Why Fix Our Food System When We Can Just Take A Pill

I read an article today by Maxx Chatsko, ‘Tired of Gluten-Free Foods? Watch This Pipeline Drug!’, he says,

“some great news for individuals with celiac disease, also known as gluten allergies. AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV ) recently entered into an exclusive deal with Alvine Pharmaceuticals centered around a novel treatment for celiac disease. The therapy consists of two recombinant, gluten-specific enzymes that break down gluten in the body and have been shown to reduce inflammation in early and mid-stage trials.”

What I don’t understand is how this wonder drug is supposed to work. Is AbbVie proposing that people with Celiac can eat gluten if they take the pill? Or is this a drug you take after you have been glutened because it breaks down gluten? There is no cure for Celiac Disease because the poison is in the actual food we are eating.

One of the lines in Maxx’s article infuriated me, “There are currently no treatments approved for celiac disease — a massive market” Yes, we might be an untapped “massive” market for pharmaceutical companies but a FOOD CHANGE is an approved treatment that not only works but heals your body in the process, which is something I would bet this new drug can’t promise. It’s a “novel” idea to try to fix Celiac Disease with a drug instead of changing your diet or the food system gone wrong. But let’s not sweep this growing food epidemic under the rug with another drug pretending there isn’t really a problem.

We seem to live in a society that is filled with pills for whatever might ail you and doctors seemingly are happy to hand them out. Sometimes a healthy diet change, like with Celiac Disease, can sort everything out. So why exactly is a pill needed? Not to mention a pill that presumably has some pretty severe side effects similar to AbbVie’s present drug, Humira, which treats multiple immunological diseases. In an article by seekingalpha.com they say, Humira’s:

“safety profile is similar to those of other TNF (tumor necrosis factor) inhibitors, requiring vaccinations for pneumococcal disease and influenza in defense of immunosuppressive complications that RA biologics can provoke. Humira also carries a black box warning of an increased risk of cancer, tuberculosis, and other opportunistic infections. Humira’s subcutaneous administration also means that injection-site infections are common.”

AbbVie is looking to replace Humira once their patent runs out in the next few years. Is this the reason the race is on to find their next big drug that will earn them billions plus? I’m not opposed to billions made, I take issue with the reasoning behind it and the hurried pace to put something on the market first.

Science tells us our body has two brains, one in our head and one in our gut, though the gut has no conscious thoughts and cannot make decisions per say. An article from Scientific American states,

“scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around…The little brain in our innards, in connection with the big one in our skulls, partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body.”

So the pharmaceutical companies are trying to Prozac our guts as well. If our little, magical, wonderful, complex gut tells us something is bad, that we shouldn’t eat certain foods because they make us sick, effect our moods and emotions, why then should we mask that with a drug, because in truth, that is really all they can do with an incurable auto immune disease.

There are two great quotes I found from an amazing in-depth article by Sayer Ji, The Dark Side of Wheat – New Perspectives on Celiac Disease & Wheat Intolerance:

“If we view Celiac Disease not as an unhealthy response to a healthy food, but as a healthy response to an unhealthy food”

And…

“I believe we would be better served by viewing symptoms of CD as expressions of bodily intelligence rather than deviance”

I agree with Sayer, we need to listen to what our bodies are telling us and actually fix the problem, not just cover it up. We have a serious food epidemic here and there are a lot of naysayers who refuse to believe or do not want to admit, that our food is directly related to the rise of cancers, obesity, diabetes, auto immune disorders, etc… a little research is all it takes. In the average person’s lifetime, we inhale about 60,000 pounds of food and if people choose to stay sick rather than give up the food that is poisoning them is comparable to a user who refuses to give up his heroin.

I wish that AbbVie would instead invest their billions into changing our food system and creating a more healthy society instead of investing in a big expensive band-aid. But I know there is no money made if people aren’t getting sick. It’s truly a shame. Cheers to a healthy diet.

Sources:
* http://t.co/2BEWOLNM6n
* http://business.time.com/2013/03/13/why-were-wasting-billions-on-gluten-free-food/
* http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gut-second-brain
* http://www.greenmedinfo.com/page/dark-side-wheat-new-perspectives-celiac-disease-wheat-intolerance-sayer-ji
* http://seekingalpha.com/article/1406861-after-abbvie-s-humira-what-next

 

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Comments

    • Anonymous
    • June 5, 2013
    Reply

    Sadly, this is a very common misconception! I can’t eat dairy. Can’t count how many times people told me – “there’s a medicine for lactose intolerant people! just eat it and have an ice cream!!” I always answer that I refuse to put food into my body that it wasn’t made to handle, then stuff drugs on top of it to MAKE my body take it! (plus there are so many alternatives to gf/df ice creams 🙂

    1. “I just take a pill and then eat whatever I want”… As somehow people think this solves the problem when really it just sets them up for more problems later

    • Anonymous
    • June 5, 2013
    Reply

    Sadly, this is a very common misconception! I can’t eat dairy. Can’t count how many times people told me – “there’s a medicine for lactose intolerant people! just eat it and have an ice cream!!” I always answer that I refuse to put food into my body that it wasn’t made to handle, then stuff drugs on top of it to MAKE my body take it! (plus there are so many alternatives to gf/df ice creams 🙂

    1. “I just take a pill and then eat whatever I want”… As somehow people think this solves the problem when really it just sets them up for more problems later

  1. I’m glad ur feeling better. I never heard of that diet but just looked it up an is similar to paleo it looks like. Eating whole foods keeps ya healthy, what a novel idea, right?! Good for you for listening to yourself and your body and not the pill toting doctor 🙂 they have gotten so far removed and stuck on pharm drugs to fix, er um bandaid everything.

    • Crista
    • June 5, 2013
    Reply

    My GI doc wanted me to join the study on this drug, because I wasn’t responding to the gluten free diet very well…but I had already moved on to trying the SCD Diet and was feeling fantastic by the time I got an appointment with him. He was very skeptical of SCD but a year later I still feel fantastic and I am so glad I didn’t have to take medecine to get there. FOOD is MEDECINE…when are doctors and pharmaceutical companies going to take that seriously?

    1. I’m glad ur feeling better. I never heard of that diet but just looked it up an is similar to paleo it looks like. Eating whole foods keeps ya healthy, what a novel idea, right?! Good for you for listening to yourself and your body and not the pill toting doctor 🙂 they have gotten so far removed and stuck on pharm drugs to fix, er um bandaid everything.

  2. Reply

    Excellent post.
    I have always been fascinated by the ability of chicken or ducks to analyze and determine in a fraction of a second whether something is edible or not. it cannot be a brain function but a complex gut analysis. An other interesting thing is the ability of a fetus to be imprinted with the memory of what the mother ingest during pregnancy and gives the young a data bank of what is edible and be suspicious of what has not been experienced.
    If we eat the right things pharmaceuticals would be obsolete however it is easier to produce pills than to make good food available widely.
    We need to relearn to trust our instincts and listen to our body

    1. I complete agree. My body tells me when I need to eat more of something because it needs it, we need to be more aware. To be willing to give up our addiction of processed food.

    • Amanda
    • June 1, 2013
    Reply

    I already have to take a ton of prescription medication for conditions which (to my knowledge) have no way of being managed through diet. If I can continue to manage Celiac Disease just by not eating gluten, I certainly would not want to take a prescription for it!

    And I agree – our food supply is causing a huge amount of health problems.

    • Amanda
    • June 1, 2013
    Reply

    I already have to take a ton of prescription medication for conditions which (to my knowledge) have no way of being managed through diet. If I can continue to manage Celiac Disease just by not eating gluten, I certainly would not want to take a prescription for it!

    And I agree – our food supply is causing a huge amount of health problems.

    1. May I ask what it is you are suffering from besides Celiac Disease?

      1. Reply

        I have severe asthma and eczema (both which are exacerbated by environmental allergies). This time of year, I’m usually on a at least 5-6 different prescriptions just for allergies alone 🙁

        1. Holy Moly! How do you keep track of it all? That has got to be expensive?

          1. It IS expensive. I have really good insurance, but I still end up spending quite a bit. I just leave all of it out by my toothpaste so I remember to take it in the morning, and set up reminders on my phone for the stuff I have to take every few hours 🙂

          2. I can’t even imagine how difficult day to day can be. is there a worse part of the day?

          3. It’s not so bad. 🙂 A lot of people have things much, much worse than I do. The only part I REALLY hate is having to avoid the outdoors as much as I do during the spring and fall.

          4. There are always people much worse but walking in your own shoes is always worse to you. It’s amazing to see you embrace it as you have and spread the word. You’re a very strong woman

  3. That “massive market” piqued my interest as well Kirsten. Pharma vs Food? I’ll take food every single time.

    1. I know right! Did you read what he wrote back calling us “crazies”?

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Hi, I’m Kirsten

I am a Gluten Free Nutrition Consultant who’s goal it is to make the lives easier and healthier of those with Celiac disease and those that choose to live the gluten free lifestyle.

Living the gluten free lifestyle is not an easy one and can be very overwhelming: from testing to grocery shopping, to eating out and deglutening your own household, I am here to walk you through the process from beginning to end.  With tips, tricks, humor, healthy recipes and sometimes just an understanding ear, I will guide you seamlessly through.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010, so I understand completely the trials and tribulations of living gluten free.

 

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