Support for Celiac Sufferers: Sarah Stout Speaks about Celiac Disease
Aug 31, 2011 11:33AM
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the intestinal tract when gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, barley, triticale, and kamut, is consumed. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that approximately 1 in 133 people in the United States have celiac disease, and that on average, it takes 4 years to diagnose the condition. Symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, abdominal bloating and gas, depression, mouth sores, skin disorders, menstrual irregularities and fatigue. Some individuals report no symptoms of celiac disease yet the damage to the intestinal tract continues. For those with celiac disease, consumption of gluten will eventually result permanent and irreparable damage to the villi, or fingerlike projections that help move food, along the intestinal wall. This damage disables the body’s innate ability to properly absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals, leading to malnutrition. The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies include zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, folate and vitamin D.
The good news is that symptoms and further damage to the body can be avoided by adhering to a strict gluten-free diet. Additional progress can be made by taking digestive enzymes that will break apart gluten proteins should trace amounts be consumed, and adopting a dairy and soy-free diet as well, as dairy and soy generally causes additional inflammation in the body. Because public awareness of food allergies and celiac disease is increasing, many restaurants have started to offer gluten-free menus and are incorporating alternative grains such as quinoa, millet and brown rice into their everyday menus.
Sarah Stout is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Natural Health Counselor and Raw Foods Chef. She can be reached for consultations at Reinventing Wellness, 317-408-0110 or online at ReinventingWellness.com.