As those of us with celiac disease know, we are often questioned (not always in a constructive manner) by family and friends who do not understand the medical challenges we face.
Here is what we are often told about our conditions and the steps we take to remediate them:
- just a little bit won’t hurt you (fill in that sentence with gluten or other substances that make you ill)
- it’s all in your head
- you’re just following the latest fad
These types of questions are not malicious, they come from a place of ignorance and lack of education.
Unfortunately, it seemed that during his show, Dr. Drew was not entirely aware or informed when it came to his subject matter and did not display a comprehensive understanding of celiac disease and leaky gut. This is most regrettable as the doctor missed an opportunity to educate his audience on a disease that is widespread in the American population and around the world.
Celiac awareness and education is much farther along in other countries; in fact, in Italy, children are tested for celiac disease before they reach the age of 6. Celiac disease meets the World Health Organization standards for universal screening and is considered an epidemic by this organization.
Here is the video in which Dr. Drew takes a less than sympathetic tone towards an individual with celiac disease and leaky gut:
As you can see from the video Dr. Drew is not familiar with leaky gut and does not entirely understand the concept of this medical disorder. Dr. Drew, here is a description of leaky gut from Dr. Andrew Weil, who says that leaky gut:
..affects the lining of the intestines. The theory is that leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction.
Leaky gut can lead to the following disorders:
- chronic inflammation
- food allergies
- skin rashes
- joint pain
So, here is my urgent plea to Dr. Drew: please use your platform as a public persona to further education regarding medical issues, rather than perpetuating common stereotypes and misinformation. This is a small request from those of us in the celiac community who work so hard in the name of celiac awareness and education.
Now is the time to rectify the unfortunate interview of Jennifer Esposito with a story on what celiac disease actually is and how it impacts the lives of millions of Americans. Leave a comment below if you wish to urge Dr. Drew to remedy this situation.