May is Celiac Awareness month! What does this mean? It means that we hope to raise awareness of celiac disease and all the work that organizations do to help support those with the condition and supports all the research that is being done.
What is Celiac disease? Sure, we hear about gluten free foods all the time, but do you know what Celiac disease is? Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease which damages the small intestine. The small intestine is part of the gut which digests & absorbs nutrients from food. When the small intestine is damaged, the rate of nutrient absorption from food is reduced. Celiac disease can affect people in many different ways and symptoms vary in severity.
People with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten which triggers symptoms. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat and rye. Consumption of gluten can affect the whole body, not just the gut. It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have Celiac disease. There currently is no cure, but can be managed by following a gluten free diet.
Here are 7 things you may not have known about celiac disease!
1- First degree relatives have a 5-15% chance of developing it
2 – It is a hereditary autoimmune intestinal disorder – NOT an allergy
3 – There is no magic pill or enzymes that can “cure” Celiac Disease – the only treatment is following a strict gluten free diet for life
4 – Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is in fact a condition and it seems that about 0.5-13% of the general population may have this condition
5 – Alcohol distilled from grains like wheat, barley and rye are gluten free – the gluten proteins don’t evaporate into the liquid. Therefore safe for a person with Celiac Disease.
6 – Gluten Reduced Beers that are being marketed as “Gluten Free” cannot be considered safe for people with Celiac Disease. This is because the enzyme that is being used to “break down” the gluten seems to affect the way we can test for gluten detection.
7 – Not all ciders are gluten free. People with celiac disease need to pay attention as some ciders contain barley malt.
Stay tuned later this month for more information on Celiac Disease!
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.