Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body is unable to digest gluten. When a celiac patient consumes gluten, the immune system attacks their small intestine. This attack can damage the villi in the small intestine. The villi help the intestine absorb nutrients from foods. When these villi become damaged, sufferers can experience vitamin deficiencies. In addition to vitamin deficiencies, celiac can cause a number of problems, including:
- Behavioral Problems, including ADHD, developmental delays, anxiety and depression
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting and liver problems
- Muscular skeletal issues, including arthritis, joint and muscle pain, neuropathy and osteoporosis
- Reproductive disorders, like infertility, miscarriages, delayed puberty and menstrual irregularities
- Skin and dental problems, including eczema, hair loss, canker sores and rashes
Celiac disease can cause a variety of long-term health problems if foods containing gluten are not avoided. These problems include other autoimmune disorders, pancreatic insufficiency, gallbladder issues, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Type I diabetes and intestinal cancers.
There are several ways to help celiac patients deal with the effects of this autoimmune disorder. However, before you learn how to deal with this disease, you need to understand what gluten is. Gluten is a term used for the proteins found in a variety of grains. There are two different proteins found in wheat- glutenin and gliadin. Barley contains the protein hordein, rye contains secalin and avenin in oats. As you can see, there are different proteins in each type of grain. The most common irritants to a celiac sufferer are the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye, according to the Celiac Support Association.
The best way to prevent a reaction is through complete abstinence of gluten; however, this can be difficult. You must strive for a gluten-free life. This means that all traces of wheat, rye and barley should be avoided. Even a trace of gluten can cause damage to the small intestine.
Understanding the most common types of grain that cause the immune system to attack the body can help you protect yourself. Most people know that gluten is found in most breads, pastas and cookies; however, many do not realize that gluten can also be found in other food items, medications, cosmetics and cleaning products. Therefore, it is important that you read every label to prevent an immune response.
Most labels do not list the word gluten on labels; therefore, it is important to look for any products that may have derivatives of wheat, barley or rye. Common derivatives include brewer’s yeast, malt syrup, malt extract or flavoring. Additionally, it is important to consider cross contamination because even the smallest trace can cause a reaction.
Enzymes- What Are They and Why Are They Important?
Celiac sufferers often experience a reduction in digestive enzymes, bile and stomach acids. This causes the body to be unable to properly digest food, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies and even malnutrition. Additionally, insufficient stomach acids, bile and enzymes can allow pathogens and bacteria to overgrow in the intestines, resulting in inflammation of the gut. This can lead to other food sensitivities, chronic yeast infections and reduced immune function.
Once you have eliminated all gluten from your life, it is time to begin healing your intestines, restoring enzyme levels and increasing your stomach acids. This can be done with digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help the body break down food.
Naturally occurring digestive enzymes are produced in the small intestine, stomach, saliva glands and the pancreas according to Whole 9 Life. When these systems are not functioning properly, you can improve digestion with supplemental digestive enzymes. There are three types of supplemental digestive enzymes- fruit sourced, animal sourced and plant sourced from fungi.
Plant-sourced enzymes are the weakest type of digestive enzyme supplements. These enzymes are isolated in papayas and pineapples.
Plant-sourced enzymes from fungi survive the digestive system and are considered the most stable types of digestive enzymes.
Animal sourced enzymes can come from either cows or pigs. The most common type of this enzyme is pancreatin.
You should take digestive enzymes with food for best results; however, you can take them 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after your meal. As you begin using these enzymes, you will notice an improvement in symptoms within as little as three days.
Celiac disease can cause numerous problems in the small intestine. This can cause a plethora of symptoms, including malnutrition, joint pain, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. You can help heal the damage gluten has caused by avoiding all gluten and using digestive enzymes to improve digestion and heal the small intestines.