Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wolves and Vampires

Have you read the transfixing and totally engrossing 4-part epic series called Twilight (recently released last weekend as the movie on Nov 21st -- same director of the Nativity story)? The final book in the series is called Breaking Dawn -- the final showdown between a mythical class of werewolves and immortal good/moralistic/'vegetarian' vampires. The wolf that's been in my thoughts lately is Robb Wolf and a blog from his archives about a medical condition called Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) which closely *hee* resembles Vampirism.

And naturally... it's represents yet another silent wheat-related celiac condition.

Of course!!

Triggers are described by Elder GH et al (J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28(3):277-86.) and Powell LW et al (J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Sep;14(9):838-43):
--exogenous estrogen, ie oral contraceptives, HRT, Premarin, pesticides, etc
--environmental factors that include alcohol and hepatotropic viruses (like hepatitis C) and fatty liver/NASH/steatohepatitis

What about wheat/gluten/grains/rice/maize/corn??

The general population this tends to affect are those of Northern European ancestry and among indigenous persons of the Asia-Pacific region (including Taiwan where my relatives are originally from, the Hakka people). PCT may also rarely affect other populations like the Bantu in South Africa (see end). Iron overload and higher blood Hct (hematocrit) are commonly the first signs other than photosensitivity (intense blistering and burning of the skin on exposure to sunlight). Since my 20s I've had a problem with being in the sunlight which I'd originally attributed to being inadvertently lighter and fairer from being indoors (spending several semesters in college recovering hard after one single semester of partying + academic probation at Cal Berkeley). I used to notice that the skin would erupt in red raised blistering-itchy witchy rashes wherever the UV-wavelengths kissed more than 10-20 minutes worth on the neck, belly, ribs, back or thighs (despite 35-50 SPF sunscreen). Several of my fair skinned Asian girlfriends experience the same sunsensitivity (and thus abhor the sun). Did my high wheat-intake have anything to do with PCT-related dermal eruptions (croissants, cafeteria food, cafe goodies, endless mochas/lattes, etc)?? I discussed with several Dermatologists my situation and of course promptly got the blank conventional-medicine stare. (they did however promptly prescribed sunscreen (duh) and potent halogenated steroid creams which really didn't help much)

If one becomes iron overloaded in the liver which effectively removes iron from systemic circulation, could one have crazy cravings for iron/meat/heme-sources... in the form of ... B - L - O - O - D ?

The only solution I've ever come across for my pseudo-vampirism and fear of the daylight was Robb's blog. (no... I never bit anyone or went for the jugular intentionally)

Other triggers that Robb discusses for this oddity of conditions is wheat and gluten (and dairy/opioid peptides) and an intimate association with hyperinsulinemia and glucose intolerance. Curing this individual of PCT is also discussed! For the first time in several DECADES she was able to travel and enjoy broad daylight after adopting the Paleo diet and doing Crossfit.

Wheat/gluten actually disturbs many metabolic, mitochrondrial and enzymatic pathyways including one of the most potent pathways: synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Loren Cordain has data on this topic and it's clearly discussed from Cordain's own unpublished research in one of his newsletters according to Robb when I spoke to him (which requires a fee -- I have not indulged myself yet -- sorry) but HERE Peter of Hyperlipid (the biochem brain/KING) discusses the potential link between vitamin D deficiency and wheat intolerance/celiac.

Here is a new curious article describing how celiac children went from a deficient vitamin D state to 'normal' blood vitamin D concentrations after 6-mos of a gluten-free diet (Ventura A et al. Bone Metabolism in Celiac Disease J Pediatr. 2008 Aug;153(2):262-5; email me for the full PDF -- unfortunately they do not detail the final 25(OH)D concentration). I'm thankfully recovered now! This past summer I spent many hours laying out in the sun with no burning and nearly no photosensitive reactions (just mildly once in the early part of the summer -- when the hormones were still affecting perhaps). I was off exogenous wheat and synthetic hormones (levonorgestrol) and the vitamin D levels were normalized for 9-12mos (25OHD 60 to 80 ng/ml).

Is our global wheat-dominant (and industrialized rbGH-milk) lifestyles killing our Vitamin D concentrations? What will the downstream long-term consequences? Can we afford them?

Break the Dawn Remix

Gosh.. must be hard being Michelle Williams
Like beef c-a-k-e-s...? the beefier the better
**fangs bared DROOLING**

Courtesy of Youtube.com

Diet and alcohol effects on the manifestation of hepatic porphyrias.
Cripps DJ. Fed Proc. 1987 Apr;46(5):1894-900.
Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is the most frequently reported type of porphyria. The average patient is male more than 40 years old with a history of alcohol consumption. In women the incidence of PCT has increased with use of estrogens for birth control. The cutaneous features are those of chronic porphyrin photosensitivity on the light-exposed area of the skin: pigmentation, hirsuitism and fragility, and vesiculobullae, which has prompted the expression bullosa actinica et mechanica. One-third of the patients have glucose intolerance. PCT has been reported frequently among the Bantu people in South Africa as resulting from combinations of alcohol and cooking in ironware. The average patient has a higher than normal hematocrit, which is used as a guide to treatment by phlebotomy ranging from 8 to 14 units removed every 2-4 wk. Chemically induced PCT has been reported with chlorinated hydrocarbons, the best-known of which is hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Porphyria was noted in more than 3,000 patients in southeast Turkey between 1955 and 1961, because of consumption of seed wheat treated with HCB. In addition, more than 1,000 children under the age of 1 year died because HCB was transferred from the mother, either via the placenta or through breast milk.
PMID: 3556614

Celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis in three patients with porphyria.
Reunala T et al. Dig Dis Sci. 1981 Jul;26(7):618-21.
Celiac disease was diagnosed in one patient with variegate porphyria, and dermatitis herpetiformis in two patients, one with acute intermittent porphyria and the other with erythropoietic protoporphyria. The probability that celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis should occur in three patients with porphyria in Finland is less than 0.2%. Neither a consistent HLA pattern nor any other explanation can be offered for the association between these diseases.
PMID: 7249897

Celiac disease in patients with variegate porphyria.
Peters TJ et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2001 Jul;46(7):1506-8. (no abstract)

A case of variegate porphyria with coeliac disease and beta-thalassaemia minor.
Rebora A et al. Dermatology. 2004;209(2):161-2. (no abstract)

Our liver (here's a past blog entry) certainly filters literally everything that we eat. Are all liver conditions predominatly just wheat-related afflictions (infectious, autoimmune liver diseases, metabolic diseases, congenital liver diseases (Wilson's disease, porphyria, hemochromatosis))? Are we entirely genetically maladapted to deal with grains and wheat? Some of us may be more on the 'spectrum' then others genetically. It appears to me that wheat behaves like other environmental toxins like occupational chemicals by pathologically affecting porphyria and heme synthesis (Doss MO. Porphyrinurias and occupational disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1987;514:204-18).

Will more cases and recognition of silent celiac disease occur in the coming years? Or more sunburns and fear of sunlight? More pseudo-vampires? Will the dogma of 'whole grains' continue to be promulgated by the processed food industries and blindly accepted by statin-pushing-pediatricans, dermatologists, physicians, academians, the ADA, the AHA, and government entities like Medicare, the USDA and other deeply bought-out groups?

Dr. Davis is accurately, stunningly correct as usual. For Y-E-A-R-S.

Develop a wheat-deficiency!

Protect your coronary arteries... and ALL your organs including the largest organ, your glorious skin!

-G (aka 'ggglll' on the TYP forum)

P.S. For you Twilight fans out there, does Dr. Davis remind you of anyone?? Humble and charismatic, moralistic Carlisle? The physician, healer, center/creater of the immortal band of vampires who eschew their natural prey/food source? Dr. Davis abhors (non-emergent) invasive interventional cardiovascular procedures (which he was trained to master and perform). You see why I am a Twilight- and TYP-FREAK.


Anonymous said...

Quote: "Our liver (here's a past blog entry) certainly filters literally everything that we eat. Are all liver conditions predominatly just wheat-related afflictions (infectious, autoimmune liver diseases, metabolic diseases, congenital liver diseases (Wilson's disease, porphyria, hemochromatosis))?"

Earlier in your blog post, you made reference to people "who become iron-overloaded" and in the quote above (near the end of your post) you associate hemochromatosis to a predominatly "wheat-related affliction... a liver condition".

Heriditary Hemochromatosis (HHC) is the most common disorder in North America affecting one in every 200-300 people in the general population. It is due to the genetic mutation of the C282Y and H63D genes. Those with both copies of these genes are at risk to overload in iron from any food source that contains iron such a meats, cereals, grains, vegetables and fish. In fact they overload 2 to 3 times the normal level. HHC is not a "liver diease" nor is it a "wheat-related affliction".

HHC, if not diagnosed and treated early, leads to liver diseases, heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases and disorders.

Early tesing,diagnosis and treatment will eliminate any HHC-induced diseases and disorders.

Bob Rogers
Executive Director
Canadian Hemochromatosis Society

Stephan Guyenet said...

Very interesting. I like that celiac/vitamin D reference. I may use it in the future if you don't mind.

Dr. B G said...


I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Many experts consider our genes the 'loaded gun'. What pulls the so-called trigger? You mentioned grains. Grains don't contain much iron (as I recall from my nutritional studies). So how are grains associated with HHC?

I strongly believe that grains trigger many conditions and even I'd go as far as including HHC.

I believe if grain intolerance is not diagnosed and treated leads to liver diseases, HEART DISEASES, cancers, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases and disorders. Let's also not forget brain damage, autism, ADD, autoimmune diseases, etc. At TYP, we strongly associate grain intolerance with high risks of CAD, strokes and other occlusive/obstructive diseases (even though the data is inconclusive and RCTs never will exist).

Have you considered a gluten-free diet as 'treatment' at your Society?

Here is an interesting medical hypothesis published recently that you might find curious (author is from Canada too):

Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(3):691-2.

Hemochromatosis: a Neolithic adaptation to cereal grain diets.

Naugler C.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Dalhousie University, 5788 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 2Y9. nauglerc@dal.ca

The Neolithic period in Europe marked the transition from a hunter-gatherer diet rich in red meat to an iron-reduced cereal grain diet. This dietary shift likely resulted in an increased incidence of iron deficiency anemia, especially in women of reproductive age. I propose that hereditary hemochromatosis and in particular the common HFE C282Y mutation may represent an adaptation to decreased dietary iron in cereal grain-based Neolithic diets. Both homozygous and heterozygous carriers of the HFE C282Y mutation have increased iron stores and therefore possessed an adaptive advantage under Neolithic conditions. An allele age estimate places the origin of the HFE C282Y mutation in the early Neolithic period in Northern Europe and is thus consistent with this hypothesis. The lower incidence of this mutation in other agrarian regions (the Mediterranean and Near East) may be due to higher dietary intakes of the iron uptake cofactor vitamin C in those regions. The HFE C282Y mutation likely only became MALADAPTIVE in the past several centuries as dietary sources of iron and vitamin C improved in Northern Europe.

PMID: 17689879


Stephan Guyenet said...


Great point! Now I recall that skeletal signs of iron deficiency anemia (porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia) are common in archaeological sites of cultures that adopted grains. It's a consistent feature of grain-based cultures throughout the world that is not found in hunter-gatherers.

Dr. B G said...

Hi Stephan,

As usual, I'd love to hear your insights! Let me know if you can't obtain the PDF. Your recent posts are fantastically EYE-OPENING.


Dr. B G said...

Grains are for slaves. Grains grew the Roman army, built the pyramids, the Great Wall and Incan/Mayan temples but we don't require grains in Neolithic times. Lipoprotein (a) is also believed by Mathias Rath to be an evolutionary adaptation toward vitamin C deficiency. Perhaps...?? for iron deficiency related to cereals too?? That is not unconceivable!

Again, Mr. Rogers, I am so grateful you posted!