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What is Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance?

gluten.jpg"Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, the protein portion of wheat, rye and barley. Celiac disease is the most common and the most under diagnosed autoimmune disease of our time. In susceptible people, when gluten is ingested it will cause damage to the intestinal villi causing them to flatten which leads to malabsorption and malnutrition. In celiac disease the small intestinal villi are damaged leading to a variety of nutritional deficiencies.

Why is this very common condition so misdiagnosed by most doctors? One reason is that medical schools teach that celiac disease affects 1 in 2,500 when current research shows that it affects 1 in 100. Also, there are millions more that suffer from sub-clinical gluten intolerance - some estimate as many as 30 million Americans. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 exhibit antibodies against gluten demonstrating an immunological reaction to it, so it is very possible that you or someone you know is affected by this.

Another reason that gluten sensitivities are misdiagnosed is because symptoms can vary widely- constipation, diarrhea, bloating, joint pains and neuritis, headaches, itchy skin rashes, allergies, depression and even infertility can be part of the picture. Symptoms are easily confused with those of other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes and even mental illness.

We now know that autoimmune reactions to gluten can damage any organ in the body and are not limited to just the small intestine. Fortunately, your Brimhall practitioner has techniques like muscle testing to help identify food sensitivities and labs such as blood and stool tests can be done to support the diagnosis. Once identified, a strict gluten free elimination diet along with specific Nutri-West nutritional products will help the patient on the path to wellness.

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