If you have been reading this column you know that I think modern wheat is a dangerous substance responsible for most of the diseases of modern civilization. I have recommended the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D., to fill in the blanks and make the scientific argument.
Today I want to focus on this issue from a more philosophical plane. Modern medicine suffers from a severe case of hubris – defined by the dictionary as “a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.”
Since recommending a wheat-free diet, I have had three patients tell me that their Crohn’s Disease has been completely resolved by this diet. Crohn’s Disease is inflammation of the intestine, resulting in various degrees of bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and other symptoms.
Last month, my good friend told me about the problems of his 25-year-old son. As is generally the case, he had been diagnosed with Crohn’s by a gastroenterologist several months ago and had been treated with the usual regimen of very expensive medications, costing about $700 a month. These only moderately suppressed the symptoms, and he was still quite miserable (as were the two other people noted above).
I suggested going off wheat, even though the doctor assured him that diet played no role in the disease.
I told his dad, “What have you got to lose?”
After only a few days off wheat, his symptoms completely resolved. Not partially, but completely. This did not happen even after 4 months on the expensive medical regimen prescribed by the subspecialist.
What is my point? I am not here to say I did anything special in this case, nor to criticize the very highly skilled gastroenterologist who prescribed the standard medications. My point is this: The medical community in general has fallen victim to hubris, believing that, even when we don’t know the cause of the disease, we know what will and will not work to cure it.
We are taught a lot of science about the immune system, but at the end of the day we are not taught what causes Crohn’s Disease because we simply don’t know. Yet we are willing to tell you, the patient, that diet doesn’t play a role in the disease. What? (Similarly we don’t know what causes cancer, but we are sure that any treatment not specifically outlined in our oncology textbooks is wrong.)
I’m sure somewhere along the line someone did a study putting people on various diets and observing their bowel inflammation, noting that diet didn’t make a difference. But probably the diets were low fat, low acid or some other diet not related to the elimination of wheat. Or if given a wheat-free diet, the patients in the study were not really compliant because they were not assured that diet mattered. In any case, eliminating acid from a diet or sugar or fat does not cover all the bases. To say that diet “doesn’t matter” – a common medical teaching in Crohn’s – is to vastly overstep the boundaries of our knowledge.
So in spite of all medical teaching to the contrary, patients in my immediate circle are curing – not just diminishing the symptoms – of Crohn’s Disease by going wheat free.
Now, I know that three patients is not enough to make a scientific paper, and I hope someone with the academic credentials somewhere will actually take up this challenge. But if I had Crohn’s Disease – or indeed any problem with my bowels – in addition to anything else prescribed, I would go wheat free. Again, what have you got to lose except possibly ill health and the exorbitant cost of medical treatment?
If anyone out there with Crohn’s decides to try this and successfully cures established diagnosed Crohn’s Disease, I would like to know. You can contact me through this website or my email.