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What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease (CD) is a multisystem disorder that causes the body's immune system to react to the protein [known as
gluten] found in wheat, barley, rye and oats1. When gluten is consumed, the body attacks the gluten and itself. The small intestine is the main focal point of the attack. Intestinal damage makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food. As the malabsorption continues, the disease progresses and further complications arise. The gold standard for diagnosing CD is evidence of intestinal damage.

CD was once thought be a childhood disease that one grew out of. This is not the case! It's a genetic disorder that can be triggered at almost any age. Once triggered, there is no out growing it - once a Celiac, always a Celiac.

To develop CD, one needs:

  • The genes for the disease
  • To be consuming gluten
  • A trigger (illness, infection, surgery, pregnancy, some say extreme stress)

In a 2003 ground breaking study, Dr. Alessio Fasano (University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research) discovered that 1 out of 133 people in America is affected by this disease.

•CD is the most common auto-immune disease in the country - yet often goes misdiagnosed.

•It's estimated that 97% of those living with the disease go undiagnosed.

•According to
Dr. Peter Green, on the average, people will suffer for 4 years before getting a proper diagnosis.


Information for Medical Professionals:

Detecting Celiac Disease in Your Patients
University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Celiac Disease): More Common Than You Think (PDF format)
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas

Journal of the AGA Institute - Volume 128, Issue 4, Supplement 1 (April 2005)
A collection of many articles relating to celiac disease.

Celiac Sprue Treatment in Primary Care
Young, Linda S & Thomas, Debera Jane - Nurse Practitioner July 2004

1Studies show a small percentage of those with CD may also react to oats just as they do to wheat, barley and rye. It's recommended that oats be removed for the first year. Since commercial oats have been shown to have various levels of cross contamination, it's best to avoid them completely. Pure, uncontaminated oats are being grown and processed by a number of companies in the USA and Canada. Should oats be added back in to the diet, it's best to do so slowly. Large increases of fiber can cause gastrointestinal distress.