Celiac disease is often associated with gluten sensitivity and gluten intolerance which is, although common, very wrong assumption to make. So let’s get it straight from the beginning. They share similar symptoms, but celiac disease is a much more serious condition. Gluten sensitivity and gluten intolerance, technically referred to as NCGS (Non-celiac gluten sensitivity), won’t cause lasting harm to body tissues, while with celiac disease this is a possible outcome.
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine due to a long time intake of foods with gluten. Celiac disease is a tricky condition because many people who have it don’t have any symptoms or have only few. This makes it hard to recognize, so many people are undiagnosed and unaware that their health is at risk. The only sure way to confirm a celiac disease is through endoscopic biopsy of the small intestine.
Now, there are over 200 symptoms of celiac disease and numerous health conditions and malignancies connected to celiac disease. Gluten issue is relatively unexplored territory with nearly 70 years of medical history, but at this point there are some established theories on celiac disease treatment.
Celiac disease can make your life pretty hard, because it causes multiple effects on many deficiencies for the body like vitamin and mineral deficiencies, osteoporosis, migraines, and iron deficiency anemia. Latest studies even found a link between iron deficiency and h-pylori infection, which is a GI tract infection. Patients level of iron increased significantly only after eliminating this bacterium. Some common h-pylori symptoms are acid reflux, nausea, gastric bloating and excessive belching.
With many diseases, treatment implies surgery or medication. But this is not the case with celiac disease. Since gluten is the main cause for this condition, the only way to stop processes in your body that it causes, is to remove it from your diet. Completely and forever. Easier said than done, the “only” thing to do is to withdraw gluten from your diet, which can be challenging, since gluten is not only in wheat, rye and barley, but also in condiments and spices. Gluten can even be a substance in non-food products like vitamins, supplements or even lipsticks! Even the smallest amount of it will prolong and hold back your recovery.
As soon as you eliminate gluten from your diet, you should feel improvement. However, sometimes it can take years before your body is completely gluten free, so you really have to be patient. Now, for celiac disease patients, gluten-free diet means lifelong restraint from gluten, which means that you will never be able to tolerate gluten, so you have to get used to a different lifestyle and learn to adjust to it.
There are even studies that claim that gluten-free diet makes no difference (or makes a little difference) on life quality, because of increased zonulin level that causes leaky gut which is essential for reversing damage caused by gluten. This may be the reason why even after years of gluten avoidance, some symptoms are still present in patients. Still, the leaky gut is untreatable for now, and following a treatment plan is essential for improving your life quality and prevent health complications.
Gluten awareness is a big issue today, so luckily for some, there are many products labeled gluten-free and even restaurants that serve gluten-free meals. Still, don’t believe any product that seems suspicious (like gluten free pizza for example) and learn how to correctly read food labels, because gluten can lurk from anywhere. Also, there are technology gadgets on the market that can read if there is gluten in the food under two minutes, if you want to be extra safe.