Gluten intolerance and celiac disease cause inflammatory and immunologic reactions that may affect numerous body systems. Any or all of the digestive, musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, nervous, and cardiovascular systems may be involved in these disease processes. Effective celiac disease treatment involves a comprehensive approach.
Step 1: Follow a gluten-free diet for life
Step 2: Restoring metabolic balance
Step 3: Normalizing the immune response
Step 4: Tumor surveillance
Step 1: Follow a gluten-free diet
Gluten is the trigger of every symptom of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. In a genetically susceptible individual, prolonged exposure to dietary gluten provokes an immunologic reaction, which becomes chronic if the gluten exposure continues. Treating symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue doesn’t affect the underlying cause. The only action that will help prevent problems from worsening, provide relief and begin to heal the damage is a gluten-free diet for life.
Step 2: Restoring Metabolic Balance
As a result of malabsorption, people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease may have metabolic disorders. A metabolic disorder occurs when the metabolism process fails and causes the body to have either too much or too little of the essential substances needed to stay healthy. The degree of malabsorption varies depending on the extent of gastrointestinal inflammation, so people are susceptible to different metabolic imbalances. Balance may be restored by vitamin and mineral supplementation. The most common deficiencies are iron, calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, vitamins A, D, E and K.
Step 3: Normalizing the Immune Response
Restoring healthy bacteria helps break the cycle of chronic immune response and inflammatory reaction. Colonies of healthful bacteria are restored by consuming foods and supplements known as probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are safe for human consumption and provide many physiologic benefits. They promote the growth of good intestinal microflora, suppress bad bacteria, regulate immune response and help strengthen the intestinal barrier. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that when fermented in the colon, favors the growth of good bacteria.
Step 4: Tumor Monitoring and Surveillance
Inflammatory diseases and infections may lead to malignant changes in affected tissues. This does not occur frequently, but it is more common in certain disorders including celiac disease. Periodic blood tests are done to measure specific biochemicals that would indicate the presence of a malignant change. Physical surveillance of tumors should be done periodically as well.
These four key action steps are designed to reduce symptoms and achieve optimum health and well being. With continual practice these will become habit and you will be well on your way to feeling better.