Beer Labeling Changes Proposed

The Canadian Celiac Association lead the response to recommended changes to beer standards including the need for labelling of gluten and other food allergens last summer.  As a result of the community response and from stakeholder groups, Health Canada has recommended changes to the beer standards. Click here to read.

beer-not-gluten-freeAmong these changes is that that beer will no longer be exempt from the labelling requirements set out in the Food and Drugs Regulations for allergens, gluten and added sulphite.

In order to be successful, our community needs to respond to a second round of public consultations before the regulations are finalized. We’ll let you know when you can participate and ensure these regulations move forward as proposed.

As usual the beer industry will lobby hard against these changes so we need your support! Every letter counts.

Osteoporosis and Celiac Disease

by Nicole LeBlanc, Dt.P. (Translation by Mark Johnson)

Osteoporosis is a frequent complication of celiac disease, linked to the malabsorption of calcium. This nutrient is absorbed in the first portion of the small intestine, which is also the main area of intestinal damage in someone with untreated celiac disease.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the skeleton and is characterized by low bone density and the deterioration of bone tissue, rendering the bones more fragile. This problem can lead to pain as well as deformities in the spine.


Indeed, osteoporosis is a major public health problem in Canada, and the prevalence is only increasing with the ageing population. Looking at gender, women are four times more likely than men to have osteoporosis – the decline in estrogen production results in a 2-5% loss of bone density per year over the course of the first few years post-menopause. Osteoporosis is also more common in people with a new celiac diagnosis than among the general population – and with celiacs, men have the same percentage of risk as women do.

Risk factors

People are at greater risk if they present with the following factors:

  • Family history of osteoporosis (e.g. fractures in the hip, wrist or vertebrae)
  • Being a woman and over 50 years of age
  • Weakened bone structure and a weight at the lower end of the healthy range – BMI between 18.5 and 25)
  • Early menopause (before the age of 45)
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Low intake of dietary calcium
  • Excessive caffeine consumption (more than four cups per day)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Using certain medical drugs, including cortisone, for more than three months
  • Diseases that interfere with the absorption of nutrients (e.g. Crohn’s disease, celiac disease)

Celiac Research Tidbits – June 2018

Still getting glutened an ongoing problem

A February study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that unintentional exposure to gluten may be greater than was previously thought. One of the study’s authors, herself a celiac, talked about how she was still getting sick, and used mass spectrometry to find out that some of the “glutenfree” pasta she was eating in fact contained gluten.
For more information:

Mono linked to celiac, other disorders

New research from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – best known for causing mononucleosis – also may increase the risks for some people of developing seven other major diseases, including celiac disease. Other linked diseases are: systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
For more information:

New wheat with less gluten coming out

Arcadia Biosciences, a California-based company, has developed wheat in which gluten has been reduced by around 60%. While this wheat will still not be safe for people with celiac disease, the company is targeting those who have gone gluten-free by choice, or feel they are sensitive – the vast majority of those who are eating GF.
For more information:

Does baby delivery method impact celiac?

Much research has been published suggesting that babies delivered by caesarean section are more likely to develop celiac disease. However, new research published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology suggests that this may not be the case. Researchers used data from administrative registers and health administrative registers from Denmark and Norway and linked the data at the individual level. The mode of delivery was not associated with an increased risk of diagnosed celiac disease.

For more information:

Researchers Replicate Celiac Disease in Mice

By Dr. Valerie Abadie
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Montreal


Canadian scientists have figured out how to replicate celiac in mice, which could lead to breakthroughs in new treatments.

Celiac disease (CD) is highly prevalent in North America, with around one percent of the Canadian population affected by the disease. The classical pathological changes of CD in the small bowel encompass an increased number of intraepithelial lymphocytes, the presence of autoantibodies, and a destruction of the lining of the small intestine (called villous atrophy). The only effective treatment currently available for CD is a lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD), yet persistent symptoms and intestinal tissue damage are common among celiac patients that adhere to a GFD.

Non-dietary therapies that would improve patient health and alleviate the social and personal constraints associated with following a GFD are under investigation. However, the development of new therapies has proven challenging because of our incomplete understanding of the mechanisms responsible for damaging the intestinal tissue and the lack of a disease-relevant animal models.

Several animal models of gluten-sensitive disorders have substantially contributed to a better understanding of how gluten intolerance can arise and cause disease, yet none of them represent a suitable mouse model for preclinical validation of new celiac drug targets as they do not display intestinal tissue destruction upon gluten ingestion as seen in active CD patients.

For the past years, with the support of the J.A. Campbell Research Award, the laboratory of Dr. Abadie at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Jabri at the University of Chicago has worked extensively on the characterization of a novel mouse model that develops all the features of CD upon gluten ingestion including the development of villous atrophy.

Following oral gluten administration, the development of anti-gluten immune responses characterized by the expansion of cytotoxic lymphocytes and the development of antibodies against gluten, as well as CD-associated histological abnormalities were monitored and confirmed that this model develops a disease that closely resembles human CD.

In addition, this work confirmed that the induction of CD-like pathology requires the predisposing genetic factor HLA-DQ8 as in humans. This new mouse model is likely to revolutionize research in CD by allowing studying the complex immune mechanisms that lead to villous atrophy. Hence, it is currently used to take the first steps towards the mechanistic characterization of the immunological players involved in the development of villous atrophy in CD, and to better understand how intestinal immune responses towards gluten are deregulated in the context of CD. In particular, Dr. Abadie’s group is studying how B lymphocytes -specialized cells involved in the secretion of antibodies and autoantibodies- contribute to the pathogenesis of CD and whether autoantibodies against the enzyme tissue transglutaminase contribute to the development and/or the exacerbation of the disease. In addition of allowing to considerably gain some fundamental knowledge on CD pathogenesis, this long-awaited physiological animal model of CD represents an invaluable tool for the preclinical validation of new celiac drug targets and to test novel non-dietary therapies.

Celiac Disease and Oral Health

By Dr. LouAnn Visconti, President of the Ontario Dental Association

Taking care of your teeth can be a challenge for people in the best of health but for those with medical conditions or diseases, having a good dental care routine is essential to preventing further problems from developing.

One issue people with celiac disease can experience is being less able to absorb the minerals and nutrients that are essential for developing bones and teeth. Although the disease can develop at any age, if it occurs in children younger than age 7, when permanent teeth are developing, there can be defects to the dental enamel. The number of teeth affected is also strongly linked to factors that include the age at which a gluten-free diet is started.

Some research suggests children with celiac disease are at a higher risk of getting cavities. This may be related to the inability to fully absorb calcium and other key minerals. Another issue that can affect dental health is recurring canker sores and a dry or burning sensation on the tongue because of difficulties absorbing Vitamin B-12, folate and iron.

One of the best ways to deal with these symptoms is the early diagnosis of celiac disease and the implementation of a gluten-free diet, which has been shown to greatly reduce the severity of some of these dental issues by allowing the body
to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

Most people wouldn’t realize that the dental office actually has supplies that may contain gluten. This can include dental products such as the paste used to polish teeth after a cleaning, fluoride, topical local anaesthetic, gloves and even orthodontic retainers.

It’s critical for people of all ages with celiac disease to maintain a regular dental care routine and that includes the basics like brushing at least twice a day and flossing on a daily basis. Just keep in mind that dental care products commonly used at home, such as toothpaste, floss and even mouth rinses can also contain gluten and if ingested, could result
in heightened symptoms of celiac disease.

How to Order a Gluten-Free Meal

By Ellen Bayens, The Celiac Scene

the celiac sceneGoing out for a dinner? Communication is the key ingredient to every successful gluten-free restaurant meal. When diners, chefs and servers are able to collaborate on what is required and what can be reasonably delivered, there is cause for celebration.

The following is a list of suggested questions to help get you started when you dine out. Start anywhere and in very short order, the responses you receive will allow you to gauge any given restaurant’s degree of gluten awareness – and willingness. For the very best outcome, call ahead or take your host or server aside before ordering.


  1. What ingredients will be used to make my order?
  2. How do staff know whether ingredients are really gluten-free? Says so on labels? Checked product website? Called the manufacturer?
  3. Will pure spices, prepared seasonings or soy sauce made from wheat be used to make my meal?
  4. What other food items are cooked in the oil that gluten-free items are cooked in?
  5. How are sauces and dressings thickened?


  1. How will my server communicate with the kitchen that a gluten-free order has been placed?
  2. How are gluten-free orders prepared in relation to the regular flow of the kitchen?
  3. Will staff wash their hands / change gloves / change aprons clean surfaces before preparing my order?
  4. Will fresh toppings be used to dress my order? How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing my food are free from any trace of gluten?
  5. Separate or scrubbed frying pan? Griddle scrubbed? Aluminum foil barrier? Dedicated pots? Dedicated
  6. What other precautions do staff take to minimize / prevent cross-contamination?
  7. How will my server confirm with the kitchen that the order they are collecting has been prepared gluten-free?
  8. How will my server confirm that the order they are delivering to me is gluten-free?

Questions Specific to Pizza Restaurants

  1. Are gluten-free crusts prepared on-site? During regular operations? Before regular production?
    During downtimes / days?
  2. See questions in ingredient section above.
  3. Are pre-made gluten-free crusts purchased from a dedicated gluten-free manufacturer? Who is the manufacturer
  4. How are gluten-free sauces and toppings prepared?
  5. During regular operations? Before regular production?
  6. During downtimes / days?
  7. How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing gluten-free orders are free of any trace of gluten?
  8. How are utensils, crusts, sauces and toppings protected from cross-contamination with gluten while waiting to be used?
  9. How will my order be protected from cross-contamination with gluten once it has been prepared and/or while waiting to be served?

Ellen Bayens operates The Celiac Scene™ in Victoria, Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands and is a source for gluten-free diners in the region.

Celiac disease and the gluten-free diet found unlikely to impact IVF outcomes or fertility

Here’s yet another reason why those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity do not need to follow the gluten-free diet. Research presented in October by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) indicates that the gluten-free diet is not effective as a treatment for infertility. The findings are combined from 30 different scientific studies.

While healthy eating, including a low-carb diet, is part of a holistic, evidence-based approach to treating patients with infertility at RMANJ, adhering to a gluten-free diet has been shown to have no impact on increasing fertility for those trying to conceive.

The studies are the first large research projects to investigate IVF outcomes in gluten-free patients and the frequency of celiac disease in infertile patients.

One study found that patients on a gluten-free diet had equivalent IVF success rates to those whose diet included gluten, proving that maintaining a gluten-free diet to improve IVF outcomes is a major misconception.

The other study revealed that IVF success rates were equivalent between those with celiac disease (a disease with proven gluten intolerance) and those without.

More info:

8 Ways to Celebrate Celiac Awareness Month

  1. Try a new GF recipe.
  2. Share the Celiac Symptoms Checklist available on the Kelowna Chapter website. Did you know that people with CD experience different symptoms and that some individuals with CD have Silent CD in which there are no obvious signs.
  3. Talk to your family about celiac testing. Did you know that there is a higher incident of CD in family members?
  4. Donate. Make a donation to the CCA.
  5. Share your favourite gluten-free recipe with friends, family or the celiac community. Send us your recipe to share with our membership.
  6. On May 16th, wear green in support of the May Awareness Green Ribbon Campaign.
  7. Pass on information about the GFFP to the managers or owners of your favourite restaurants.
  8. Post a link or article from Kelowna Celiac to your favorite social media account

Celiac Podcasts To Check Out

A Canadian Celiac Podcast with Sue Jennett
A new podcast with 16 episodes covering a range of topics with special guests including:

  • Episode 1 Melissa Secord of the CCA Jan 28, 2018
  • Episode 2 Ellen Bayens of the Celiac Scene Feb 2, 2018
  • Episode 3 Christian Varro Feb 5, 2018

The Celiac Project Podcast: 2 guys Talking Gluten-free with Mike & Cam

This podcast grew out of the documentary film The Celiac Project directed by Mike Frolichstein.  Mike and Cam, both diagnosed with CD, converse with a wide range of special guests to advance the conversation and raise awareness about celiac disease. There is a lot to explore in this series, with over a 100 episodes to choose from.

Celiac Awareness Month Events

By CCA National Office

May is recognized internationally as Celiac Awareness Month. This year, CCA will be building awareness around the atypical (non-classic) signs and symptoms of the celiac to encourage more people to recognize the early signs of the disease.

It’s estimated that one percent of the world’s population has celiac disease and another five to six percent have gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately, only 20 percent of at-risk Canadians have been diagnosed.

Throughout the month, watch for the following events, along with our social posts, media outreach and website, for information on the atypical or non-classic signs of celiac disease. This campaign is so important because while you may know a lot about celiac disease as a member of CCA, thousands across Canada don’t and they may be unaware that their symptoms could be signs of the disease or gluten sensitivity.

We encourage you to participate in various activities being held by the national organization or at the chapter level. Share social media posts with your friends and family to increase their understanding of the disease.

Our local chapters across Canada will be helping us promote this important month.

  • May 1 – House of Commons Members of Parliament asked to wear green celiac ribbons and make statements to kick off the month.
  • May 10 – Schar Facebook Live Day – Join our experts and friends at Schar on our CCA Facebook page (public) throughout the day, as they’ll be talking about the atypical signs of celiac disease and how to recognize symptoms.
  • May 14 – CN Tower Lighting – Join CCA National staff after dusk in Toronto to take ‘CN Selfies’ as the tower is lit up in green to commemorate the month. Be sure to tag @tourcntower and @CCAceliac and watch for the meet up time and location. Can’t be there?  Share our social posts!
  • May 16 – Celiac Awareness Day & Giving Day – Help us reach our $500,000 goal for the year by making an online donation to CCA National.
  • May 16 – 9-10 p.m. EDT – Could my child have celiac disease? – Free webinar. Click here to register.
  • May 23 – 10-11 p.m. EDT – Gluten Free 101: Getting Started on the Gluten-Free Diet – Free webinar
  • May 27 – Join us at the Gluten-Free Garage in Toronto at Artscape Wychwood Barns. CCA’s Sue Newell will be a featured speaker. Stop by the CCA booth!
  • May 29 – Poor Bone Health: Could it be celiac? A free webinar presented by CCA and Osteoporosis Society of Canada. Two times available: 6 pm – 7 p.m. and 9 – 10 p.m. EDT. Note: Limited to 100 participants for each time slot. Click here to register.