The average human takes between 14 and 20 breaths per minute. But if you are conscious of those breaths, that’s a problem. Perhaps you’re experiencing chest tightness, clogged sinuses or a nagging cough that make you very aware of every breath you take. If so, the ingestion of gluten may be a contributing factor to these respiratory issues.

Today Nadine explores the relationship between the lungs and celiac disease, offering anecdotal evidence as well as explaining the way that inflammation can lead to a number of respiratory problems. Because 70-90% of your immune system is housed in your intestines, it is no surprise that a leaky gut could make you more vulnerable to respiratory tract infections.

Despite the fact that current literature considers respiratory challenges to be an atypical presentation of celiac disease, the Gluten Free RN argues that there is enough anecdotal evidence to merit further study. Listen in to understand the vitamin deficiencies that likely contribute to respiratory issues, how those health concerns might be corrected by going gluten-free, and why your body heals more quickly on a high fat, whole food diet. It’s time to go gluten-free and breathe easy again!

What’s Discussed: 

How gluten ingestion likely affects the respiratory system

  • Body keeps fluids separate unless tissues leaky
  • Gluten alters epithelial tissue, including that of lungs

Nadine’s anecdotal evidence of a connection between gluten and respiratory issues

  • Fellow nurse had lung removed as child
  • Always needed inhalers
  • Went gluten-free with Nadine
  • Inflammation in lungs cleared, asthma gone
  • No longer needed inhalers

Respiratory issues that may be corrected on a gluten-free diet

  • Anemia (lack of red blood cells to carry oxygen causes shortness of breath with minimal exertion)
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • COPD
  • IPH (bleeding lung)
  • Pulmonary edema

Vitamin deficiencies caused by gluten ingestion that lead to respiratory problems

  • Vitamin K deficiencies initiate easy bruising, nose bleeds and bleeding lung

Why going gluten-free eliminates many respiratory issues

  • Gluten causes inflammation (-itis = inflammation)
  • Removing the cause heals intestines, repairs immune system
  • Patients operate on a higher level

Common symptoms of respiratory issues

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Nagging cough
  • Clogged sinuses
  • Post-nasal drip

Nadine’s recommendations around diet and nutrition

  • Gluten- and dairy-free at a minimum
  • Ideally variation of Paleo diet
  • Whole foods (meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds)
  • High fat (body needs to absorb fat-soluble nutrients – A, D, E & K)
  • Maintain Gluten Zero (takes six months to a year for intestinal villi to heal)

Why your body heals more quickly on a high fat, whole food diet

  • Body knows how to break down, utilize nutrients
  • Fat-soluble vitamins repair connective tissue, leaky gut

The genes that indicate a predisposition for celiac disease

  • HLA-DQ2
  • HLA-DQ8

Resources:

“Hemoptysis in Patients of Celiac Disease with Disproportionately Severe Anemia” in Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine

“A Case of Cough, Lymphocytic Bronchoalveolitis and Coeliac Disease with Improvement Following a Gluten Free Diet” in Thorax

“Respiratory Symptoms as Atypical Manifestation of Celiac Disease” in the Pediatric Oncall Journal

“Recurrent Rhinitis and Pulmonary Infections Revealing Celiac Disease” in Revue de Pneumologie Clinique

“Pneumococcal Septic Shock in the Setting of Hyposplenic Celiac Disease” in Hospital Physician

Coeliac Australia: Associated Conditions

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

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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