Several decades ago no one would have known what Celiac’s disease is, but in the last ten years its prevalence has grown like wild-fire and the statistics on gluten-intolerance diseases have been on the rise (which is no surprise with common consumption of over-processed breads due to recommendation by the US government that grains be the main staple of our daily diets). As we saw in yesterday’s post we looked at gluten and its hidden appearance not only in grains, but other food products (like tomato sauces). Coming soon we’ll be looking at the digestive system, but in the past we have looked at the gut its importance. Like I mentioned yesterday, Celiac’s rings home with me, as both my father and older sister have been diagnosed with the disease. They have identified that in order to have the disease individuals must have the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8, although other forms of HLA-DQ’s raise the risk of gluten insensitivity (which many people suffer from and might not know it). Individuals with Celiac’s have a chronic inflammation of the small intestine because of this chain of peptides response to modern wheat gluten and chains in rye and barley. Antibodies in the intestine attack the peptides. What’s sad is that sometimes this can go so long with diagnosis, that great damage can be incurred by the small intestine. The chronic inflammation destroys villi (the little mucosa that increase surface area for nutrient absorption during digestion). Flattening of these poor villi leads to malabsorption of vitamins and minerals, which can lead to deficiencies and conditions like osteoporosis and anemia. It can also lead to other inflammatory conditions like rashes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, lymphoma, digestive system cancers, and chronic fatigue. If that’s not bad enough, it can lead to psychiatric conditions like severe depression and schizophrenia. symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- bloating diarrhea
- restless legs
- weight loss in child
- failure to thrive by children
Something interesting about many food allergies is an increased craving for the very thing that is making you sick, so an urge to eat breads may mean an intolerance. Diagnosis of Celiac’s can be tricky as blood testing isn’t always correct and sampling of intestine villi can be tricky if they don’t get the right section of testing. Often self diagnosis can be the best thing. If you think that grains are to blame then cut them out for a bit and see how you feel (sounds harmless enough). For Celiac’s a well-rounded diet with plenty of fats and vitamins and minerals is important (especially since they’re compromised villi mess with absorption) and of course elimination of grains. Tomorrow we’ll look at more reasons that today’s grains are wrecking havoc on our systems with phytic acid.