Why did you get so interested in the gluten problem?

Dr Rodney Ford on YouTube

Dr Rodney Ford on YouTube

“How did you get so interested in gluten?” Dr. Rodney Ford answers in this video on YouTube.


Why did you get so interested in the gluten problem?

“Hello. I’m Dr. Rodney Ford. I am a paediatrician, gastroenterologist and allergist. Today I got asked an interesting question one of my patient’s moms. She asked “Dr. Ford, how did you get so interested in Gluten”. That is a good question as people think that I’m totally gluten-orientated, but that is not correct. Lots of illnesses as you know are caused by gluten, but there are many other illnesses that are not.

I’m a pediatrician and I see lots of children with all different sorts of troubles. My interest in food allergy and food intolerance, began over 30 years ago. I wrote my PhD on “Food hypersensitivity in children: diagnostic approaches to milk and egg hypersensitivity. I did a lot of research and, in fact I was asked to contribute to this book “Food Allergy and Intolerance”. I have been interested in food allergy for 30 years, and during my studies, a lot of the mothers were saying that their babies and children were a lot better when they removed wheat from their diets. I was doing skin-prick-testing at that time, but the wheat allergy test did not show up in these children. So, I didn’t have a test that I could use it to make their diagnosis. However I left the idea parked in the back of my mind.

But in the 1990s, that is 10 years after I wrote my thesis, a test did become available called IgG gliadin antibody. I had a lot of patients whose mothers were saying that wheat upset their children. So what I started to do was to check out of this gliadin test in these children. And lo-and-behold, it was often positive! I became very interested in this because of a child who came to my clinic called Elizabeth. Isn’t she beautiful. She did not turn up in the ballet dress but she looked thin like this. Two years later, gluten-free, she was a beautiful child like this. She was gluten-sensitive and she was the first child in my pediatric practice that I put on to a gluten-free diet, who did not have celiac disease. I wrote this up in my book “The gluten syndrome“. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58338

However, the first book I wrote was called: “Are you gluten-sensitive: your questions answered”. To my knowledge, this is one of the first books ever written on gluten-sensitivity. But my colleagues were not impressed. They thought that this was fringe medicine, and they would not hear me out. They would not believe that to gluten sensitivity was an issue.

So why would I focus so much on gluten illness without the support of my medical colleagues. Well, I am a pediatrician. Children come to see me who are sick tired and grumpy. But they are told that this is how children are. For instance, their poor growth is just something they will grow out of; their poor behavior is because of the poor parenting; Their tummy pain, well they’re just making it up; their headaches, well all children get headaches; they get diarrhea and constipation, well this is just how they are.

Disturbingly, These children, with all these symptoms, were told that they were just “normal” and would grow out of it. But they did not grow out of these problems! In fact I got 50 mothers together to write up their stories and this is in another book “The book of Sick Tired and Grumpy“. So we call these children who are sensitive to gluten, “the sick, the tired and the grumpy children”. I found, that if I do the gluten test and it is positive, and the children go gluten-free, then their symptoms go away. Their parents are delighted and everyone is happy. The only ones who are not happy about this seemed to be the medical people in my city who still are very reluctant to take on board the fact that gluten can cause so many symptoms, other than celiac disease.

So my interest in gluten is because, when I put these children on a gluten-free diet (or gluten zero as I now call it), they get better! It’s not because I think the gluten is the worst thing in the world, but it is because when you take children off this particular substance, their symptoms vanish. They have had decades of symptoms sometimes, and get better. Also, their parents go gluten-free and they feel better. So I am targeting gluten as it is one of the main problems in our health system today. It is because so many people when they rid themselves of gluten, get better. So it is not me but is pushing the gluten barrow: it is my patients encouraging me to speak out because they want to have the official diagnosis of gluten sensitivity, they don’t want to go it alone. So that is why I’m interested in gluten.”

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by Rodney Ford.