Yes, you read that title right. Many people do not use the words ‘celiac disease’ and ‘benefits’ in the same sentence but having celiac disease has meant some incredible benefits for me.
I just got some very good news this week – my iron levels are normal. All of my iron lab values (including my ferritin) are normal – not way below normal, not even low normal – solidly normal! Let me explain my excitement.
I am not one of those people who had any digestive symptoms with celiac disease. I would eat bread, cookies, cake, pizza without a hint of digestive upset. However, I have been anemic for as long as I can remember. I have taken a multitude of types of iron supplements – with food, on an empty stomach, in divided doses, all at once. To absolutely no avail.
I have eaten meat, not eaten meat, eaten vitamin C sources with the meat. I have tried iron boosting teas, tinctures and botanicals. I tried every remedy that typically will work for people with iron deficiency anemia.
During my first pregnancy, my iron was very low and I just could not get it into the normal range. As any pregnant women knows, severe anemia coupled with typical pregnancy tiredness makes for an “I can’t get off the couch” kind of issue.
With my second pregnancy, I wanted to birth the baby at home but that plan was in jeopardy because of my significant anemia. Our amazing midwife could not understand why a young, otherwise healthy woman was so anemic. At my husband’s suggestion, and with my midwife’s encouragement, I finally got tested for celiac disease.
Bingo! With the gluten out of my diet, my iron levels started to improve right away. I was able to birth our second child at home and my iron levels recovered well even after a significant amount of blood loss. It has taken longer for my iron reserves (as measured by my ferritin level) to get into the normal range but three and a half years later, my ferritin looks great!
I have always been a person with some energy but the normalizing of my iron levels means that my energy levels are even better. I am so grateful that my anemia mystery was solved in a way that does not even require me to take drugs. I just have to read labels, enjoy the multitude of delicious gluten free food options and gaze happily at my excellent lab results!