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Easy ways to be gluten free - controlling celiac disease

Celiac disease is also known as Gluten Sensitivity Enteropathy (GSE) and is an autoimmune disease. Unfortunately it is not possible to grow out of celiac disease, as it is with allergies such as wheat sensitivity.

The problem that arises with celiac disease is that when a sufferer eats anything that contains gluten, the villi of their small intestine are damaged. Villi are tiny hair like projections of the intestinal wall that absorb nutrients from food in taken. When gluten is present in food, due to an immunological reaction the villi are damaged, rendering them incapable of absorbing nutrients like minerals, vitamins, water, salts, proteins and carbohydrates.

When celiac disease remains untreated, it can result in iron deficiency, risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia, Vitamin K deficiency, peripheral and central nervous systems disorder, pancreatic malfunction, intestinal lymphomas and malignancies, neurological problems and gall bladder malfunction. Other autoimmune disorders can also result, like dermatitis herpetiformis, insulin dependent Type 1 diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosis and liver diseases. 

Celiac disease can occur any time in a person’s life, and triggers include surgery, viral infection, severe emotional stress, pregnancy and childbirth. Celiac disease is a multi symptom and multi function disorder. 

Symptoms include abdominal pain, recurring bloating and gas, chronic diarrhoea and constipation, unexplained weight loss or gain, pale stool, bone or joint pain, unexplained anaemia, behaviour changes, depression and irritability, vitamin K deficiency, fatigue, weakness and lack of energy, delayed growth and onset of puberty, irregularity in menstrual cycles, males and female infertility, canker sores and tooth discoloration or loss of enamel.

Celiac disease is a chronic disorder, and treatment is restricted to adherence to a gluten free diet. One should always consult his or her physician to correct deficiencies and ensure that their diet remains gluten free. Vitamin Warehouse offers a number of gluten free diet replacement products for the purpose.

These include Horleys Carb Less Crunch Bars in different flavours, like Choco Crunchy Nut, Rocky Road, Crispy Caramel Deluxe, Peppermint Rough, Double Dutch Chocolate Fudge, Chewy Banana Caramel and Choco Coconut Brownie. Musashi SLM Lo-Carb Bars are also available in Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Strawberry Cheesecake flavours. A number of herbal teas are also available, along with gluten free nut spreads, such as Melrose Tahini (hulled and unhulled both available), Melrose Almond Spread, Melrose Pistachio Spread, Melrose Cashew Spread, Melrose Brazil Nut and Linseed Spread and Melrose Hazelnut Spread.

When gluten is removed from the diet, the small intestine starts to heal, which results in overall health improving visibly. Once celiac disease has been diagnosed, a medical follow up should follow, to help monitor the clinical response to a gluten free diet. When one complies with the dietary restrictions imposed by celiac disease, the likeliness of associated diseases goes down, which include all the diseases mentioned earlier. A healthy and balanced diet is essential to cope with celiac disease and care should be taken to only take those processed foods which are free of gluten, like those available under the gluten free label on the Vitamin Warehouse website.

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