What’s all the talk about Gluten and Celiac disease?
By Dawn Peters & Rosemary Hatten
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten helps food to maintain their shapes, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can also turn up in unexpected places like certain brands of chocolate, imitation crab (surimi), deli meats, soy sauce, vitamins and even some kinds of toothpaste. Gluten is different from proteins in other grains (such as rice) and in meat in that it is difficult for the humans to digest completely. It can make some people very sick, but not everyone.
Symptoms vary widely and can include gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, congestion, headaches, fatigue, and depression. The same symptoms are associated with Celiac Disease, so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is also known as Coeliac Disease, Celiac Sprue, Non-Tropical Sprue, and Gluten Sensitive Entropathy. It is estimated that approximately 1% of Americans have celiac disease. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestines. These attacks lead to inflammation and damage of the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine. These villi promote nutrient absorption. When the villi become damaged, nutrients are not absorbed properly into the body. Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families.
Symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, anemia, bone pain, and a severe skin rash called “dermatitis herpeti forme.” Symptoms that may not appear associate include weight loss, fatigue, infertility, lack of menstruation, depression, and dental problems. Celiac disease often has few or no symptoms and is part of the reason only about 5% to 10% of cases are diagnosed in the U.S.
Long Term Health Effects
Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy blistering skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid foods with wheat, rye, and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage. Also AllerGzyme™ is a full spectrum proteolytic enzyme complex that assists with the digestion of difficult-to break-down proteins such as gluten, gliadin, and casein from whey and dairy, as well as many other protein sources in the diet, including soy and rice. Nutritional enzyme therapy is the answer.
At Omega Heath & Wellness we offer celiac disease antibodies testing,** along with comprehensive food testing, that tests 132 foods and additives including gluten. Contact our office at 904-374-6498 for comprehensive testing today! **ALL insurance accepted