Vaccines Triggered My Adult-Onset Celiac Disease

What caused me to get celiac as an adult? The final trigger for me was vaccines. In 2006 I volunteered to go with my church on a mission trip to Haiti.

I vividly remember a day in the spring of 2008.  I was driving on University Parkway back to my job at USCA, in Aiken, South Carolina from having attended a meeting at USC Columbia.  My head was pounding and my stomach was hurting.  I was in such pain that I pulled over on the side of the road and tears streamed down the side of my face.  I prayed, “Dear Lord, please help me.  I don’t think I can stand this pain any longer.  Help me find the cause of my pain so that I can be rid of it for good!”  After praying I did not notice any physical difference, but I did sense a peace that somehow God would lead me to the cause of my pain and a solution.

I woke up with headaches and stomach aches and went to bed with them for the past year.    The severity of my pains would wax and wane, but they never entirely abated.  I had brain fog and often could not think clearly.  There also were abdominal symptoms including gas, bloating and constipation.  Although I had seen doctors a couple of times over the previous  year, I had not gotten a definite diagnosis.

What’s Gluten?

After the experience in my car, I called my primary care physician for an appointment.  When I told her my symptoms she asked me if I was sensitive to gluten.  I asked, “What’s gluten?”  She said that it is a protein found in the grains wheat, rye, and barley. She further explained that people who are allergic or sensitive to gluten often have many of the symptoms that I was describing.  She suggested that I eliminate all gluten grains from my diet for a week or more to see if my symptoms changed.

Within a couple of days, I was amazingly better!  My headaches were almost gone and my intestinal symptoms were greatly reduced.  I had some additional tests done and found that I had the genetics that are associated with celiac disease.  Although the celiac blood test was negative at that time, I have since learned that there are often false-negatives, particularly at the early stages of the disease.

What was my Celiac trigger?

But what caused me to get celiac as an adult?  The final trigger for me was vaccines.

In 2006 I volunteered to go with my church on a mission trip to Haiti in January, 2007. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Americans who travel there are advised to have an extensive set of vaccinations to protect them from the diseases that are rampant on the island.  I was not aware of the potential problems with vaccinations, so I proceeded.  I got 8 doses of a number of different vaccines including MMR, HepA, HepB, typhoid and influenza. I felt achy and ill for a few days after each injection but did not immediately tie my symptoms to the vaccines.

As a child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I had relatively few vaccines. As an adult I had a tetanus vaccine every 10 years, but never took flu vaccinations.  When I wanted to take some classes at the university where I was employed I was required to have an MMR vaccination.  I protested because I had both measles and mumps as a child, though not rubella. However, I did not know anything about the dangers of vaccinations so I took it.  I did not notice any long term negative consequences because this was an isolated vaccination which my  body was capable of handling at that time.

What caused me to be vaccine injured?

As is the case with many people who have vaccine injuries, the vaccines were not the only contributor to my problems.  They were just the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

I had minor health issues over the years including migraine headaches, periodic strep throat and sinus infections, minor gut issues such as periodic bloating, pain and constipation, and acne and other skin problems.  All of these were at a low level and were considered “normal”.   I went to doctors as needed and took the medications that were prescribed.  Now I know that all of these symptoms were indications of the food and environmental allergies and sensitivities that I had.  I most likely had a low level of intestinal permeability as well.

I began having major emotional stress in the late 1990s due to problems in my marriage which ultimately led to divorce in 2000.  I was a single working mother of two in a high-stress administrative job and my health began a sharp decline after 2000.  I had flu for four out of the next five years, which turned into pneumonia or bronchitis each of those years. I then took multiple rounds of high-powered antibiotics to get rid of the infections.  This led to serious intestinal permeability and disregulated gut bacteria.  In 2006 I got married to my current husband and I thought all my major life stressors were over.

Then I got vaccines and went to Haiti.

I have since learned much about autoimmune diseases, nutrition and vaccinations.  Some of my most useful training about vaccinations came when I took the certification program BioIndividual Nutrition taught by Julie Matthews.  Julie, a nutritionist, is a nationally recognized expert in the use of diet and nutrition to treat autism and related disorders.  In her book, Nourishing Hope for Autism, I learned that “gene expression can be influenced by toxic exposure and nutrients (or nutrient deficiencies)” (p. 13).  I also learned that “in addition to the ‘trace’ amounts of mercury still present, most vaccines also contain aluminum, formaldehyde, or other substances that are known to be toxic, especially to the brain.  The combination of mercury and aluminum (even in small amounts) is far more toxic than just one heavy metal” (p. 25).

I had been eating the standard American diet and my body was depleted of nutrients.  I was extremely low in vitamin D and had extreme gut permeability and disbiosis due to the years of stress, infections and antibiotics.  Then when I had my vaccinations, especially the series of four in one day (HepA, HepB, MMR, and Typhoid), my body “broke” and the autoimmune process went into high gear.  As stated by Matthews, “the body, in some cases, is stimulated to attack other tissue that is similar to the vaccine.  This autoimmune reaction—where the body sees itself as foreign and attacks itself—can be caused by measles, tetanus and flu vaccines” (p.28).

Use Whole Foods to Heal

I have had many positive results from this health crisis, including my  career as a nutrition consultant.   I am passionate about teaching people about the power of a personalized whole foods diet to heal from many diseases and conditions.  If you or any family member has any chronic health issue, please educate yourself about vaccines, nutrition and how these may contribute to the particular health concern.  For help with personalized nutrition for health concerns contact me or any practitioner who is a Certified BioIndividual Nutrition Practitioner.

Resource: Matthews, Julie, Nourishing Hope for Autism, Healthful Living Media, c. 2008

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