In this episode of ‘Gluten Free RN,’ Nadine discusses potential signs of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in those 65 and older. Many go undiagnosed because their symptoms are dismissed as a normal part of aging.

Nadine explains how nutritional deficiencies triggered by gluten intolerance can cause the elderly to acquire a list of diagnoses and medications that might not be necessary and do not address the underlying cause of degeneration.

This episode outlines how health setbacks common in the older population (osteoporosis, GI issues, dementia and degenerative disease) may be symptoms of celiac disease that could be improved or even eliminated with a gluten-free diet. Listen and learn how to improve the quality of life for those 65 and up!

What’s Discussed:

The prevalence of celiac disease in the older population

  • 30% of people diagnosed with celiac disease are over the age of 60
  • The elderly population has a prevalence of celiac disease 1-2% greater than the general population

The recommended diet for elderly celiac patients

  • Nadine advocates both a gluten- and casein-free diet

The genes that carry celiac disease

Nadine’s story

  • Undiagnosed celiac disease left her with multi-system organ failure at the age of 40
  • A gluten-free diet fixed the nutritional deficiencies and allowed her body to regenerate

The benefits of adopting a gluten-free diet as an older adult

  • Reverse damage done by gluten
  • Prevent health problems like dementia, osteoporosis, and osteopenia

GI issues that may be symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in older adults

How a nutritional panel can reveal deficiencies that may be caused by gluten intolerance

  • Low levels of vitamins D, B6, B12, iron, and zinc point to a difficulty absorbing important nutrients
  • An imbalance of magnesium and/or calcium can cause heart arrhythmia and muscle fasciculation

Why men suffering from osteoporosis and anemia should be tested for celiac disease

The connection between erectile dysfunction and potential gluten intolerance

  • ED can be either a neurological disorder or a condition caused by hypoxia

The probable link between Type 1 or 2 diabetes and celiac disease

The importance of testing patients on cholesterol or blood pressure medication for celiac disease

Why Nadine recommends all patients 65 and older be tested for celiac disease yearly

  • Not every patient will test positive but can seroconvert at anytime

How the appropriate absorption of fat can help older patients with gluten intolerance “get their brains back”

  • Our brains are made of fat and every nerve is covered with myelin
  • A brain starved of fat can cause a patient to suffer from brain fog and dementia

The good, high-fat foods that prevent brain atrophy

  • Listen for the list!

Miss Gloria’s story

  • Grumpy and agoraphobic, Gloria rarely left her bed
  • After testing positive for celiac disease, she eventually agreed to try a gluten-free diet
  • Gloria’s health improved to a point where she was able to leave the house regularly and finally move to Savannah, where she spent her last years with her son

How identifying celiac disease and gluten intolerance in the elderly can prevent suffering and early death

Resources Mentioned:

Gluten Free RN on iTunes

Gluten Free RN on Stitcher

Connect with Nadine: 

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Contact via Email

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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