This blog post is dedicated to people who suffer from coeliac disease, their friends and family. I tried to focus on the most important aspects of this strange condition that is unfortunately on the increase rather than decline. I included a great YouTube video where Dr Tom O’Bryan explains very clearly what gluten causes in the body. At the end of the post, you can find links to all BH Supplements gluten-free products. Also, you can choose from specially designed supplements for coeliac disease. Our herbal blends help to soothe irritation and heal inflammation in the gut.
The Difference Between Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease
If you don’t have any direct experience with the painful and multiple symptoms of coeliac disease, you might think it’s all about being sensitive to gluten. But it’s not. Coeliac disease is not the same as being gluten intolerant. It is an autoimmune condition that is triggered by gluten. In other words, the body’s immune system reacts to gluten as if it was an intruder, a threat. Therefore, the person suffering from this disease experiences a wide range of symptoms, like other autoimmune conditions, such as bloating, diarrhoea, cramps, pain in bones and joints, fatigue, skin rashes, mouth ulcerations and more. Additionally, people also suffer from a leaky gut syndrome which makes it difficult to absorb key vitamins and minerals.
Gluten intolerance is caused by lack of enzymes that are necessary for the body to absorb gluten. Therefore, people with this diagnosis experience a range of symptoms only when the gluten is present in the body. In other words, a person with gluten intolerance will not have any symptoms when avoiding gluten in food and drink.
Though a gluten-free diet is an absolute necessity for both diagnosis these two conditions are completely different. People with the coeliac disease suffer from inflammation of the intestines. This is caused by the immune system that isn’t functioning properly. Therefore, treatment for this condition is more complex than a diet free from gluten.
Many People Go Undiagnosed
While gluten intolerance affects as many as 1 in 10 people, the Coeliac disease affects only 1 in 100 people. Keep in mind that there are many people who go undiagnosed. Under-diagnosis is, therefore, a huge problem. Research shows that ca 500,000 people have not yet been diagnosed in the UK. A diagnosis can be made at any age, but the most common age range is at this time between 40 and 60 years.
If you feel that you might be suffering from a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease, it is important to speak to your doctor. Only then you can take steps towards recovery and healing.
Coeliac Disease: Immune System Going Mad
Sadly, autoimmune diseases are on the rise. Research shows that there is a strong connection between stress, hectic lifestyle and the increase of disorders of the immune system. In other words, when our body cannot cope, it goes mad. It’s so mad that our immune system mistakes the body’s own cells for intruders and attacks them.
In the case of coeliac disease, the immune system creates antibodies when gluten appears in the body. These antibodies then attack healthy cells and tissues and cause inflammation. Normally, inflammation appears when there is an injury or an infection. In this case, it’s gluten that “causes the injury”.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of coeliac disease vary from person to person. It ranges from mild to severe and aren’t restricted only to the digestive system but can spread to different parts of the body. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, anaemia, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, vomiting and mouth ulcers.
The Key Factors Behind the Development of Coeliac Disease
It is not totally understood what causes coeliac disease, but it is now widely recognised that there are three key factors that could contribute to its development:
– consummation of bread and pastry with too much gluten
– a genetic susceptibility
– an unusually permeable or ‘leaky’ gut.
Listen to this short video (4.31 min) where Dr Tom O’Bryan explains why more people become sensitive to gluten.
Leaky Gut Syndrome and Coeliac Disease
The main function of the small intestine is the digestion and absorption of the nutrients in food. If the coeliac disease goes undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, the cells lining in the small intestine can become increasingly inflamed. They can also become narrower, which means that the surface area is reduced. Consequently, intestinal permeability worsens.
Intestinal permeability doesn’t only worsen in celiac disease, it partially causes celiac disease. Patients with celiac and other autoimmune diseases have a predisposition to a leaky gut. This could explain in part why autoimmune diseases sometimes occur together.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Leads to Malnutrition
The “leaky gut syndrome” really means reduced nutrient absorption. If unchecked, this can lead to malnutrition, deficiencies, weight loss, fatigue, digestive disorders and a strained immune system. Therefore, treating a leaky gut as important as excluding gluten from the diet. At the same time, it’s crucial to compensate for the malnutrition and deficiencies with top quality food and herbal supplements – specially designed for 1) easy absorption 2) soothing the inflammation in the gut.
Living with Coeliac Disease
While there is no known direct “cure” for these conditions, once diagnosed they are relatively easy to deal with. You have to remove all sources of gluten from your diet. This is the key treatment and is usually very successful.
However, because of the prolonged irritation of the gut and inflammation of the intestinal lining, it will take several months to reduce all the symptoms. This requires patience and dedication to a new lifestyle – which living without gluten really means.
A gluten-free diet to address coeliac disease is, therefore, a lifelong commitment. Sticking to it can be difficult, particularly as gluten is present in a wide range of foods as well as drinks. (Gluten can also be hidden in ingredients). It takes quite a lot of learning and practice. However, nowadays there are so many more foods free from gluten available than ten years ago.
Supplements Free from Gluten
BH Supplements offers nutrients-fortified, gluten-free meal replacements that can provide excellent support on a daily basis. You can choose from a wide range of gluten free supplements that will boost your diet with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, active enzymes and other micro-nutrients. Also, we recommend our range of products that are specially designed for people suffering from various symptoms connected to the coeliac disease: Special Supplements for Coeliac Disease