1. New numbers show gluten allergies are badly under-diagnosed

    The silent affliction causing misery in millions

    Celiac disease has been getting plenty of attention lately, and for good reason: Millions of Americans have this condition or other forms of gluten sensitivity, and most of them don't even know it.

    All they know is that they're miserable -- and even their own doctors often can't figure out why.

    New numbers from the Mayo Clinic find that 1.8 million Americans are battling celiac disease, but only 400,000 of them have been diagnosed with the condition.

    That may sound like a lot of people, and it is.

    But the numbers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology barely scratch the surface -- because tens of millions more actually suffer from gluten sensitivities without having celiac.

    For them, it can be even more of a challenge to get diagnosed and treated since mainstream medicine believes you either have full-blown celiac or you're 100 percent fine with gluten -- with nothing in between.

    And that's simply not the case.

    Between 30 percent and 50 percent of Americans have some form of gluten sensitivity... and they're routinely told gluten isn't the problem, especially when a celiac test comes back negative.

    So they keep eating the foods they can't handle, and they keep feeling worse. There are the obvious symptoms, like gastrointestinal pain, gas, and diarrhea, but also less obvious ones linked to gluten sensitivity, including fatigue, headaches, depression, Addison's disease, and more.

    Some doctors will try to treat those individual symptoms with meds for those conditions, and of course they'll get nowhere since the patient is still eating gluten.

    But at least they're trying -- other doctors will suggest all those problems are in the patient's head. And still others will just call it a "mystery disease" and claim there's nothing else they can do.

    Well, it's no mystery to me, and it's not in your head -- it's the gluten, and if you suffer from problems that can't be explained or diagnosed, then maybe you should work with a holistic doctor on a gluten-free period to see if the symptoms improve.

    In many cases, they will -- and if that's your story, you're going to have to learn to eat all over again.

    It won't always be easy, since going gluten-free can be so restrictive, but there's a growing number of diverse and delicious gluten-free products and recipes out there than can help make sure you still get to enjoy your favorite dishes now without having to suffer later.

  2. Antibiotics no longer recommended for sinus infections

    Finally, a little common sense when it comes to antibiotics: A leading medical group is urging docs to stop using these drugs for sinus infections.

    Right now, roughly 15 percent of us suffer these infections every year -- and most are given 10 days of amoxicillin for it, despite the fact that up to 98 percent of all sinus infections are caused by viruses.

    And antibiotics, as I'm sure you know, are worthless against viruses.

    Now, the Infectious Diseases Society of America is telling docs to quit it -- because the overuse of these drugs comes with some serious risks.

    Along with the added costs to medical care, the drugs expose patients to side effects for no good reason. The most well known and immediate, of course, is diarrhea.

    But these drugs also pack a bigger risk that you might not feel right away. They kill off nearly all of the bacteria in your stomach, including many of the good bugs you need to stay healthy.

    And that can cause more than just stomach problems, since there's increasing evidence that imbalances in gut flora can play a role in everything from mental illness to muscular disorders.

    Call it one more reason to make sure you take a probiotic whenever you take an antibiotic.

    But that's just the impact on a personal level -- and that's small potatoes compared to the big picture here. The overuse of antibiotics has led to the rise of drug-resistant superbugs, and that affects all of us... whether we've taken these meds or not.

    Sinus infections are actually a case in point.

    They're the fifth most common reason these drugs are used, and the main one -- the amoxicillin I mentioned earlier -- is losing effectiveness in the small percentage of infections that really are caused by bacteria.

    As a result, the new treatment guidelines call for a different antibiotic in the rare cases they're actually needed, amoxicillin-clavulanate instead of amoxicillin, and for five days instead of 10.

    The change for antibiotics alone is revolutionary -- but they didn't stop there. The Society is also calling on docs to stop dishing out all the other meds commonly recommended for sinus patients, including the decongestants and antihistamines that have been proven to actually make the condition worse.

    Instead, one of the new recommendations is for nasal irrigation with a sterile solution -- an honest-to-goodness all-natural remedy.

    Of course, issuing new guidelines is only half the battle.

    Now let's see if docs actually follow them.

  3. How toilets spread disease

    British researchers recently conducted a series of tests on toilet seats -- and before you dismiss this as a bit of wacky and unnecessary research, check out what they learned: Toilets can spread potentially deadly bacteria when the lid is up.

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