What is Celiac Disease?

Many of us have already self-diagnosed and self-medicated ourselves. We thought we were intolerant and preemptive action was necessary. It may or may not have been true but too many stories made the press warning of the consequences and so it was just as well, I suppose. Gluten!

Scientifically speaking, ingesting of wheat, barley or rye can trigger inflammation in the small intestine. Only to those who have Celiac’s disease. Celiac’s disease is your body reacting to gluten if you are carrying HLA-DQ2 OR HLA-DQ8 in your genes. Amylase/Trypsin inhibitors, which incidentally exist in wheat to ward off pests, cause the reaction when you ingest wheat. The release of proinflammatory cytokines in cells in your body triggers symptoms of the disease.

Wheat was added in our diet approximately 12,000 years ago. Since then it has gone on to become a staple food in most cuisines world over. As sapiens have adjusted to the new food, some showed symptoms such as vitamin deficiency, acid reflux, bloating, weight loss, constipation or gas. Some have even become depressed. It does not always manifest as severe symptoms. In non-classical celiac disease, the person may show mild gastrointestinal symptoms primarily malabsorption. In silent celiac disease, also known as an asymptomatic celiac disease the person shows no symptoms at all. Despite the lack of symptoms, the small intestines end up damaged.

Not everyone has celiac disease with only 1% of the population of the world apparently suffering from it. Carried through gene expression, it is hereditary. Therefore if anyone in your family has it, you should get yourself screened. So what about all the rest of us who do not have celiac disease but believe we are gluten intolerant. Well, if you believe the author of The Wheat Belly, Dr William Davis, none of us should be eating wheat anyways.