Common Health Questions?


What is celiac disease?

Celiac Disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder. When people with celiac disease consume foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs and the villi of the small intestine become damaged. Without healthy villi the body is unable to absorb nutrients and becomes malnourished. There is no cure for celiac disease, however it can be managed effectively with a gluten-free diet. Studies show that approximately 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease.

How is celiac disease treated?

There are no medications available for people with celiac disease to counteract the negative effects that gluten has on their bodies. As of right now, a gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac disease. Products like the Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide, Easy 30 Day Gluten-Free Diet book, Gluten-Free Dining Out Cards and the Gluten-Free Mexican Cookbook make it easier to stick to a gluten-free diet. Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can counteract the potential long-term effects of the disease, including damage to the small intestine, osteoporosis, intestinal lymphoma and bowel cancer.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

One of the complications of celiac disease is that its symptoms can easily be confused with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Celiac disease often causes an individual’s stool to be loose and pale. Those with the disease may experience weight loss or an inability to gain weight. Abdominal pain, cramping and mouth ulcers are additional symptoms of this condition. Because celiac disease can prevent the absorption of some necessary nutrients, anemia, osteoporosis and abnormal bleeding may develop as a result of this condition. Here are possible symptoms of celiac disease.

Possible Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Acid Reflux
Anemia
Bloating
Bone Loss
Bone Pain
Dental Enamel Defects
Depression
Diarrhea Or Constipation
Fatigue/Loss Of Energy
Growth Failure In Children
Hair Loss
Heart Palpitations
Infertility/Recurrent Miscarriage
Irritability
Joint Pain
Malnutrition
Migraine Headaches
Muscle Cramps
Painful Itchy Bumps On The Skin
Panic Attacks
Restless Legs
Seizures
Tingling Of Hands Or Feet
Unexplained Weight Loss Or Gain
Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

Maintaining a strict gluten-free diet may help alleviate most symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Within a few days of being on a strict gluten-free diet, symptoms usually start to diminish. A vast improvement can usually be seen within a few weeks.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten Intolerance is when an individual develops adverse health symptoms when ingesting gluten. Though these symptoms may be similar to celiac disease, this condition has not advanced to the severity of intestinal villi damage. Gluten intolerance can also be effectively managed with a gluten-free diet. Researchers now believe that gluten intolerance may be as common as 1 in every 20 Americans.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a special type of protein that is most commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is comprised of two main protein groups: gliadins, and gluteins. People who have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity may suffer from chronic digestive problems when ingesting foods that contain gluten. Gluten is found in most cereals, breads, pastas, soups, and pizza crusts. It may also be hidden in foods such as seasonings, salad dressings, sauces, additives and natural flavors.

Safe vs. Unsafe Foods

Below is a list of safe vs. unsafe foods. Those that are gluten-free, those that might have hidden gluten, and those that contain gluten.

  • Gluten-Free
  • Amaranth
    Arrowroot
    Beans
    Buckwheat
    Carob
    Coconut
    Corn
    Cornstarch
    Distilled Alcohol
    Distilled Vinegar
    Eggs
    Flax
    Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
    Fresh Meat
    Fresh Poultry
    Fresh Seafood
    Lentils
    Milk
    Millet
    Nuts
    Oil (Canola, Olive, Vegetable)
    Potatoes
    Pure Herbs & Spices
    Quinoa
    Rice
    Sorghum
    Soy
    Tapioca
    Teff
  • Possible Hidden Gluten
  • Bouillon Cubes
    Broth
    Caramel Color
    Caramel Flavoring
    Dextrins
    Emulsifiers
    Flavoring
    Food Starch
    Gravy
    Hydrolyzed Protein
    Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
    Maltodextrin
    Miso
    Modified Food Starch
    Natural Flavoring
    Salad Dressings
    Sauces
    Soups
    Soy Sauce
    Spice Blends
    Stabilizers
    Teriyaki Sauce
  • Contains Gluten
  • Barley
    Barley Malt
    Batter
    Beer
    Bran
    Breading
    Bulgur
    Couscous
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
    Kamut
    Malt
    Malt Vinegar
    Oats*
    Orzo
    Rye
    Semolina
    Spelt
    Triticale
    Triticum Vulgaris
    Wheat
    Wheat Flour
    Wheat Germ Oil
    Wheat Gluten
    * Certified Gluten-Free oats are safe

What is Casein?

Casein is a protein found in milk. It is a phosphoprotein, which is a collection of proteins bound to phosphoric acid. Casein is found in products containing milk, such as cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, ice cream and any other derivative of milk. Many people suffering from celiac disease or gluten/casein intolerance cannot properly digest this protein.

What is Soy?

Soy is derived from the soybean, also called the soya bean. Common forms of soy include soy meal, soy flour, soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, textured vegetable protein, tempeh, soy lecithin and soybean oil. Various studies show that most soy allergic individuals may safely eat products that contain soy lecithin and soybean oil, since they do not contain the soy protein. On the contrary, other studies show that any form of soy should be avoided for those individuals with either a soy intolerance or soy allergy.

How Do I Get Tested?

Here are a few testing options or testing facilities for celiac disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.

Primary Care Physician:
Have your primary care physician order a Celiac Disease bloodwork panel.
If your primary care physician is unfamiliar with celiac disease ask to be referred to a gastroenterologist. There they may recommend an endoscopy procedure which takes a biopsy of your small intestinal lining.

At Home Testing:
EnteroLab is a registered and fully accredited clinical laboratory specializing in the analysis of intestinal specimens for food sensitivities (reactions by the immune system to common proteins in the diet) that cause a variety of symptoms and diseases.

Celiac Disease Research Centers:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Celiac Center
Columbia University – Celiac Disease Center
Jefferson University Hospitals Celiac Center
Univ. of California San Diego, Wm. K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease
University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
University of Maryland – Center for Celiac Research

Nationwide Support Groups

CDF – Celiac Disease Foundation
CSA – Celiac Sprue Association
GIG – Gluten Intolerance Group
NFCA – National Foundation for Celiac Awareness