Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder which is managed with a strict gluten-free diet. Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley, and rye.
Celiac is estimated to affect 1 in 133 Americans – of these only 3-5% have been diagnosed. It’s a difficult disease to diagnose because the symptoms vary widely. Symptoms can include abdominal pain/cramping, distended stomach, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss or gain, headaches, depression, and infertility. Among others.
Gluten-intolerance is not a true allergy. When someone with Celiac Disease eats gluten, they have an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself) in the first part of the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed. This can eventually lead to malnutrition and deficiencies of important nutrients (such as anemia). And even people who do not have the autoimmune reaction can be gluten-intolererant or gluten-sensitive. Gluten is the hardest food for our bodies to digest.
Here are some helpful resources on Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet.
- Celiac Sprue Association
- University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center
- Celiac Disease by Peter H.R. Green (link goes to amazon.com)
Click here to read my posts about Celiac Disease. These are a few of my favorites: