Thursday, August 18, 2011

Celiac and Gluten Intolerance

Along with our discussion on grains comes celiac disease and gluten intolerances. How do you know if you have them and what to do about it.
Let us begin with what these two diseases are because they are different. Celiac is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the villi in the small intestine. The villi are are what actually absorb the nutrients from your diet. As you can imagine, if these are damaged, you are not going to absorb vitamins and minerals from your food. You could eat all of the vitamins and minerals you want, but it is not going to make any difference if you are consuming gluten and you have damage to your villi. Symptoms include weight lose, diarrhea, fatigue, for children not growing properly and thriving, abdominal pain, and bloating, among other symptoms. Diagnosing celiac can come from a simple blood draw. If it is found you have the disease, your doctor may want a biopsy of the villi to see how extensive the damage is. The good news is that once you eliminate gluten from your diet, your amazing body can heal the villi and life will go back to normal for you. Avoiding gluten is the only way to treat celiac.
If you do have celiac and you buy processed food of any type, you Must read every label. There is gluten in things you would not expect. Even toothpaste you will probably need to make on your own. As crazy as it sounds, there is gluten in toothpaste. The easiest way to combat this problem and make sure you are not consuming gluten is to buy real food, single ingredient items.
Gluten intolerance are more a term used for those who do not have celiac, however, they do have similar symptoms of celiac, but blood work will come back negative for celiac. A little confusing I know. Intolerance to gluten is what I have. A blood test was done to check for antibodies to gluten, which did come back positive. Mine villi are not being destroyed, which I will take, when I eat gluten on the occasion. I do however feel like my stomach is being ripped apart if I eat to much. For this reason and others which I have discussed on previews post, is the reason I do not eat very much gluten.
There is also gluten allergies. This is more like having hey fever or other allergies. Symptoms for this can be very wide and varied, depending on the person. Again like the intolerance, an allergy is not destroying the villi.
If you believe you might have a gluten issue and you do not want to have blood work done you can test yourself. What you will need to do is avoid all gluten for at least two weeks, a longer period would be best, and then eat some gluten for a day or two. See how you feel after eating the gluten. Do you have bloating, stomach discomfort, fatigue, or other symptoms? If you do, then it is very likely you have some form of gluten issues, celiac, intolerance or possibly an allergy. From here, you can make the choice of just avoiding gluten or being tested to make sure it is not celiac. If you are going to have blood work, be sure you have been eating gluten. If you have not been eating gluten, it is not in your system, and the test could come up negative.
I hope this has helped to differentiate between all of these diseases which are caused by gluten. If you have questions be sure to ask.

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