The Scoop on Gluten and Celiac Disease

sickCeliac Disease affects 1 out of 133 in the United States and is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the world.  It is a genetic condition which makes people allergic and intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.  When a person with Celiac Disease is exposed to gluten, their immune system responds by damaging and destroying the villi of the small intestines.  Villi line the digestive tract and are small finger like protrusions that allow nutrients to be absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.  Once these villi are damaged, as in a person with celiac disease, the body is no longer able to absorb nutrients and a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food they eat. 

Some common symptoms of Celiac Disease include: 

  • abdominal bloating and pain
  • chronic diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • weight loss
  • decreased thyroid function
  • memory loss & confusion

Other symptoms of Celiac Disease result from chronic malnutrition:

  • unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • fatigue
  • bone or joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bone loss or osteoporosis
  • depression or anxiety
  • tingling numbness in the hands and feet
  • seizures
  • missed menstrual periods
  • infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • canker sores inside the mouth
  • an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis

How do you know if you have Celiac Disease?  The only way to be certain is to take a blood test.  Your doctor will be looking for an elevation in the autoantibodies tTGA, AGA or EMA, proteins that react against the body’s own tissue and are specific for Celiac Disease.  Your doctor might also recommend a biopsy of the small intestine lining to confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment for Celiac Disease is a gluten-free diet.  This can be difficult because so many things are laced with gluten; however, once a person with damaged villi cuts out the gluten, they will notice improvements in symptoms within days.  In fact, the small intestine will heal within 3-6 months, therefore allowing the body to fully absorb nutrients from food.

Here is a list of some foods that are considered gluten free:

Fresh meat Fish and shellfish Poultry and game
Vegetables Fresh herbs Fruit
Dried fruit Nuts Eggs
Cheese Cottage cheese (not cheese spreads) Milk (when newly diagnosed you may be lactose intolerant)
Dried beans, peas and pulses Vegetable oils, sunflower oil, olive oil Almonds, ground or whole
Rice, ground, long or short grain Rice cakes/crackers Rice flour (and other gluten free flours)
Yeast Cream of tartar Bicarbonate of soda
Sugar Dried peppercorns Cornflour (from the maize plant
Tamari soy sauce Marmite (only if made in the UK) Yoghurts (without crunchy bits)
Cider vinegar Wine vinegar Distilled vinegar
Sago Tapioca Millet
Quinoa Flax seed Corn Tortillas
Corn tacos Popcorn (check any coating) Homemade soups (not roux based)
Jelly (jello) Jam Marmalade
Honey Golden syrup Black treacle or molasses
Tea (check herb teas first) Fruit juice Fruit squash (not barley water
gluten free beer Wine Xanthan gum (replaces “elastic” quality of gluten)

If you suspect you may be gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease, contact Dr. Wendy Norman at Hanna Chiropractic Wellness Center.  This is a serious condition and must be managed with proper nutritional counseling and supplementation.  We have helped many patients eliminate gluten from their diet as well as to heal the damaged gut lining.  Call for your appointment today!  (949)-389-0400

References:

National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse – http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

Gluten Free Chef – http://www.the-gluten-free-chef.com/gluten-free-food-list.html

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One Response to The Scoop on Gluten and Celiac Disease

  1. Vnc says:

    Hi there,Just here to let anyone know about gulten free food in Florida. I went there last year and it was the first time ive been there with celiac disease. All the people we knew told me that america was great with gulten free food so all i brought in my suitcase was pitta as that i liked more than bread. When we went food shopping there was no bread, not many cereals and mostly only cookies which were nice. Bring as much bread as pos. The shop we went to was called Walmat so i dont know what the other shops are like. Even though the shops werent go the restaurants where very good and the waiter etc were very good. We went to TGI’s which was lovely and the steak house which i even got to ate THE most AMAZING chocolate brownie . I hope any of that helps.Shannon

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