Good morning SOTGC readers. I hope you’re having a wonderful week so far. It seems that every time I do an in-service for one of my accounts, or am going to dinner with a group of friends, somehow the topic of gluten allergies come up. For a time my Mom had been cutting gluten out, until I caught her eating a dumpling at Costco, went racing up to the guy at the cooking stand asking if there was gluten in those because my Mom is VERY allergic and I need to know. This is when I learned she doesn’t have an actual allergy, just that she had been cutting it out of her diet more and more.
About a year and a half ago I started doing a modified version of the Paleo Diet five days a week. Mainly because I had been dealing with extreme and random bouts of fatigue, and since my diet is generally healthy and I work out a lot, this was a baffling issue. A good friend was reading the book “Primal Mind, Primal Body” and had been doing the Paleo Diet. She said her energy level was way up and fatigue was way down, so I decided to give it a whirl. On the weekends when I do incorporate starch into my diet, I try and do gluten free. Not because I think I have full-blown Celiac disease, but simply because ever since I cut a lot of starch out of my diet, I have built a mild intolerance to it.
In no way am I trying to cause a scare so that people who have been feeling tired lately rush to a doctor’s office for testing, or decide without proper testing that they are in fact allergic to gluten, it’s simply been a popular topic going on around me, so I wanted to share some information on it.
I logged onto Celiac.com to get more information about what exactly the disease was, and what symptoms there were, if any.
What is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133 Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.
The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats have traditionally been considered to be toxic to celiacs, but recent scientific studies have shown otherwise. This research is ongoing, however, and it may be too early to draw solid conclusions.
Because of the broad range of symptoms celiac disease presents, it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can range from mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss. If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease. It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible.