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Gluten Connection?

Discussion in 'Women's Alopecia Areata' started by joli1229, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    Hello friends... I am 59 years old, and I have been dealing with alopecia areata for ten years. It first began as two quarter sized spots on the back of my head which worried me greatly, but which also disappeared within a few months with no treatment. A few months later, I began losing hair along the outside margins. This pattern has slowly but steadily crept upwards until it now has nearly reached the crown. There is a 1/2 wide strip of hair on the top of my head, with a large horseshoe (2 inches wide) around it completely smooth, and the hair beneath slowly growing back in solid white and very fine.

    Over the years, I have tried everything from dietary supplements to essential oils (lavender, rosemary, atlas cedar, red thyme) to cortisone injections. Due to unrelated (???) digestive issues, I visited my gastroenterologist today. Because I believe all issues with the body are interconnected, I asked him about the alopecia areata. He took immediate interest and said that he had previously tested me for Celiac's, but that there was a "mounting body of evidence" that Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity could cause a plethora of health issues from mouth sores to hair loss.

    While he was not confident that a gluten free diet would result in regrowth of my hair, he was supportive of my interest in trying it, and he provided me with resources to get started. He warned that this would not be easy, as gluten is found in most unlikely places, such as cosmetics and detergents. "There's probably gluten in your lipstick," he said. He also said I would need to remain completely gluten free for nine-months to a year to see any results, if indeed gluten was the culprit.

    So, with nothing to lose (but more hair), I am embarking on a gluten free journey. I would like to hear your stories, advice, insights, but most of all I would like to share support as we cope with this benign (?) but frustrating condition.
     
  2. SabrinaLouise

    SabrinaLouise Senior Member

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    Hi Joli - I have a gluten allergy, so I don't "do" gluten/haven't done gluten in 3 years now. I haven't seen it make a difference in my hairloss, but I suffer from Androgenetic Alopecia. I know RugBug here doesn't eat gluten either. Personally, I don't worry about gluten in my laundry detergent--it's not getting into your intestines where it can do damage--there's just no way your skin is going to absorb enough gluten to do damage to your gut. It's not eating gluten foods that I concern myself with, and it really takes some getting used to! I also don't worry about lipstick or shampoo. I started with being super strict about stuff like that and later realized it takes a certain amount of gluten to activate your immune system in a negative way. I'm sure some would disagree with me, but since I am not running to the bathroom b/c of my lipstick, I would say it's working out fine :)
     
  3. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    Thanks, SabrinaLouise. I appreciate your insights and advice. I will definitely begin with avoiding gluten in my diet and try not to obsess with the traces here and there. I am surprised to read so many people are gluten intolerant, as well as the huge array of problems gluten sensitivity can cause. Again, thank you.
     
  4. RugBug

    RugBug Guest

    Hi!!! Welcome to a gluten free world!! It's only painfully hard for a couple of weeks, then it's really, no different. Whole Foods Market will become your new best friend. Let me just save you lots of time and money right off.... Udi's bread. Not Rudi's (although theirs is also good). Udi's has very similar texture as wheat bread and tastes dead on. I went through years of almond bread, rice bread...and yuck. Udi's will make you happy.
    Tinkyada Pasta. Again, unless someone forces you to really investigate, you won't realize it's not wheat pasta. I like the brown rice pasta shells...they taste great and are not mushy like a lot of non wheat pastas can be.
    Unlike SabrinaLouise, I do have issues with wheat protein in my shampoo, lotion, hair spray, foundation, etc. I get a rash and/or acne overnight. There are plenty of gluten free products out there.... again, Whole Foods makes it easy.
    I even avoid milk products now from grain fed cows. Probably, you won't have to....but I feel better when I do.
    I'd LOVE to tell you G-Free will solve your hair problems, but it didn't help mine. It DID help my skin problems and night sweats and anxiety...all HUGE problems. and, of course, the biggest....no more worse-than-labor-pain stomach aches! Happily G-Free for 12 years now!
     
  5. SabrinaLouise

    SabrinaLouise Senior Member

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    Joli - I think b/c our wheat supply has so much gluten now as compared to many years ago, gluten sensitivity/allergy is become more commonplace--thank you genetically modified food (she says with sarcasm). Too, copious use of antiobiotics can start a whole plethora of gut problems/food allergies--that's where all my food problems started.
     
  6. RugBug

    RugBug Guest

    OH BOY Sabrina....not to highjack the gluten topic...but did you ever say a mouthful! Copious use of antibiotics. Oh, to go back in time....
    the problem with Western Medicine and powerful drugs is.... they work. They work quickly to get rid of the presenting problem but really wreak havoc on everything else. Sure, my bladder infections went away but why did my teeth turn brown? Who knew that probiotics would have also cleared up the infection...in time.... that and cranberry juice for a week or so. ugh.... don't get me started.....
     
  7. SabrinaLouise

    SabrinaLouise Senior Member

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    RugBug - that's the same way I started my downhill spiral with antibiotics--bladder infections... I'm with you on turning back the clock!
     
  8. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    RugBug, Thank you so much for the tips. We do not have a Whole Foods in the town where I live, but I will look for Udi's bread and Tinkyada pasta! I have already looked at my shampoo (since my hair is my primary issue) and it is gluten free. So is my lip gloss (Neutrogena). I don't have skin problems, but I have drenching night sweats and I am all too familiar with those worse-then-labor-pains. Even if my hair doesn't come back, it would be worth it to get rid of those two demons.

    I've read that beer is a no-no, and wine made from grapes is okay. What about other alcohol (on those rare martini occasions)?

    I am so grateful to have found this site, and I cannot thank you & SabrinaLouise enough for the advice and support.
     
  9. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    I've not had bladder infections, but I have had a terrible time with a post-root canal infection that invaded the bone. Two rounds of amoxicillin and at least three of clindamycin... and right now I am on cipro for diverticulitis. With antibiotics, it seems you're damned if you don't take them, and sure as heck damned if you do!
     
  10. RugBug

    RugBug Guest

    I'll be 100% honest about the alcohol. I don't drink beer....but if my Grey Goose has gluten in it? I don't seem to have a problem with it. I like my Friday night martini and have never felt or seen any Celiac reaction to it. (go figure!)
     
  11. SabrinaLouise

    SabrinaLouise Senior Member

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    I've learned (too late mind you) that if I need to take antibiotics to take Sachroymyces Boulardi at the same time so the gut is not compromised so much by the antibiotics. SB is a lactic-acid producing friendly yeast that keeps candida and pathenogenic bacteria at bay while a person (or animal even) is on antibiotics. Then when off antibiotics, it is wise to take large amounts of high-quality probiotics immediately and daily for quite some time to reinnoculate the gut with the good bugs so candida yeast and bad bacteria cannot get a foothold. I only wish I knew this before I took all the antibiotics I did. I am quite certain I would have never developed food allergies.
     
  12. SabrinaLouise

    SabrinaLouise Senior Member

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    There is a gluten-free beer called "Redbridge," and it is made by Budweiser and is made from sorghum (also called "milo"), which is a gluten-free grain. It is actually pretty tasty and tastes like real beer to me, although I am sensitive to yeast, so I drink alcohol very rarely anymore. I think most tequila is gluten free b/c it is made from agave--so unless the worm has been snacking on wheat, I think it's on the gluten-free menu. I think vodka is made from potatoes, so it is fairly safe as well. Many of the brown liquors have gluten as they are distilled with grains.
     
  13. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    Thank you, and congratulations on baby #3! I will add Lara bars and Japanese rice crackers to my grocery list. :)
     
  14. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    I enjoy a beer about once a year, and only if it's very hot outside and the beer is very cold. I can certainly do without it! Happy to hear, though, that Grey Goose does not pose a problem. Thanks, Rub Bug. :)
     
  15. joli1229

    joli1229 Guest

    I cannot believe how much I am learning here! Alcohol is low priority right now, but I'll file all this away for future reference.

    I will keep you all posted on any progress/changes in my hair, and I appreciate any and all advice, insights, anecdotes, smiles. ;)
     
  16. kat1979

    kat1979 Guest

    I have not been on the board in ages, but came across this thread. A light bulb went off for me about a month ago on this topic. To recap: two years ago I was plagued with what seemed as though the eczema flare-up of my life. I have had the condition all my life, but this flare-up was different. Different in feeling and appearance. Regardless, countless derms and naturopaths told me it was eczema. Last summer, my skin was actually quite normal. In July, I lost someone very dear to me, and I began losing my long locks handfuls at a time. I attributed this shocking occurence to grief. Eventually I shaved what was left and have been sporting a wig ever since. I received DCP therapy for a few months but eventually stopped.

    I now have some very even regrowth; it's about 2 inches long everywhere on my head. Yay!

    I have noticed after the years of trial and error, that I develop a hot itchy rash in the same places after I eat a wheat-flour-heavy meal and/or drink lots of beer. It must all be related! I really hope so after all this suffering...

    Anyway, I am really interested in hearing about anyone else with similar gluten epiphonies.
     
  17. Mariaaa

    Mariaaa Guest

    I just got recommended by a doctor to go on a gluten-free diet to help with my digestive problems, which trigger my hair loss. One of my best friends has Celiac so it's not a super new concept to me, but I've never personally done it so I'm sort of at a loss right now. I'm starting soon and since there's clearly lots of experienced forumers here already living in the gluten-free world, I was wondering if they could post any food recommendations here, or PM me. I'd really appreciate it!

    PS. Rugbug - Thank you so much for sharing about Udi's bread and Tinkyada Pasta! I'm lucky enough to live not too far from Whole Foods so I'm definitely going to hunt them down! :)
     
  18. RugBug

    RugBug Guest

    I was just on vacation and when I'm on vacation, I tend to indulge in things I typically would not. (hey, I'm human). One night, the cruise ship offered a beer tasting excursion at several pubs. I couldn't resist. ..... ugh....the wheat in beer is STILL causing me grief. Won't do that again.... I think gluten is better left to other creatures to consume. It really is amazing how much better one feels when one avoids wheat products. Celiac or otherwise... jmo
     
  19. Hayley

    Hayley Guest

    I'm not celiac but i cant tollerate wheat. I cut out both wheat and gluten in September because its just easier as in the UK if something is gluten free its usually also wheat free.

    I panicked at first but now i find it pretty easy because most big supermarkets sell gluten free food. The trouble is that its so much more expensive.. It cut out all the symptoms I was having but then about 6 months later they came back so now i also try to eat healther in general with whole foods and limited process stuff and thats cut out those symptoms again (probably yeast infection / candida symptoms) I also find its easier to lose weight because most of the snacks on offer at work or round other peoples houses are usually full of things I cant have. :mrgreen:

    But for my hair - i cant say i've noticed a difference
     
  20. Lost

    Lost Guest

    My sister and nephew have celiac .and she has been gluetin free for 3 years now if she just has a very little she has an attack so I think the longer your off it your body can't handle even a little. IMO :)
     

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