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    Ten Important Things to Know About Celiac Disease


    Jefferson Adams
    • Recent studies show that most people with celiac disease begin to see gut healing in the first year or year and a half.

    Ten Important Things to Know About Celiac Disease
    Image Caption: Image: CC--normanack

    Celiac.com 05/02/2018 - Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, not an allergy. Celiac disease affects abut 1 in 100 people, and requires professional diagnosis and treatment with a gluten-free diet. There is a good deal of confusion and inaccurate information about celiac disease and a gluten-free diet. Here are some important things to know about celiac disease:

    1) Celiac Disease Doesn’t Always Have Obvious Symptoms
    People with celiac disease may have few or no symptoms. In fact, these days, most people diagnosed with celiac disease, report few or no symptoms.

    Classic gastrointestinal symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation, and gut pain after consuming wheat, barley or rye. Other prominent symptoms can include fatigue, headache, poor weight gain, and depression. 

    Less classic, but still common celiac symptoms include one or more of the following: anemia, anxiety, skin rashes, infertility, irritability, joint pain, pale mouth sores, thin bones, tingling and/or numbness in hands and feet.

    2) No Symptoms Doesn't Mean No Damage
    The level of celiac-related symptoms or complaints a person has does not equate to the level of gut damage. Few or no symptoms does not mean little or no gut damage. People can have severe celiac symptoms, yet relatively light gut damage on biopsy, or conversely, they can have light symptoms and still have serious gut damage on biopsy.

    3) A Simple Antibody Test Can Point the Way
    If you suspect celiac disease, be sure to talk with your doctor. A simple antibody test or two is usually sufficient to rule celiac disease in or out. If the test is positive, then a doctor will likely recommend a biopsy for confirmation. Recent studies show that a combination of two antibody tests may be better than biopsy. Usually, patients need to be eating wheat when they are tested for celiac disease, but that is changing. There are also some promising new approaches to blood testing for celiac disease.

    4) Early Diagnosis is Key
    The longer you go without treatment, the higher the risk of gut damage, and the greater the likelihood of developing associated conditions. Early diagnosis is especially important in the elderly, as they have a greater risk of developing associated conditions and complications from untreated celiac disease. Still diagnosing celiac disease can be tricky and can take time, partly because the symptoms can be vague, seem unrelated, and can mimic other conditions.

    5) No Cure
    Currently, there is no cure for celiac disease. Several companies are working to develop a vaccine, or other immune therapy for celiac disease, but until we see a major scientific breakthrough, there is no cure for celiac disease. 

    6) Gluten-Free Diet is Mandatory
    A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is mandatory, not optional. If people with celiac disease consume wheat, rye or barley proteins they risk causing serious damage to their health, including gut damage and potential cancer, especially in the long term.

    7) Full Gut Healing Can Take Time
    Recent studies show that most people with celiac disease begin to see gut healing in the first year or year and a half. The vast majority of celiacs on a gluten-free diet heal within two to three years. Gut healing usually corresponds to healing in other affected parts of the body, such as improvements in bone microarchitecture, neuropathy, and other areas of celiac-associated damage.

    8) Gluten Sensitivity Can Increase
    The longer you go without gluten, the more sensitive you may become to accidental gluten ingestion. It’s not uncommon for people with celiac disease to see their sensitivity to gluten increase in the weeks and even years after they give up gluten. That can mean that accidental gluten ingestion can bring on symptoms that are more severe than their original complaints. For many people, this sensitivity may slowly taper off and decrease over time. For others, sensitivity remains high and requires extra vigilance about to make sure food is gluten-free.

    Remember, increased gluten sensitivity does not equal increased gut damage. For some, a fully healed gut may be more sensitive to gluten than a damaged one, and vice versa. 

    Among people on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease, sensitivity can vary.

    9) Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is a Thing
    You can be sensitive to gluten and not have celiac disease. Researchers have recently confirmed a condition called non-gluten sensitivity. People with this condition experience celiac-like symptoms when they consume gluten. However, they typically do not test positive for antibodies to gliadin, and they typically have a clean biopsy, so no gut damage. Some studies have cast doubt on the existence of non-gluten-celiac sensitivity. Other studies have shown that many people with NCGS react to gluten. Still other studies show that Fructan has emerged as one possible culprit

    10) You Can Still Live a Healthy Life and Eat Delicious Food
    Having celiac disease means making some important adjustments to your diet, but it’s still possible to live a healthy life and eat tasty food. Read more about the best gluten-free breads, burgers, pizzas, and all your favorite gluten-free treats.

    Here is a list of SAFE and UNSAFE foods for people with celiac disease

    Here is a list of easy, list of easy, delicious gluten-free recipes.

    Here is a list of great gluten-free sandwich breads.

    Here is a list of great gluten-free Mexican Fast Food Chains.

    Here's a recipe for a delicious gluten-free No-Bake Cheesecake.

    Knowledge is Power
    Use Celiac.com, and the Celiac.com Forums to get important information and to share your experience with others like you. Other great celiac disease resources include:

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    Guest NoWake

    Posted

    Great article!  Everyone with Celiac Disease needs to read this.

    #2, I learned the hard way, I was still eating out at so-called "safe" restaurants and getting sick all the time.  When I talk to others with Celiac I always share this, and 90% of the replies are "I am not as sensitive as you."  Unless they are testing the food, their blood and taking a biopsy they don't know just how much damage is happening due to mishandling and cross contamination.

    #8, I can also agree with 100%, today we have a 100% gluten free home, I no longer eat out unless it's 100% gluten-free establishment, and I read and check all the labels of foods I buy..... and occasionally I get sick as a dog, with 99% of the time not knowing from with.  So, today I much more sensitive than pre diagnosis.     

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    Guest sc'Que?

    Posted

    re: #10?  Cut pre-fab foods out of the regular diet (save gluten-free pre-fab options for traveling or special occasions) and cook WHOLE FOODS FROM SCRATCH as much as possible. Some people are natural chefs, while others need to learn the skills. Either way, this is THE BEST PATH toward a healthy gluten-free lifestyle!

     

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    Guest Laura

    Posted

    That's just wonderful for those people who are only gluten-sensitive or celiacs who do NOT have cross-reactor responses.  Bread, pretzels, cheesecake?  Get real!  Gluten cross reactors: yeast, egg & dairy in addition to gluten "must" be excluded from ingestion by many celiacs since the GI response is the same for many celiac disease patients.  Namely: massive diarrhea. Has anyone read grocery food labels?  Try to find a gluten-free product that does not include a cross-reactor.  What hybridization of modern wheat has succeeded in doing is to "destroy" lives!  Lost ability to attend social gatherings where food is served.  Forget about eating out!  Try to consume the heat extracted oils that are chock full of toxic chemical residues. These cause GI problems as well. Notice how many meats are now "infused" with broth (full of yeast).  I was 55 years old when the new wheat was released in 2009 with its 17% increase in gluten content above the 1960's versions.  The gluten content of 6 slices of todays bread equals 102 slices of the 1960 breads and the "damage" is being discovered with the passage of time.  Every year since 2009, there have been new gluten related disease codes added to the ICD-10 books for physician diagnostic correlations. It is discussting what our society has done to our foodstuffs.  So sad for the young people.  So sad for us all!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com.

    Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA.

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    Scott Adams
    Wine, rum, tequila, and sake are usually safe as their alcohols do not generally come from toxic grains. Some vodkas are also okay. However, as with any other ingested product, you should gauge your reaction and learn as much about your favored brands as possible.
    Grain alcohols are one of those controversial items, but recent ADA guidelines indicate that all 100% distilled spirits are safe, including Whiskey, bourbon and gin. Regular beers, must be avoided, since malt (usually from barley) is an ingredient. Even rice beers use malt, but there are a handful of gluten-free beers on the market today.

    Scott Adams
    A
    Acacia Gum
    Acesulfame K
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    Acetanisole
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    Adzuki Bean
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    Ascorbic Acid
    Aspartame (can cause IBS symptoms)
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    Aspic
    Astragalus Gummifer
    Autolyzed Yeast Extract
    Avena Sativia (Oats3)
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    Calcium Acetate
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    Zinc Oxide
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    1) Cellulose is a carbohydrate polymer of D-glucose. It is the structural material of plants, such as wood in trees. It contains no gluten protein. 2) Methyl cellulose is a chemically modified form of cellulose that makes a good substitute for gluten in rice-based breads, etc.  

    Jefferson Adams
    New Test Could Simplify Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
    Celiac.com 03/10/2014 - A new blood test under development by researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute can rapidly and accurately diagnose celiac disease without the prolonged gluten exposure needed for current tests.
    The new blood test is supposedly accurate after only three days of gluten consumption, not the several weeks or months traditionally required to make a diagnosis using intestinal biopsies.
    Researchers from the Melbourne institute, with colleagues from biotechnology company ImmusanT in Boston, US, led a study of the blood test in 48 participants, the results of which were published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology.
    Furthermore, says Dr Jason Tye-Din, gastroenterologist and head of celiac research at Hall, preliminary results show that the new diagnostic test can accurately detect celiac disease within 24 hours.
    Dr Tye-Din said that the blood test built on fundamental research discoveries the team had made about coeliac disease.
    "This 'cytokine release' test measures the T cell response to gluten after three days of consumption, and a positive response is highly predictive of coeliac disease," he said. "With this test, we were able to detect a T cell response in the majority of study participants known to have coeliac disease and importantly, the test was negative in all of the patients who did not have coeliac disease, even though they followed a gluten-free diet and thought gluten was the cause of their symptoms."
    The researchers hope larger studies will confirm its role as a widely used tool for diagnosing coeliac disease.
    Source:
    Medicalxpress.com.

    Jefferson Adams
    Why All the Hate for Celiac Disease Drug Treatments?
    Celiac.com 09/18/2015 - That old saw about death and taxes might need a bit of amending to include complaints about pharmaceutical companies working on celiac drug treatments.
    One interesting facet of our coverage of the development of various drugs to treat and/or cure celiac disease has been the regular presence of comments questioning the motives,and actions of the companies involved.
    It's funny, but no one complains that companies still make money selling aspirin, and that no one has cured a headache, and that there must be some conspiracy to profit off of those who suffer a headache.
    There's no doubt that there's money to be made producing drugs that treat disease. But, if a company can develop and produce a safe drug to protect celiacs against contamination, or to help reduce symptoms, what's wrong with that?
    Just like an aspirin, I can take it or not take it.
    In the old days, ten years ago or more, people with celiac disease generally suffered in silence, with scant gluten-free food choices, and little information. However, in just a decade, we've got a wealth of information, and multi-billion dollar gluten-free foods market and a number of companies developing drugs to treat or cure celiac disease.
    To me, that's a good thing. Still, there are naysayers. Here's a rundown of comments by readers who seem less than enthused about celiac drugs in development.
    Our recent article, An Update on Every Celiac Disease Drug Currently in Development included the comment:
    "Article's fine. Concept's disturbing. Eating a gluten-free diet is the free, already-proven cure for celiac and gluten-intolerance. They don't have to torture mice and likely other animals to find a 'cure' for something that there already is a cure for. I imagine there is $$ for the researchers here and $$ for the animal labs and $$ for the pharmaceuticals."
    Of our article entitled, How Close Are New Celiac Disease Treatments? one reader wrote:
    "I would be very cautious about taking any of these until it was proven absolutely to have no side effects. There always are some and history has shown some to be deadly." Commenting on our article ALV003 Reduces Gluten Damage in Celiac Disease Patients, one reader commented:
    "I only want to know: how long until random internal organs begin to fail or malfunction as a result of yet another new mystery drug? I'd rather starve to death than be a guinea pig for big pharma again."
    Our article on NexVaxx, entitled Is a Vaccine for Celiac Disease Just Around the Corner? included the following comments:
    "Totally agree with vhill seems like a ploy to poison people with GMO foods that come up with a supposed "'cure'. Eat healthy whole foods this is not a curse its a wake up call to be healthy if you didn't have celiac you'd probably be eating processed crap." Balm wrote: "Thanks but no thanks. I'll remain a celiac and continue to eat healthy. While trying to fix one problem, some will end up with far worse problems." Jonnys wrote: "Stupid idea! Just another way to make more money off of people." These are but a few of the largely positive comments we receive, and we hope you enjoyed them as much as we do.

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