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Dramatic improvement - gluten free diet

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  • Dramatic improvement - gluten free diet

    I have been a dry eye sufferer for 15 years, mainly with symptoms of blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, allergic conjunctivitis, but also with mild rheumatoid arthritis like symptoms. Recently I made a discovery that changed my life. Since I started a gluten free diet in the beginning of September my dry eye symptoms have dramatically improved!

    My story starts with a cooking class on a July evening. Before this class started I was already experiencing some mild chest pain, but a few hours after the class had finished my chest pain became unbearable. The next morning I was hospitalized thinking I might have had a heart attack. The initial diagnosis was that it was pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the sac around the heart, but further testing ruled out that it actually was pericarditis. Blood testing for RA also came up negative once again. Finally, I was diagnosed with Tietze syndrome, which is an inflammation of the cartilage of one or more of the upper ribs. Not long after this diagnosis I also had a sudden onset of inflammation in my right hip joint. Things were not going very well for me at all, and in my view it would only be a matter of time before I would be hospitalized again. Just getting by each day was a challenge for me.

    Then one day I passed by a local bookstore and picked up a book called 'Serve to Win' by Novak Djokovic. After reading the cover I decided to buy this book, which turned out to be one of the best purchases I ever made. In his book he describes how a gluten free diet helped him decrease inflammation and increase his energy levels, enabling him to become the world’s number one ranked tennis player. He advises you to try a gluten free diet for 14 days and then introduce some gluten again to see what happens. I thought to myself, why not give it a try? Just 14 days and see we’ll what happens…
    What happened next was far beyond my expectations – which I had none – I thought this dry eye syndrome would be a part of my life forever. After just two days into the diet I felt something very strange was going on. I noticed that I didn’t really have a feeling of dry eyes. A feeling I couldn’t even remember since I had dry eyes each and every day for the past 15 years. The strange kind of underlying neurological pain in the eyes was just gone. I looked at my hands, moved my fingers around and was amazed about how flexible they were. It literally felt like a dark shroud had come off and seeing the world in much more vivid colors.

    It’s now three months later and my eyes are still going great. My meibomian glands are producing noticeably more and clearer oils. The recovery from Tietze syndrome and inflammation in my hip is very slow, but eventually I will get there. My chest is still sensitive to pressure, but at least the constant pain is gone. The inflammation in my right hip joint is slowly subsiding and I’m currently undergoing physiotherapy to restore the movement. I’m confident I will almost fully recover. I will still have dry eyes sometimes, but at a very acceptable level for me.

    I still remember how it was before. Now I can actually look someone in the eyes when talking to them, without constantly being distracted by the continuous eye pain. Or just watch a movie without having to worry about your eyes all the time. It still hurts when I think back of how it was doing these things a few months back and knowing that there are still people out there who have to go through this every day.

    It took me 15 years of hard struggle to find the cause of my dry eye syndrome. I had pretty much given up all hope of ever finding a cure, thinking dry eye syndrome was not curable. I had learned to accept it as part of my life and tried to manage the symptoms as well as I could. But just as things were getting out of control I stumbled upon my cure with a sheer stroke of luck. I do realize I’m probably one of the lucky few, but you should never give up looking for answers. There is always hope! Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Best of luck to you all,

  • #2
    I'm happy for you.

    And the message you're promoting is exactly right.

    I actually tried going gluten-free as well - it didn't make much of a difference even though one specific type of antibody even was positive in my blood testing.

    However, the point remains that I am convinced that there have to be many cases of dry eye for which the sufferes simply did not find the underlying cause (yet).

    I already wrote it in another thread but: I find it very noteworthy that somehow for many dry ye sufferes meibomian gland dysfunction AND lacriminal gland dysfunction appear simultaneously. I mean, it is quite the coincidence, isn't it?

    It just seems so unlikely that in all these cases both type of glands stopped working normally without any obvious cause. Therefore I'd say it'd a matter of simple probabilities wether or not one believes that the current "mainstream"-idea in dry eye treatment of surrendering when it comes to looking for causes is the right one. Just giving up and focusing on treating the symptons is not the way to go. And it also is not the way to go if people want real progress on the field of dry eye treatment.


    • #3
      Were you diagnosed with Celiac Disease? If you don't have Celiac Disease, would this still have an impact?


      • #4
        No, generally if you don't have Celiac Disease it does not make any sense to go on a gluten-free diet - at least that's the prevailing view in medicine. (And I don't see what would suggest otherwise.)

        Also, the book of Djokovic with it's message is very questionable due to the generalization.

        That being said, if you look at all the damage Celiac Disease can do it certainly is worth it to at least get tested properly if you're stuck with a health condition for which you don't know the cause (like many dry eye sufferes).

        Also, besides doing the testing I'd say that even with negative results it won't do any harm to go on a gluten-free diet for a few months just for testing. But not because gluten in general is something bad but because people with negative test results still could have some form of gluten intolerance which is different from celiac disease.


        • #5
          it is widely accepted now that a non-celiac gluten sensitivity exists, even though they don't know the science behind it. So for some people it does make sense to go gluten-free even if you don't have celiac.


          • #6
            Thanks for all the replies! Yesterday I was having dinner again with two of my friends from the cooking class. Even though they are aware of the fact that I'm following a gluten free diet, one of them still managed to put Conimex Sweet Soy Sauce in one of the dishes. On my way home I was already urgently looking for a toilet... I ended up lying awake half the night with stomach aches, bloating and my heart working overtime.

            So today I decided to start an experiment for lunch. I brought myself a Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza (something I've known for years that I cannot tolerate very well) and top this with a layer of Conimex Sweet Soy Sauce :P (actually not something I would recommend having for lunch, because it's really gross). The only thing I really noticed was that I got really tired soon after eating this pizza, so I lay in bed for a couple of hours. Maybe I just needed to catch up with some sleep from the night before. Before I started my experiment I was still feeling bloated from dinner the evening before, so it's hard to tell what effect the pizza is on the way I'm feeling right now, which is not very good at all. Still some cramps and bloating. My plan is to try this experiment again sometime in the coming week, when I'm not feeling bloated on beforehand already.

            To answer the question if I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I haven't. So far I have only done a self-test called Gluten Check which came up negative for Celiac Disease. I'm thinking about making an appointment with my allergist. But first I want to do some research to make sure I will get properly tested. I guess I will have to do some research on gluten sensitivity / intolerance as well. Today I watched the following YouTube video (Gluten Sensitivity Vs. Celiac Disease Vs. Gluten Intolerance):


            One thing I found interesting is that from minute 20 he explains how gluten intolerance can cause leaky gut syndrome, which in turn causes acquired allergies. Leaky gut syndrome is something I have been looking into as a possible cause of my dry eye syndrome for years, since I also have experience with irritable bowel syndrome and chronic yeast infections. Let’s just say that I preferred to use wet toilet paper because of this yeast infection. In fact, the day I started with my gluten free diet I also started taking some probiotic supplements. I don't know if these actually do anything, but I thought I'd mention them here for completeness sake:

            Bio-Kult Probiotica Pro-Cyan 45 capsules
            Bio-Kult Probiotica Regular 60 capsules

            In any case, since I started my gluten free diet and taking these probiotics I hardly have any signs of yeast infection and no more irritable bowel syndrome at the office after lunchtime. It's probably still going to be a big challenge for me to figure out exactly what’s going on, but one thing I know for sure is that is diet has helped me tremendously. I'm looking forward a your views on this matter and I'll keep you guys informed if there are any interesting developments!


            • #7
              Just a quick update on my pizza experiment. I woke up at night because I was feeling cold. Had forgotten to wear a t-shirt under my pyjamas. But when I was trying to go to sleep again I noticed a continuous beeping sound in my ears (tinnitus). First I tried turning off all electric appliances in my bedbedroom to make sure it wasn't coming from there and of course earplugs didn't help either. Now I know where this tinnitus, which was actually quite worrying last summer, came from. I just hadn't really noticed in it a while, certainly not as bad as yesterday.

              This morning I woke up with my ears are still ringing and the pizza stuck right in the middle. Feeling nausea and producing lots of gas. The sooner this gets out of my system the better. That's all for now. Good day!