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Coeliac disease (CD), also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy or non-tropical sprue, is a unique autoimmune disorder which results from the interaction between gluten and immune, genetic and environmental factors. Originally CD was considered as a malabsorption syndrome of childhood, whereas it is now recognised as a disease which may be diagnosed at any age.

Gluten sensitivity is a new concept to define a condition of some morphological, immunological and functional disorders that withdraw with a gluten free diet in patients with or without HLADQ2/ DQ8 positive, with negative gluten-specific autoantibodies and without histological characteristic of coeliac disease (CD).

Until the 1980s, coeliac disease was considered to be a rare disease, but in the 1990s it became clear that it was a frequent condition. Coeliac disease is an inflammatory disorder of the small intestine with an autoimmune component and strong heritability. Dr. Tom O’Bryan is a well-respected speaker and workshop leader specialising in coeliac

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Have you ever suspected that you and bread do not really get on? Do you find the smell, texture and taste delicious but that once eaten you start to feel less well?

You are not alone, literally hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are facing an environmental challenge at almost every meal – WHY – well wheat and other gluten containing grains are ubiquitous in our prepared foods and the numbers of people with an immune reaction to its principle protein –Gluten- are multitudinous.

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Examples of macroscopic features of villous atrophy detected by wireless capsule endoscopy in coeliac disease: A) Normal villi, B) scalloping of the mucosa on circular folds, C) fissuring of the mucosa, D) mosaic pattern. © Mayo Clinic

Researchers from the USA, Europe and other research centres are suggesting that Coeliac Disease has increased up to 4 x in the last 30 years.

They suggest that as much as 1% of the adult and child populations may have CD, and as we know there are many others that have yet to have the disease diagnosed, but experience problems with gluten and are diagnosed as being intolerant or sensitive.

Let’s be clear about what gluten intolerance is. ‘It isn’t a food allergy’. It’s a physical condition in your gut. Basically, undigested gluten proteins (prevalent in wheat and other grains) lurk around your intestines and are regarded by your body as a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the essential microvilli along the small intestine wall. This reduces the surface area available to absorb the nutrients from your food. This can result in symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anaemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more.

Whilst there are better screening techniques today than there were in the 1980’s, we must also recognise that there are many other factors at work here, one of which is the changing levels of gluten in grains from hybridisation techniques.

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Many Nutritional Therapists are becoming aware that the incidence of Coeliac Disease (CD) is increasing in frequency, but by what sort of levels?

To answer this question a comparison was undertaken over a 50 year period. The study group looked at the incidence of undiagnosed CD and its likely hood of future health complications.[1]

A previous study in 2005 had noted that Children identified with CD, but never put on a gluten-free diet, as adults have a significantly higher percentage of auto-immune disorders, higher BMI, osteoporosis, dental enamel defects, alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, sexual habits and lower neo-natal weight in their children with subsequent shorter breast-feeding time.[2]

The finding allows the hypothesis that even a short period of GFD in childhood exerts a sort of protective effect from gluten induced diseases.

The implications are that if the incidence of CD is increasing then the presentation of patients with often complex multifactoral symptoms may in fact be reflecting a growing reactivity to gluten and an increased immune related disease pattern.

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Gluten-Free Diet Bad for Gut Health

Thursday, 21 May 2009 by | Comments: 2
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Comment: Spanish researchers recently found a gluten-free diet (GFD) led to reductions in beneficial gut bacteria populations and the ability of faecal samples to stimulate the host’s immunity (Br J Nutr. 2009). The effects of a GFD on the composition and immune function of the gut microbiota were analysed in 10 healthy subjects (mean age 30.3 years) over a period of one month.