Autoimmune Disease

Everything to Know About Celiac Disease

person refusing bread - Celiac disease

Were you ever curious about how the body is capable of breaking down food? The digestive system consists of different organs that work together to orchestrate the full digestion process. This system includes the gastrointestinal tract (made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus) and the digestive tract (made up of the pancreas, gallbladder and liver). However, deep within the digestive system are small, slender, vascular projections called villi (singular villus) that line the small intestine. These are essential membranes that increase the surface area of the intestinal cavity to facilitate food absorption. They cover approximately 10 to 40 square millimeters of tissue and are significant for the secretion of food particles.

Meanwhile, the function of the immune system is to protect the system from foreign antigens and parasites that seep in and wreak havoc. A strong immune system will send T-cells throughout the bloodstream to attack the malevolent bacteria and stop them from spreading inflammation. Though, if the immune system has been weakened by environmental toxins, infection or leaky gut, this could lead to abnormalities, thus causing T-cells to attack its own healthy cells and tissues. This condition is called an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease can affect any part of the body from the joints, thyroid, cardiovascular system, gut, skin, nervous system, neurological system and many more. If a corrupt immune system happens to attack the villi within the small intestine, this results in a condition called Celiac disease.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is considered a serious autoimmune disease that destroys the villi within the small intestine. When destroyed, the body is unable to receive proper nutrients it needs to sustain proper health. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), it is especially most prevalent in “genetically predisposed people” that are sensitive to gluten¹. Gluten is known as a protein ingredient often found in wheat, barley or rye food products. This means that if individuals with this condition were to consume any form of gluten, the immune system will be provoked to attack the villi and cause further damage to the small intestine. It is estimated that about one in every 100 people worldwide suffer from this condition. Furthermore, there are about 2.5 million other undiagnosed cases that have a high risk of developing further health complications such as iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, lactose intolerance, and vitamin deficiencies (which could lead to other forms of autoimmunity). Symptoms vary from patient-to-patient, however the most common types include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, chronic diarrhea, joint pain, anemia, depression, weight loss and irritability.

What Causes Celiac Disease?

Similar to other autoimmune conditions, the exact cause of celiac disease remains a mystery. However, the condition is widely seen to run in families, therefore researchers theorize that genetics play a significant role in its development. The CDF reported that those with a “first-degree relative with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 risk of developing the condition”¹. Additionally, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) explained that researchers noticed that infections in early life and digestive tract infections may increase one’s risks of developing the disease². Changes within the gut microbiome as a result of environmental triggers, heavy metal toxicity, or prolonged use of prescribed medications/antibiotics can also increase one’s risks of developing a gluten intolerance.

Natural Treatments for Celiac Disease

Regardless if they’re conventional or holistic, most medical practices will primarily recommend all celiac patients stick to a gluten-free diet in order to avoid flare-ups. These individuals must be extremely careful with every food item, as many foods sold in grocery stores contain gluten as an ingredient. Even the smallest digestion of this protein will induce lethargy or excessive diarrhea in many patients, therefore it’s critical that one pay close attention to packaging labels and ingredients in the fine print. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we will also recommend a few additional treatments on top of the gluten-free diet plan. These treatments will help stabilize the immune system to keep it from attacking itself, plus supply the body with nutrients and proteins that it may be lacking. This will ensure to treat the digestive system and mend all gut-related issues. Some of our treatments involve intravenous therapies, ozone therapies, autoimmune injections, peptides, supplement regimens and diet changes.

Make an Appointment Today

If you or someone that you know are suffering from Celiac disease or other forms of autoimmunity, LifeWorks Wellness Center is one of Florida’s top autoimmune clinics. To schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners, please call 727-466-6789.

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