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Gluten IconIntro: Celiac Disease

There are many websites that explain people’s issues with gluten in great and authoritative detail.  In the paragraphs that follow we’ll gloss over most of those details.  We have, however, created links to websites with more details if you’re interested.

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley and rye and in food processed from those grains.  Oats, unless they are certified gluten-free, are suspect because they are usually grown and processed in ways that contaminate them with gluten.

Celiac disease is what most people we know are trying to treat.  The disease (also called celiac sprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, nontropical sprue) is a chronic intestinal disease caused by an intolerance to gluten.  However, the medical community is coming to agreement that there are other kinds of gluten sensitivities that are not celiac disease.  None of the other sensitivities are anywhere near as well defined as is celiac disease.  We’ll talk about celiac disease in the paragraphs that follow.

People who aren’t sure if they have celiac disease should consult a gastroenterologist about being tested before going on a gluten-free diet.  It is difficult to diagnose the disease if the person is already gluten-free.  So, get tested first!

People who know they have other kinds of gluten sensitivities might want to skip to the section about diet.

When a person with celiac disease ingests gluten, their body views it as a toxin.  In an autoimmune response, the body then releases antibodies to attack the gluten, attacking itself in the process.  The attack damages the villi in the small intestine, reducing the surface area through which the body can absorb nutrients.

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Information on this website, newsletters, links and other content is provided for educational purposes. We recommend you consult your heath care provider for advice regarding all medical concerns. As ingredients, menus, etc change without notice, we cannot ensure that information referenced within will remain accurate. In an attempt to provide accurate, useful information, we welcome comments, ideas, corrections and other feedback.