Celiac Disease

Celiac Sprue, Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy

Definition, Prevalence, Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

Gluten is one of the most potent FOOD TOXINS.


Celiac Disease is diagnosed when a small intestine biopsy reveals damage to the intestinal villi when viewed under a light microscope.

Celiac Disease - a type of Gluten intolerance - is genetically inherited. Gluten proteins from grains like wheat and barley cannot be digested and release unrecognised peptides into the bloodstream.


It is notoriously difficult to diagnose because it presents as any combination of dozens of symptoms ranging from chronic diarrhea to depression, anaemia, migraine and/or miscarriage.


But gluten is just one thing that could be causing your symptoms. There are more than twenty FOOD TOXINS – and they act in concert to damage cells and provoke the immune system. Therefore we recommend trying a LOW TOXIN DIET (reducing all food toxins) – as this is more likely to address all your ailments. 


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Frequently Asked Questions about Celiac Disease


What is the Definition of Celiac Disease?

Definition of Celiac Disease

The definition of Celiac Disease is a positive biopsy of the small intestine - showing damaged tissue surface structures known as villi. A biopsy is a tiny piece of intestinal tissue viewed under a microscope. The villi are tiny finger-like projections on the inside lining of the gut - and are responsible for absorption of nutrients - and filtration and removal of unwanted waste and toxic materials.

When these structures are damaged consequences for the patient include malabsorption illnesses, serial infections and chronic diarrhea - amongst other illnesses.

All Gluten sensitive people improve dramatically on a Gluten-Free diet. But it's best to determine your food intolerance before changing your diet. 


How common is Celiac Disease?

Prevalence of Celiac Disease - 0.5%

Around 0.5% of the world's population has Celiac Disease. That's only about 1 in 200 people.

Prevalence of Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity - 15%

However studies show Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is around 30 times more prevalent. Up to 15% of people or 1 in 7 are Gluten Sensitive and suffer many of the same symptoms. These are people who test negative or inconclusive for the Celiac Disease biopsy or blood tests.

Doctors use several types of clinical testing to try and identify Celiac Disease. But many tests give inconclusive results - misleading patients and doctors. However - the most accurate way to identify either type of Gluten Intolerance is the Elimination Diet– or Journal Method.

All Gluten sensitive people improve dramatically on a Gluten-Free diet. But be careful of changing your diet without a proper investigation. You may have some other intolerance - and - you may have more than one intolerance. Many people do.

The symptoms of both Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Celiac Disease (CD) become worse with age if left undiagnosed. We know this because diagnosis of Gluten intolerance in elderly patients is disproportionately high. These people have had Gluten intolerance all their lives - but it has never been suspected. Many doctors used to think Gluten sensitivity was rare - so it was not investigated. Now we know better.


What is Gluten and which foods have it?

Which foods contain Gluten?

Gluten is a huge and complex protein molecule that occurs in four main grains: Wheat, rye, barley and oats. It is present in all types of Wheat grain like whole grain wheat, wheat bran, spelt, kamut, triticale and others.

Obviously then - Gluten is also present in all baked foods made from these grains: bread, pies, cake, breakfast cereals, porridge, cookies, pizza and pasta. There are literally thousands of processed foods which contain Gluten.

Luckily there are now thousands of Gluten-free breads, cookies, cakes and other baked foods available in our supermarkets. 

Gluten is one of the largest and most indigestible proteins eaten by humans. Many of us can only complete the first stage of the protein breakdown into Gliadin and Glutenin peptides. However - that is where the trouble begins: these two are basically seen as "foreign" in the human body - and set off a cascade of immune responses in sensitive people.

Gluten damages intestinal tissue

Problems begin when it reaches the small intestine. Partially broken down gluten actually tears holes in the lining of the gut, leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome. This allows foreign particles (and whatever else is in the gut, including bacteria) into the bloodstream. Of course that sets the body's immune system on 'high alert' - resulting in infection, inflammation and your symptoms.


What are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

List of Symptoms of Celiac Disease

The symptoms for all types of Gluten intolerance including Celiac Disease are varied and usually have a delayed onset - up to 2 or 3 days later. They are usually chronic - but not severe - and many of us keep on taking over-the-counter medications and supplements, thinking we are just "off colour". Symptoms include the following in any combination:

Gastro-intestinal: Stomach Bloating & pain, Diarrhea, flatulence, Constipation etc.

Neurological: lack of co-ordination, clumsiness (ataxia)

Psychological: behavioural difficulties, Depression

Metabolism: Gradual Weight gain - or unexplained Weight loss

Compromised immune system: Serial colds and 'flu, infections, mouth ulcers

Inflammatory disease: Arthritis, colitis, thyroiditis etc.

Skin rashes, dermatitis herpetiformis, Eczema, Psoriasis, itching flaky skin

General: food cravings, tiredness, Chronic Fatigue, unwell feeling

Infertility, Miscarriage or difficulty conceiving

Failure to thrive (in children)

"Failure to thrive" in children: This is a  raft of symptoms in sickly children who don't meet normal growth and development milestones. They tend to be quiet and too pale (low iron levels), tired, underweight and not doing well in school or kindergarten.

There can also be behavioural or psychological issues in children or adults. Celiac Disease or other gluten intolerance is frequently the cause - but usually goes undiagnosed. The consequence is that other diseases develop - and those are treated in isolation e.g. anaemia, colitis, diabetes type 1 or other auto-immune diseases.

    • Few people understand that addressing the food intolerances with dietary changes arrests the progress of - and frequently heals these diseases

Celiacs Frequently Have A Second Food intolerance

Because the symptoms overlap with many other ailments, Gluten intolerance can be missed or misdiagnosed. Doctors readily acknowledge that Gluten intolerance is difficult to recognise with clinical methods and therefore poorly diagnosed.

It is also true that people with Gluten Sensitivity frequently have a second food intolerance - say to Dairy, Fructose, Nightshade Vegetables, Corn or something else. That's why it's best to use a method that will pick up all your food sensitivities - like the Journal Method - as used in a purpose-designed Gluten Intolerance Healing Program.

What are all the types of Testing for Celiac Disease?

Clinical Testing for Celiac Disease

Many clinical tests e.g. blood tests for Gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease give inconclusive results - and can mislead both doctors and patients. See video interview on Types of Clinical Testing

Many people turn to blood tests as a first resort, expecting it will be quicker and more accurate. Unfortunately even the so-called 'gold standard' - intestinal biopsy - will only test positive for extensive intestinal damage - as in advanced cases of Celiac Disease. 

The Journal Method

We need a much more accurate method - that picks up all cases of Gluten Intolerance. The Journal Method always works - and it's so easy. No blood tests, appointments or diagnostic procedures are needed.

The prevalence of Celiac Disease is a small fraction of the condition of Gluten intolerance. But Celiac Disease (CD) was the first type of Gluten sensitivity for which a test was devised - way back in the 1950s. Although that same type of Celiac testing is still used in many clinics as a first test for Gluten sensitivity, it only picks up that small percentage of people who are Celiac.

This old-fashioned test misses the Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive people. Therefore this latter group is poorly diagnosed and never gets to take advantage of the brilliant and remedy - the Gluten-Free diet. Once on the right diet these people would begin getting well within days.


What is the difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a broad term which includes all kinds of sensitivity to Gluten. A very small proportion of Gluten intolerant people will test positive for Celiac Disease, and so are called Celiacs (the research says less than 0.5% of the population).

However - most Gluten sensitive people return negative or inconclusive results upon testing for Celiac Disease. The correct term for these people is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS) and may be as many as ~15% of all people or 1 in 7. So if you had some kind of clinical test looking for Celiac (say blood test or biopsy) - but got a negative or inconclusive result - you may very well have this form of "silent" gluten intolerance.

The most accurate and effective way to identify any form of Gluten intolerance is to do an Elimination Diet.

What is the Cause of Celiac Disease?

Cause of Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease - just like all Gluten intolerance is genetic. Blame your parents -  it's in your genes! So you got it from your parents, grandparents and other ancestors. And if you have children - you have already passed on that same genetic material to your children and grandchildren.

So if you turn out to be gluten intolerant - share your findings with your kids, your brothers, sisters, parents and others. Research shows that up to 10% of the immediate family will also be affected, even if they don't yet have any symptoms.

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Comments: Some Gluten intolerance is identified in children. But for others, it is not until much later in life that Gluten intolerance is even suspected. Frequently the appearance - or sudden worsening of symptoms is triggered by some 'life event' - like divorce, a death in the family, job loss or serious illness. One indicator can be persistently low iron levels or anaemia.

How is Celiac Disease treated?

Treatment for Celiac Disease

No drugs, procedures or therapies are needed to treat Celiac Disease - or any other type of Gluten sensitivity. All you need is a Gluten-free diet. It's much easier than you think. Simply substitute Gluten for other great foods. These days there are dozens of great options - with new ones appearing on supermarket shelves every month.

When will I be cured from Celiac Disease?

What is the Cure for Celiac Disease?

Here at foodintol® we don’t view Celiacs as ‘diseased’ people. In fact you don't need a cure, just a different diet. Celiacs are people who have been eating inappropriate foods - those they cannot fully digest.

If it turns out you are gluten intolerant - you will be permanently "cured" when you switch to a Gluten-free Diet. Your energy levels will go up, the headaches will stop and your gut will be happy!

Gluten sensitivity is genetic – it’s just the way you were born. Like having blue eyes or freckles. You cannot change your genes! For your freckles you stay out of the sun. For Celiac Disease - or Gluten intolerance, you eat a Gluten-free diet.

Symptoms overlap with other Food Intolerances

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance are just the same as symptoms for other intolerance - e.g. Fructose Malabsorption or Dairy Sensitivity or Yeast Sensitivity. 


Dermatitis Herpetiformis and other Associated Diseases

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is another form of Gluten intolerance and affects the skin by forming lesions that are watery and itchy blisters. DH only presents when the patient has inherited the gene. In this case they may or may not have the intestinal symptoms as described above.

Other diseases associated with Gluten intolerance are auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid disease, and cancers of the intestine. It is also a cause of infertility, miscarriage and other serious conditions.


I think I might have Food Intolerance: What should I do?

Beginning with our free e-book, we can help you establish If you are suffering from gluten intolerance or if your symptoms indicate an intolerance to dairy, fructose or yeast. You may even be suffering from more than one food intolerance.

Doing nothing can be a risk. Undiagnosed food intolerance can cause serious long-term health problems like osteoporosis, anaemia and many others.

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Recent History of Celiac Disease

World War 2 food rationing in Europe meant that wheat and barley were diverted to feed troops. Those left behind were switched to other grains like corn and rice. One Netherlands doctor noticed that a group of sickly children he had been treating suddenly became well on the substitute foods. He postulated that the grain proteins were the culprits - glutens.

He presented his findings to the Royal Society but was ridiculed. After the war when rationing ended and wheat was reintroduced he observed that the children all fell ill again. The Gluten-free diet was born. His name was Dr Willem Karel Dicke.



All foodintol® information is based on research from peer-reviewed medical journals