Your happily living life and BAM, you are hit with these odd skin disorders out of nowhere. What is happening? Perhaps you have tried topical ointments or creams, antibiotics, or a plethora of other products in an attempt to clear up some skin disorder, they may have worked or not but the temporary solution is just that. Did it start due to your sudden change in diet or increase in exercise? This skin disorder came without warning; you maybe now feel that there must be something else as you have tried everything! It is possible that Gluten Intolerance or Celiac Disease may be at the root of your skin problems.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is one such skin ailment that occurs as a result of gluten. It is one of the “itches” that won’t go away without proper treatment. With a proper, simple and pain-free skin test (biopsy) your practitioner or nutritionist can determine if you have the auto-immune disease commonly termed Celiac Disease.
As a Paleo recipe developer, researcher, writer, health advocate and author, I have a strong interest in issues relating to people of all ages and I like to see people properly informed and properly diagnosed. Anyone can get this skin disorder. Although dermatitis herpetiformis usually occurs for life once it appears, permanent remission is reported to occur in 10-20 percent of patients, usually after long-term adherence to a gluten-free diet. I am celiac, I have three kids, two with CD and the one has Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH).
Why all of a sudden may an adult get a gluten intolerance or celiac disease? Why are you just now experiencing a gluten intolerance skin rash? There are various reasons it can “turn on” in adulthood or the baby-boomer. One very common reason may be a stressful situation in one’s life. There is also the possibility that it had been there yet it surfaced with symptoms crying out louder now. Being properly diagnosed is the first and proper door to a correct handling, and once any ailment is correctly diagnosed life become much simpler. I was 7 years misdiagnosed and my life, my health and my well-being has been incredible ever since, upwards and thriving!
DH was first described as a distinct clinical entity in 1884 by an American dermatologist, Louis Duhring. But it wasn’t until 1967 that is was actually linked to gluten sensitivity/intolerance. Instead of digesting gluten, the body fights it with an antibody (called IgA) that is produced in the lining of the intestines. When IgA combines with ingested gluten, the combine antibody/gluten substance circulates in the bloodstream and eventually clogs up the small blood vessels in the skin. The clog attracts white blood cells brought in by the body to fight the invasion. The white blood cells, in turn, release powerful chemicals that create the rash. Typically, DH is characterized by small groups of itchy blisters, often on red plaques, located on the back of the elbows and forearms, on the buttocks and in the front of the knees. But, the rash can occur in other places on the body, including the face, scalp, back and trunk.
With a gluten intolerance or celiac disease the body has a greater inability to properly absorb and distribute nutrients and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals develop. You can do all the diets and exercises in the world and think you are doing the best for your body, but if you have this underlying gluten issue and are eating any gluten you will remain with this internal flare in your body – inflammation. The result will be a remaining rash.
Vitamins A and D contribute to healthy skin. Vitamin A is consumed in controlling inflammations, so Celiacs need more Vitamin A to begin with. A case of dry or flaky skin, or chronic split heels could suggest either mal-absorption from undiagnosed gluten intolerance or malnutrition.
A solution to these ailments may be a gluten free diet and even better, the Paleo diet! There are also creams and treatments that will aid in the healing and itching but the real culprit may be the gluten and the ailment will not truly go away until the culprit is determined.
I highly suggests if any skin ailment is non-responsive to all you have tried, talk to your practitioner or nutritionist about testing for gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Your world can change with the proper diagnosis and treatment. For more information email me. I welcome your feedback and questions always.
I have worked in this field and with many groups, professionals, research scientists, universities, authors and organizations for many years. I am a celiac, one who has worked as an advocate to increase awareness of gluten intolerance skin rash issues and one who made the change from the standard “gluten-free” diet to Paleo. I have quite a bit of experience in these areas and I walk the talk and love to see others do very well, and be happy with their bodies.