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TOP CELIAC DISEASE
Henry Davis M.
Table of Content
What Is Celiac Disease ........................................................................................................................ 3
Signs Of Suffering Celiac Disease..................................................................................................... 3
How Is It Diagnosed..................................................................................................................... 3
The Real Cause Of Celiac Disease ....................................................................................................... 5
Most Common Symptoms Of Celiac Disease ..................................................................................... 7
Some Common Misconceptions About Celiac Disease ..................................................................... 9
Foods To Include In A Celiac Disease Diet………………………………………………………………………………….11
What Is Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is very misunderstood and is only starting to become better understood
through scientific research. Celiac is a hypersensitivity to a protein in many grain products
called Gluten. Gluten is a very difficult protein for our bodies to digest, and can cause
problems that occur as allergic reactions.
Signs of Suffering Celiac Disease
Some signs of celiac disease are in the healing reactions, sometimes called allergic
reactions, which occur caused by the bodies’ inability to digest the gluten protein in grains,
leading to improperly digested fats and other carbohydrates. The resulting symptoms
include things like diarrhea, weight-loss, and impending malnutrition. Being unable to
properly absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals will lead to even more serious injury and
disease. Inflammation can occur, which is an indication of a serious condition. Since the
body has one immune system, and one set of reactions, the allergic reactions are actually
reactions caused by the body to institute healing of the infected tissues and to prevent
further possible infection. Gas, bloating, and overall weak digestion are sure to be included
in the resulting symptoms as well.
How is it Diagnosed?
The condition itself can be diagnosed in many different ways. The first is by the patient
themselves and if you have constant feelings of gas, bloating, indigestion, upset stomach, or
diarrhea, it is possible you have gluten intolerance. A doctor can do a small intestine
biopsy, which is currently known to be the most accurate method of detection. An antibody
test may be able to tell you which foods you are sensitive to, and a blood test can tell you
which vitamins and minerals you may be lacking.
How does one live with and treat celiac disease?
Most people considering living a gluten-free diet no doubt believe it to be an arduous task –
one of complications which can be costly and confusing. In fact, nothing can be further
from the truth and maintaining a gluten-free diet is as easy as understanding food and how
food works for humans. All grains, nuts, seeds, beans or legumes contain phytic acid – a
phosphorus mineral bound to inositol. If the grains are improperly prepared, that is, not
soaked in an acid medium then cooked, they really lack any nutritional value and can
themselves cause reactions. Avoiding gluten is essentially as easy as changing your diet to
not include many grain products and to substitute properly prepared pseudo-grains such as
quinoa, millet, or amaranth. After healing is completed, people with celiac disease may still
enjoy, on occasion, grain products prepared properly by sour leavening. Diets low in
carbohydrates and sugar overall have been shown to improve digestive troubles and allow
the body to heal naturally. Digestive bitters or chewing a small piece of ginger 15 minutes
prior to eating can aid digestion as well. Enzymes and cultured foods like sauerkraut
promote healthy digestion and assimilation of food.
The Real Cause Of Celiac Disease
The information at the end of this article relates to the current known physiology of how
people 'acquire' the celiac disease (CD). The two sources clearly indicate that while
specialists know that gluten causes the disease and the effects of the disease, there is no
consensus on WHY celiac diseases exists in the first place.
One of the best speculations that I have found is from a book called The Gluten Connection
by Dr Shari Lieberman. While this book is a fantastic source of technical medical
information it also bravely attempts to uncover the origins of the disease. Although the
statistics are often US based, they translate well to other countries. The book states that: "In
general populations of Western Europe CD ranges from 0.5 to 1.26%. A 2001 report
showed that in the UK the rate of CD was 1 in 112 people, in Finland 1 in 130, in Italy 1 in
184 and the Sahara had 1 in 70!"
Dr Shari talks of a time before celiac disease (symptoms of) seemed to exist. A time when
meat, vegetables and grain were predominantly free from man-made toxins, preservatives
and the like. She discusses how many of our foods have been modified with the result that
while the general population has a CD rate of 1%, that up to 29% may be gluten sensitive .
The genetic predisposition of the disease is such that having a first degree relative with CD
increases your odds of having CD to 1 out of 22, and a second degree relative to 1 in 39.
Essentially it is suggested that while the human genome has remained unchanged for
hundreds of thousands of years, the Industrial Revolution massively accelerated the amount
of grain in our diet (as opposed to the traditional carbohydrate load from nuts and berries).
Of course this was necessary to feed to rapidly increasing population that were gathering in
high density cities, but we did not evolve as swiftly to cope with the gluten overload.
Add to the change in lifestyle the change in grain 'roller milling' process (invented in 1873)
which changed our diet from whole grains to refined flour, add the convenience of
packaged food with increased grains products, the rise of cereal breakfasts and our overload
was well under way. Consider that even since 1967 the US per capita gluten grains
consumption has increased from 115 pounds to 139 pounds. "Gluten is used in the
manufacturing of virtually all boxed, packaged and canned processed foods to created
textures that are more palatable to our taste buds, or it is used as binders, thickeners, and
coatings. It is even used as glue on envelopes and stamps." So maybe there is more to the
George Costanza story than meets the eye ... but I digress.
WHAT you really need to think about is the next paragraph:
" ... bioengineers continually work to improve gluten and make it a larger and more potent
part of edible grains. It is estimated that today's wheat contains nearly 90 percent more
gluten than wheat did from a century ago!"
In my general diet readings I have seen how many experts believe the increased use of
processed food components such as refined sugars and even the overuse of salt has cause
many health issues. Imagine if over refined grains were removed from the majority of
manufactured foods and wild seed banks were used to grow grains with their original levels
of gluten. Imagine if wholemeal flours were used more often and a non toxic replacement
for gluten (with glutens binding properties) was found and used in our foods? Would we
then see a fall in CD rates amongst our youth?
The point is that conspiracy theories aside, large food corporations are profit driven and
look for the most cost effective solution. This is often at the expense of long term health
effects, assuming they have this knowledge in the first place. If you are reading this and
you have celiac disease, it probably means that you were predisposed towards it, have
acquired it and can't go back to eating any form of gluten. But at least now maybe you have
one possible view as to how and why you got it. While the conclusions drawn above are
completely speculative it makes intuitive sense that too much of anything, particularly
things you don't know you are ingesting, can be a bad thing. Natural is almost always better
and if you have CD but your child doesn't have it yet, perhaps you could consider letting
them eat low gluten grains rather than 'eating just anything or abstaining completely'. Its
worth a try?
SCIENTIFIC CAUSES OF CD - SOURCE 1 "The exact cause of celiac disease is not
known; however, inheriting or developing certain irregular genes increases your
susceptibility. You are more likely to have these abnormal genes and develop celiac disease
if you have a first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter) with the
condition. In some genetically predisposed people, environmental factors, such as bacteria,
viruses, or surgery, may cause changes in the small intestine; then, eating gluten can trigger
an irregular immune system response, resulting in celiac disease."
SCIENTIFIC CAUSES OF CD - SOURCE 2 "In celiac disease, an intramucosal enzyme
defect produces an inability to digest gluten. Resulting tissue toxicity produces rapid cell
turnover, increases epithelial lymphocytes, and damages surface epithelium of the small
bowel. Celiac disease affects 1 of every 133 people in the United States and results from
environmental factors and a genetic predisposition, but the exact mechanism is unknown. A
strong association exists between the disease and two human leukocyte antigen haplotypes,
DR3 and DQw2. It may also be autoimmune in nature. It affects twice as many females as
males and occurs more commonly among relatives, especially siblings. This disease
primarily affects whites and those of European ancestry."
Most Commons Symptoms Of Celiac
Celiac disease, also called as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive
enteropathy, is a digestive disease that damages the villi of the intestine preventing the
absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. It is a malabsorption disease - meaning, that
no matter how much a person eats, that person is still malnourished. It is an abnormal
intolerance for gluten, a protein present in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. Gluten is
also present as ingredient of medicine, cosmetics and other food products.
Celiac disease was once thought as a rare childhood syndrome. However it affects people
of all ages. It can be triggered - or activated for the first time, after surgery, viral infection,
severe emotional stress, pregnancy or childbirth. Symptoms vary from person to person
depending on the person's age and extent of damage to the small intestine. Sometimes, the
disease is there for a decade or more and is only diagnosed when it developed
complications. It is a genetic disease - that is, it runs in the family.
Digestive symptoms are very common in infants and young children and may include
· abdominal pain
· chronic diarrhea or constipation
· pale, foul-smelling stool
· steatorrhea or fatty stool
· weight loss
Malabsorption may result in failure to thrive in infants, delayed growth and short stature,
delayed puberty, and dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth.
Common symptoms in adult include:
· anxiety or depression
· bone or joint pain
· canker sores
· itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
· infertility or recurrent miscarriage
· tingling in the hands and feet
Complications may arise over time which can lead to anemia, liver diseases, and cancers of
The symptoms are varied that celiac disease can be misdiagnosed or confused with other
diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual
blood loss, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, intestinal infections, and chronic
fatigue syndrome. Blood tests can help the doctor diagnose this disease. The diagnosis can
be confirmed with a biopsy of the intestine.
Continued researches are trying to find out why celiac disease has varied symptoms.
Factors such as how early a person started breastfeeding, how old a person started eating
gluten-containing foods, and how much of gluten-containing foods one eats are thought to
play a role of how and when a celiac diseases appears. Studies have shown that the longer
the person has been breastfed the later the symptoms of celiac disease appear.
People with celiac disease tend to have other autoimmune disorders wherein the body's
immune system attacks the body's healthy cells and tissues. They include type 1 diabetes,
autoimmune liver disease, autoimmune thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison's
disease, a condition in which the glands that produce critical hormones are damaged;
Sjögren's syndrome, a condition in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are
destroyed. Celiac disease is also more common among people with some known genetic
disorders including Down syndrome and Turner syndrome, a condition that affects girls'
Some Common Misconceptions About
Celiac disease is one of the most misunderstood conditions out there. The majority of
people confuse it with a wheat allergy because allergies are something they understand and
they don't actually know what gluten is. And let's face it - not many people who have
Celiac disease knew what the difference was before they got their diagnosis.
This lack of understanding can make it very hard for people with Celiac disease to find
food that they can eat and restaurants that can accommodate them, though. That's why it's
so important to clear up some of the misconceptions about Celiac disease out there.
Gluten vs. Wheat
While everyone knows what wheat is, there's a great deal of confusion about what gluten is
and where it comes from. Gluten is actually a type of protein found in wheat, barley and
rye. This means that people who can't tolerate gluten, like those with Celiac disease, can't
eat anything that's made with or that has come into contact with any of these grains. Of
course it means that people with Celiac disease and people with wheat allergies both can't
eat wheat, but that's about as far as the similarities go.
The Allergy Conundrum
Another thing that can add to the confusion surrounding Celiac disease is that many people
think of any reaction to a food or other substance as an allergy. In fact an allergy is a very
specific type of reaction by the immune system to a perceived threat. Celiac disease also
involves and inappropriate immune system response, but it affects the body very differently
from the way an allergic reaction does.
The allergic reaction can be triggered by many different types of things. Pollen, shellfish,
latex and peanuts are all common allergens, as is wheat. When a person comes into contact
with a substance that they are allergic to, their immune system produces antibodies to try
and combat that substance just like they would a bacterial invader. These antibodies, in
turn, trigger the production of histamines which lead to the all too familiar itching, and
respiratory symptoms of allergies.
In a Celiac sufferer, however, the immune system malfunctions in a slightly different way.
When their immune system detects gluten in their body, it directs the action of antibodies
towards the digestive tract itself. For Celiac sufferers, their immune system actually does
damage to their intestines, leaving them with both unpleasant immediate symptoms and
long term complications that develop because they are unable to absorb nutrients from their
Short vs. Long Term Problems
Another main difference between allergies and Celiac symptoms is that allergic reactions
are immediate but generally have no long term effects. However, in extreme cases, allergic
reactions can be immediately life threatening.
Celiac disease, on the other hand, may or may not cause immediate symptoms. In fact,
some Celiac sufferers have no digestive symptoms at all, but the damage is still being done
to their intestines. This damage can lead to many more serious medical problems including
malnutrition and the development of osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, bone and joint pain
Foods To Include In A Celiac Disease
The gluten diet could prove to be a very healthy diet. The use of starch and a great many
additives are removed from your diet when using the gluten diet. The diet helps you to
become aware of what you are putting into your body. There are recipes that are gluten
free, tasty and easy to prepare. You will be able to eat deserts, turkey and other foods.
Keeping a gluten free diet is best for people who have type two diabetes, and people who
suffer from celiac disease ( you can see more info about it in http://celiacdiseasediet.org ).
In dealing with gluten you must be careful to stay away from gluten contamination. A
number of foods are processed with grains that contain gluten and contamination could
In dieting a number of us try to stay away from the starch and salt but a few of us find the
need to worry about much more. Foods that are commonly eaten by most of us may have an
adverse effect on people who are allergic to gluten. There are foods filled with gluten,
wheat bread being one of them. Gluten free products such as corn, potatoes, rice soybeans
buckwheat amaranth, sunflower seeds and a few others can be eaten. White vinegar does
not include gluten but malt vinegar does.
Gluten can be removed from bread by rinsing bread dough until all of the starch is washed
out, but it would be safer to start with a gluten free product in the first place. Getting the
gluten free diet started might seem difficult at first but with practice and awareness the
effort will be well worth it.
People who cannot eat gluten have a very difficult time eating out. But eating gluten free is
a healthier way to eat. Being aware of what you are putting into your body can only be a
positive thing considering all of the unhealthy products that are added to our foods.
People on a gluten free diet must be very particular with their grocery shopping list.
Although there are companies that make gluten free products, great care must still be given
to grocery shopping. Simply because a product says that it is gluten free does not mean that
it is. A person with a gluten allergy must be very aware of gluten contamination. Products
that come in contact with gluten will carry the gluten protein. There are words that may
give you a warning as to whether a product carries gluten or not: emulsifier, flavoring,
starch, and stabilizer.
Including a vegetarian regiment in your gluten free diet is a good way to keep a gluten free
diet. Theses would be vegetables cooked without the fancy sauces. Even here you must be
sure to know how your food is being prepared. You cannot become lacks where this is
There is a wealth of information concerning the gluten diet. The best thing for a person who
has a gluten allergy is to prepare. If you should decide to eat out find out what is on the
menu and what oils and other items are used to prepare the food. This small activity could
keep you from eating something harmful. It is a good idea to do as much research as
possible on any diet and consult with your doctor and a dietician to help you on the road to
a healthier you.