluten-free.

  2. Thank you, Pedram, for this interview. Dr. Tom is a wealth of information on this topic. I was wondering if there might be any show notes from this podcast? In particular, I am looking for the studies that Dr. Tom references in this interview. Thank you!

  3. OMG what a FANTASTIC interview!!! Thank you so much Dr Pedram Shojai and Dr Tom O'Bryan for making available to us such highly critical information. And Pedram, just want to say how much I love all that you have been doing and teaching – your Qigong videos, Urban Monk, podcasts with Dr Sara Gottfried etc. Truly inspiring. Thank you from the bottom of my heart :))

  4. Interesting I didn't know that people with celiac disease body doesn't absorb calcium as much. Kind of disturbing to hear. I do take it in Vitamin D.

  5. This is disturbing because I and many others have celiac disease and its a bit alarming for me to hear. There has to be a way of being better

  6. Whatever is in the wheat, gluten or evil spirits, is slowly killing many people. I've been wheat free for over 6 years and I can tell you I've never felt and looked better at 43 years old. No more sinus infections, plugged sinuses, migraines, heartburn, pimples, sore muscles and joints, loose stool/constipation, weight gain, mouth ulcers, nose full of boogers and I don't get sunburned anymore just tan!

    I recently did a test to see if I could handle homemade sourdough bread made with organic flour. All those symptoms came back :(. Sucks because I love sourdough bread but it's not worth the pain and discomfort. Even beer will make me sick which also sucks because I love a good lager and GF versions aren't the same.

  7. Great interview. Just crazy easy listening. I'm self diagnosed with gluten sensitivity 🙂 but only seem to get symptoms from various foods with gluten. I suffer migraines quite quickly after consuming beer, Lemon lime and bitters, wheat bix and oats. Grained bread and pastries, including pizzas, I don't tend to suffer any symptoms from. Obviously there are other issues with partaking in gluten. As stated, without fail I will quickly suffer from unshakable, nauseating migraines from foods mentioned. I did suffer slight migraines from smoked almonds and a particular ice cream. Other than that I don't have symptoms from other foods containing gluten, which includes McDonald's and fries. Nothing from KFC. Just curious if gluten is my issue. Current doctor knows little about gluten but surely can see a case for certified gluten practitioners.

  8. when this guy said when you and your husband get pregnant i threw up in my mouth … chopping of testical's left and right

  9. He mentions a threshold we all have as to how much abuse our bodies can take over time. Now, can someone give me some HOPE? Not all of us are able to go gluten free even in one year's time, a lot of us are struggling and at times depend on WiC vouchers that basically provides us with all allergens, highly processed, chemically laden foods. IF one can go partially gluten free (as much as economical situations allow us to be) does that mean the threshold could extend, for example, instead of having a limit of 5 years until full on chronic disease comes in, can low intake of gluten postpone and extend the threshold? Thank you

  10. 🤔Heck yes gluten sensitivity / intolerance is real! It almost killed me & that is very real! I’m pretty sure now that this is why I couldn’t have kids!! And OMG my migraines were so bad that sometimes I wanted to cut my head off because I imaged a serrated edge knife cutting my head off would be relief & had to feel better than my migraine…that’s how bad it was. 😩

  11. I had noticeable improvement when I cut out gluten but even more with corn. Everything he says about breads i feel about corn too. Lifelong asthma went away in five days by cutting out corn and nightshades… I had been gf for about a year.

  12. The stuff they bleach white bread with causes diabetes. It is not the natural grain it is poison used to process it or the round up on it. Buy organic flour and make home made bread. I will be doing it soon.

  13. I suspect that gluten has been the root cause of my afib episodes at a age of 40 notice every time I had pizza or Subway sub with throw me into afib due to inflammation maybe that's why it seems like an epidemic of younger people today having afib when it was something that you get your 70s and eighties I'm not your thirties and forties

  14. Amazing interview ,full of healthy information. Thank you very much for this priceless advices.🙏And please continuing this amazing dedicated job, in helping educate some people on this planet earth.

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