Celiac Disease is an auto-immune condition that is rapidly on the rise.
Celiac's is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it causes symptoms within the body that vary greatly from person to person and that are rarely traced back to the true cause of the disease itself.
Celiac Disease is widely known an inflammatory response to gluten within the small intestine, but in many cases, the sensitivity is not to gluten at all - but more specifically to the chemicals that commercially harvested grains are exposed to in their farming, transportation and storage.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac's is a disease affecting the digestive system, considered an autoimmune disease because the body’s own immune system damages tissue within the small intestine, interfering with its ability to absorb nutrients from food.
What Causes Celiac Disease?
Today, researchers all seem to conclude that the condition known as Celiac Disease is an intolerance triggered by eating gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and especially commercial bread.
The “Celiac Affliction” was first reported by Gee in 1888, however, it was not until 1950 that wheat was proposed to be the cause of Celiac Disease.
During World War II when wheat grains were scarce in Holland, a Dutch physician named Dicke observed that children with Celiac Disease improved on a wheat-poor diet. Since then the offending substance has been named as gluten, the large water-insoluble protein, but there's actually more to the story.
The real problem today is the chemicals used in growing, harvesting and storing grains (chemicals like Aluminium Fluoride are commonly used by big agribusinesses), to protect and treat against pests and weevils.
The residues of these chemicals that end up in grain products, are the biggest causes of sensitivities in the gut.
For individuals who are supposedly 'gluten intolerant', in many cases a colon cleanse will help re-set the gut lining and remove the intolerance. Then, if they are to eat bread prepared from organic, fresh harvested whole grains that have had no exposure to chemicals, there is rarely any sensitivity.
Signs & Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease affects people differently as some people develop symptoms as children, others as adults.
One factor thought to play a role in Celiac's is the extent to which a person was breastfed as a baby; the longer one was breastfed, the less likely that symptoms of Celiac Disease will appear later in life.
Other factors include the amount of processed grain products that have been eaten from an early age, which has impacted the tissue within the small intestine over time.
Symptoms may not always occur in the digestive system.
For example, one person might have diarrhoea and abdominal pain, while another person can have irritability, bad skin or depression.
Irritability is one of the most common signs in young children.
The most common signs of Celiac Disease may include one or more of the following:
- Diarrhoea and Constipation
- Stomach Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Behavioural changes and mood swings
- Mental fatigue or 'fog'
- Excessive changes in weight
- Irregular menstrual periods (often because of excessive weight loss)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Acne and skin irritations
- Ulcers and mouth sores
- Tingling numbness in the legs (from nerve damage)
- Tooth discolouration or loss of enamel
- Unexplained anaemia (low count of red blood cells)
- Irregular sleep patterns
Not everyone with Celiac Disease shows obvious symptoms because the undamaged part of their small intestine is able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent any symptoms.
Effects On The Digestive System
When people with Celiac Disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or losing the villi, tiny finger-like protrusions, on the lining of the small intestine.
Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished regardless of the quantity of food eaten.
Many of the symptoms happen as a result of inflammatory responses in the gut, where much of the immune system is present. When gluten is detected, immunity reactions go into overdrive wrecking havoc not just in the digestive system but throughout the body in the form of inflammation.
Learn more in What Is Inflammation & How To Reduce It In Your Body
What often then happens is small tears appear in the lining of the gut making it ‘permeable’ and more susceptible to substances to pass through it and get into the bloodstream.
This seepage of particles from the digestive system into the blood is commonly known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and can make you more prone to other conditions such as food allergies as a result of this immune response.
Often compounding these effects is the ‘sticky’ nature of gluten which can affect the absorption and proper digestion of vital nutrients further contributing to inflammation and the exacerbation of leaky gut symptoms like:
- Abdominal pain
Effects On The Central Nervous System
As a result of the systemic inflammatory responses brought on by the going on's in the gut, the brain can also be affected due to its sensitivity to inflammation. In addition, the ‘blood-brain barrier’ can be compromised enabling harmful substances to penetrate leading to symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Sleep issues
In extreme cases when immune antibodies destined for gliadins react with proteins in the brain, serious dysfunctions can present in the form of seizures, learning disabilities and other behavioural abnormalities.
What Is The Difference To Gluten Intolerance?
As discussed in the blog, What Really Is Gluten Intolerance & Hidden Sources, most people’s sensitivity to wheat products is actually caused by a reaction to toxic chemicals and heavy metals used in the storage, processing and preserving of wheat and not actually from gluten itself.
These substances also cause an inflammatory response, but despite popular belief, it’s not caused as a result of gluten which is the case with celiac disease.
Complications & Long-Term Effects
A person with celiac disease is at risk for several diseases and health problems because of the damage to the small intestine and resulting problems with nutrient absorption.
These can include:
- Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
- Iron deficiency Anaemia
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Early onset Osteoporosis
- Lactose intolerance
- Central and peripheral nervous system disorders
- Intestinal lymphomas and other Gastro-intestinal Cancers
- Seizures due to the inadequate absorption of folic acid. Lack of folic acid causes calcium deposits, called calcifications, to form in the brain, which in turn cause seizures.
Natural Solutions: What can be done?
The number one solution for celiac disease is to clean up your diet.
As a starting point, it's a good idea to clean any toxic residue that may be stored in your gut by doing either a 7-14 day raw juice fast or a water fast, or a natural clay and seed colon cleanse with our Cleanse Me product.
Second, eliminate ALL processed foods and refined sugar from your diet and avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, rye or oats for a while. Once you no longer have symptoms, you can gradually add back the organic, whole grains that have not been treated into your diet.
If you discover that after resetting the gut, there are still reactions and sensitivities to whole wheat in particular, then there are a number of other 'gluten-free' whole grains that you should concentrate on instead in your diet.
Our top 5 recommended 'gluten-free' grains are:
1. Amaranth - A seed that is often ground into a flour that has a robust, nutty flavour and is rich in amino acids, protein, fibre and minerals. Add to soups, casseroles, risottos, cereals and or use for baking in place of wheat flour
2. Quinoa - A seed that is rich in protein, aminos and minerals, Quinoa comes in many colours, red, white and black and available in several forms e.g. as raw seeds, flakes or flour. Use as a substitute for rice for preparing side-dishes, in place of oats for porridge, for stuffing or making tabbouleh
3. Millet - A seed that grows in colours of yellow, red, white and grey, it has a nutty flavour. Millet is an easily digestible protein that can be crushed for use in home made breads, or boiled as a side dish, hot cereal, or mixed with other gluten-free grains for preparing a pilaf
4. Buckwheat - A triangular fruit with a black shell and a wholesome kernel inside known as a 'groat'. Packed with protein, fibre and minerals, buckwheat is known for its powers in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and can be used in hot cereals, soups, casseroles and breakfast pancakes
5. Sorghum - A cereal grain that is rich in phosphorous and potassium, protein and fibre. Combine with Amaranth flour for baking or use in casseroles, pilafs, stuffings, soups and grain salads. Also makes a great "rice" pudding gluten-free substitute
Gluten-Free Supermarket Products
Don't simply get sucked into products labelled 'gluten-free' in your supermarket, which has become a marketing ploy to sell certain foods that usually contain a host of other ingredients which won't help the healing of your gut.
Instead, prepare as much of your own food as you can by incorporating some of these suggested gluten-free grains together with a diet rich in fresh locally sourced, spray-free fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Other Tips For Celiac's & Gluten Intolerance
You should also include fermented foods regularly into your daily diet such as:
- Raw organic yoghurt
- Aged cheeses (with vegetable enzyme not animal rennet)
- Tempeh and Miso
- Sauerkraut and Kimchi
Eat plenty of good fats such as:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Grass Fed Butter
- Raw Coconut Oil
The Main Takeaway
Celiac Disease is an inflammatory condition of the small intestine that is difficult to detect, but there are common signs of gut sensitivity.
The problem is not always strictly gluten or wheat, more so the chemicals that are used in the harvesting, transportation and storage of the grains.
If you have Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or gut sensitivity, a good place to start is to do a colon cleanse, followed by raw juice or water fast, to allow your gut's mucosal lining to reset.
If you then clean up your diet and return to eating whole grains containing gluten, yet still experience reactions, then it's best to substitute with gluten-free whole grains instead which can be just as delicious.
Add more fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and fermented foods into your diet and avoid processed packaged foods, refined sugars and you'll soon find that Celiac's and gut sensitivities are a thing of the past.
Tolman Self Care.