One of multiple malabsorbtion syndromes, Celiac disease (alternate spellings Coeliac disease and Coeliac Sprue) results from an individual’s inability to tolerate gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat and rye plus to lesser degrees in oats and barley.

This is no small disorder. Living the rest of one's life without eating any gluten is quite a complex undertaking but this type of tight diet control is needed for any relief of the symptoms. See Gluten-free Recipes.

Ingestion of gluten by eating any of the grains mentioned above causes the sufferer to have severe abdominal distress. There is also poor absorption of nutrients such as fat, protein, carbohydrate, water and vitamins. Prior to getting a diagnosis many victims of this disease are worn down from years of malnutrition because they can't absorb needed nutrients. They may be weak and lethargic and are often quite ill.

It is way beyond the scope of an E2 w/u to address the detailed treatment of Celiac disease beyond mentioning the lifelong dietary changes that are needed. There is a wonderful support group/web page at www.celiac.com with literally everything from the newest research to recipes for wheat free bread. Plus our own wonderful and extensively linked Gluten-free Recipes.

Characteristic and almost diagnostic of the disease/syndrome is a pale, foul smelling and floating feces (due to its high fat content as fat is not absorbed from the bowel into the body).

Celiac disease may cause a secondary lactose intolerance and the victim may also need to eliminate milk from the diet because of the damage done to the gut where lactase is normally produced. Removal of ALL gluten from the diet normally causes great improvement. The need for this dietary change is permanent. Sufferers will also need high protein, high calorie, but gluten free and perhaps lactose free diets. Rice and corn can still be eaten. They will likely need vitamin and mineral supplements.

“The incidence of celiac disease in the general population can vary from country to country, but could be as high as 1 in 300.” 1

Celiac is one of those problems that can be improved with life style changes but not cured. These dietary changes must last a lifetime. There is evidence that an improper diet as an infant may contribute to the developement of Celiac. I give you this quote: "Recent research also suggests that many health problems of adults can be traced to lack of breastfeeding or short durations of breastfeeding, suggesting that while children raised on formula may survive, they do not necessarily thrive as adults. Premature weaning has been identified as a factor in all of the following diseases or conditions: inflammatory bowel disease (Acheson and Truelove, 1961), Crohn's disease (Koletzko et al., 1989), celiac disease (Greco et al., 1988), Schönlein-Henoch purpura (Pisacane et al., 1992), breast cancer (Freudenheim et al., 1994), multiple sclerosis (Pisacane et al., 1994), allergies (many studies, reviewed in Cunningham, 1995), chronic respiratory diseases (also reviewed in Cunningham, 1995), and coronary artery disease (Fall et al., 1992; Kato et al., 1992; Kawasaki et al., 1974; Marmot et al., 1980; Osborn, 1968).2
1) www.celiac.com
2) http://peach.ease.lsoft.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind9703C&L=lactnet&P=R7058
3) WWW.CELIAC.COM

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