An Affliction By Any Other Name Is Still An Affliction
There is a bit of a debate as to what can properly be called a “disease.” The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition defines disease first as “An abnormal condition of an organism or part, esp. as a consequence of infection, inherent weakness, or environmental stress, that impairs normal physiological functioning.” Well, if one is looking for something specific the AED casts a pretty wide net. How might this inform us as to what kind of abnormality people who describe themselves as “celiacs” or “coeliacs” are stricken with. Unfortunately, I am quite confident of my use of the word “stricken” in this context. Talk to anyone who is suffering from the “abnormality” and they will concur.
My American Heritage Dictionary goes on to define celiac disease as “a chronic nutritional disturbance of infants and young children, caused by improper absorption of fats and resulting in malnutrition, distended abdomen, and diarrhea.” That sounds like an affliction to me, disease or no disease. And it’s interesting that the definition is specific to infants and young children. Most of the people I hear from who are suffering are adults. Some parents do have infants and toddlers for whom they have great concern but even in the case of children they are often teen-agers or older. From what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced there is not much evidence that celiac disease is something one often grows out of.
In his very challenging book, Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis deals with this issue of how to properly refer to celiac disease. Dr. Davis is on a crusade to remove as much wheat and gluten from the America diet as possible. Wheat and gluten, as many of you know, are toxic to celiacs. Depending on the body’s reaction, they can end up in the bathroom or in the emergency room. Whatever the definition.
So, Dr. Davis tell us that in treating a young woman who was very ill and on assorted drugs to manage her condition as best as possible, he reduced the drugs she was taking and told her to remove wheat from her diet. Facing a life altering surgery, she had little to lose.
After a year on this diet Dr. Davis proclaimed her “cured.” Cured as in “no diarrhea, no bleeding, no cramps, no anemia, no more drugs, no ileostomy.” Wow! A profound change for which the young woman was understandably ecstatic. And then Dr. Davis asks, what should we label this young woman’s affliction, “Should we call in antibody-negative celiac disease? Antibody-negative wheat intolerance?”
Now let me talk about Vidazorb® chewable probiotics for just a moment.
When I was first creating what would eventually become Vidazorb® chewable probiotics celiac disease and people who suffered from it weren’t on my mind. I was familiar with the disease because a young businessman I knew had a profound sensitivity to wheat and gluten. Still, there was nothing obvious in probiotic scientific literature about celiac disease and I had my hands full trying to keep the probiotic bugs alive. Then, much like with people and families suffering from eczema, reports started to come in from customers. I remember one lady relating to a friend that since taking Vidazorb® it was more fun for her and her daughter (they were both ‘celiacs’) to go out. “We went to a birthday party and each of us had a small piece of cake. We didn’t get ill. It was so nice to be so natural and not have to explain ourselves.” Something else I hadn’t considered was the social cost of suffering from whit affliction.
However, I did become interested in probiotic bacteria because of what it could do and did do. There are lots of studies about assorted gastrointestinal problems that live probiotic bacteria in sufficient numbers provide the user. Additionally, there was ever mounting evidence on the profound effect that probiotic bacteria and, especially, the lack or probiotic bacteria has on our immune system.
So the light bulb finally went on and I could see how so many of those things that are part of this affliction, disease, malady, curse, call it what you will were common to what I knew about probiotic bacteria and the gut and I could see how Vidazorb® chewable probiotics could help those living with the painful reality of celiac disease.