Celiac disease & autoimmunity

Hello lovely people. If you are reading this it means that you are interested in finding out more about celiac disease, autoimmunity and how diet and nutrition can help heal your gut from it’s effects.

‘Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine’ – celiac disease foundation. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In people with celiac disease their body recognises this protein as a foreign substance and an invader. Their immune system then attacks the protein, in turn damaging the lining of the small intestine. The villi on the lining of the small intestine are responsible for the absorption of nutrients.

Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning it can be passed down through family members. It can occur at any age after the individual starts ingesting gluten. Left untreated celiac disease can lead to other health problems including autoimmune diseases. Health issues which can occur as a result of celiac disease include Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

Symptoms of celiac disease can manifest themselves in various ways. These are not just limited to digestive symptoms. These can include

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 or migraines
missed menstrual periods
infertility or recurrent miscarriage
canker sores inside the mouth
an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis

fatigue
irritability and behavioral issues
dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth

Digestive symptoms can include:

abdominal bloating and pain/ Bowel changes
vomiting
weight loss

Diagnosis is made by a medical professional through the combination of blood tests and intestinal biopsy.

Once confirmed – the only treatment is a strict adherence to a gluten free diet. Even the slightest crumb of gluten containing product can set off an autoimmune reaction within the body and damage the intestines of a person with the disease. Once gluten is cut out of the diet it can take up to 6 months for the intestines to heal. Some have such a vast amount of damage that the intestines can never fully repair and heal.

Long term exposure and lack of diagnosis can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies and food intolerances due to lack of absorption in the gut. After gluten has been cut out there are many various strategies you can use to increase the ability of your gut to heal. These include healing your gut through nutritious foods with various vitamins and minerals. Β A Low Fodmap diet in the initial stages can help correct bacterial imbalance and secondary SBIO caused by the disease. Probiotics can further assist with correcting bacterial imbalances and natural supplements such as L-Glutamine can help repair the gut lining. Anti – Inflammatory supplements are also a great way of reducing the inflammation of the gut lining and the secondary effects on the body.

Non – Celiac gluten sensitivity

Non – celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition in which symptoms similar to that of celiac disease improve when gluten is eliminated. There is no medical testing which can diagnose this condition, it is purely based on a persons symptoms and effect of treatment. A diagnosis is confirmed when tests for celiac disease or wheat allergy come back negative but symptoms diminish on a gluten free diet. Individuals with this condition will not experience the small intestinal damage or immune response present in celiac disease but can experience an overall improvement in health when gluten is eliminated from the diet.

 

If your interested in learning more about celiac disease visit celiac.org for more info

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