Coeliac’s Disease also involves the immune system. It is due to a genetic susceptibility. People of Irish descent seem to be more commonly affected. Gliadin, a protein in gluten which is found in certain grains, reacts with the gut lining. This causes the immune system to attack the gut wall. The person’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients suffers greatly and a person becomes malnourished. The damage to the gut wall also predisposes an individual to other problems as the damaged intestine is also less able to keep unwanted material from entering the body. Gliadin/gluten is found in wheat and rye in the highest amounts. Barley & oats also contain some and rice contains very small amounts.
Coeliac Disease should be diagnosed by a doctor. However, because CD can mimic other disease, including schizophrenia, gut infections, anorexia and poor parental care, sometimes people slip through the net of diagnosis. Sometimes people simply do not suspect CD as a reason for their intestinal symptoms and their failure to put on weight. For example, one lady I knew came to University in England from Ireland. She had previously mostly relied on potatoes for her starch food, which do not contain gluten. It was not until she started her studies and began to rely on canteen food that CD related problems began to manifest. After several rough years she was finally diagnosed with CD in her late twenties.
Coeliac's Disease - How can a nutritionist help?
A nutritionist can order tests to explore the possibility of CD. A nutritional consultation may give opportunity for the right kind of questions to be asked that arouse suspicion of possible CD. However, the diagnosis ultimately needs to be done by a medical professional, so you would be re-directed to your GP. If you suspect CD your best first port of call is therefore your GP. A nutritionist can give advice on nutritional plans and helping to optimise gut health and general health after diagnosis.