Welcome to the second of a two part post created to inform you about Celiac disease. In the first post, I talked about celiac disease, the symptoms and how it is associated with other autoimmune diseases. In this post I will talk about the ways it is diagnosed, and successful naturopathic treatments to heal the body and alleviate the symptoms. So let’s get started.
One of the major challenges with celiac disease is getting the correct diagnosis. Since the symptoms can involve so many parts of the body it goes misdiagnosed so often. As a result of the misdiagnosis, many people can live with symptoms for years before it is identified.
A good first step is to have blood test run to check for antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system to protect the body against things that cause damage to the body. I generally start with anti-alpha-gliadin antibodies (AGA). I have a colleague that may run anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA), or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).
These antibodies are higher in patients that have celiac disease and with high levels, it is appropriate to start treatment for celiac. The definitive test, however, is to perform an endoscopic procedure to get intestinal tissue to see if the villi has been damaged by the disease process.
The treatment for celiac disease is very straightforward. All food containing gluten and gliadin must be eliminated from the diet. Once these foods are removed, the intestine walls can begin to heal and as long as these foods are not reintroduced, the body will continue to heal and symptoms will be alleviated.
What are the foods that generally contain gluten and gliadin? All wheat, rye and barley products have gluten and gliadin. Some experts recommend the elimination of oats, as well. For my patients, wheat seems to be one of the most difficult products to eliminate because that means all breads, pasta, pizza, and the like from all mainstream establishments.