Celiac Awareness Month

gluten free stamp

There is so much more talk about Gluten-Free foods than ever before, but at the same time I believe there are still many misconceptions about whether or not people think it is an actual disease, medical condition or just a passing fad. The following article will hopefully bring to light what gluten is, the seriousness of this disease, its symptoms, possible testing options and resources for further information. What is gluten you ask? It is the protein found in grass related grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut. It is from the part of the grain that flour is made from. Gluten is what gives baked goods their elasticity, springiness of texture and the structural stability to hold together. What is Celiac disease? A genetically based auto-immune disorder in which specific proteins from wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut (all of which contain gluten) trigger progressive destruction of the villi in the small intestine. This reaction prevents the body from properly absorbing nutrients from the foods eaten and leads to further nutrient depletion. Continued consumption of these grains if you are celiac can cause extensive bowel damage and in some cases, bowel cancer. What are some symptoms of intolerance? Constipation, diarrhea, extreme weakness or fatigue, weight-loss/weight-gain, migraines, vomiting, neuropathy, dermatitis herpatiformis, anemia, swelling of the hands and feet, bone and joint pain and many more. How do I get diagnosed? There are 2 types of blood tests called Blood serum IgA endomysial (EMA) and Blood serum IgA tissue transglutaminase (TTG). The other option if those come back negative, is an intestinal biopsy (a small piece of the intestine is clipped out for analysis). Resources for support: Canadian Celiac Association Gluten Intolerance Group (US) Websites with great recipes and tips: www.nourishingmeals.com www.livingwithout.com www.LiveTheSmartWay.com You can speak to our Natural Health Advisors and our Pharmacists at any of our locations to find out which natural products can heal the damage in the gut and help you achieve your health goals. For your shopping convenience, most of our locations have a selection of gluten-free snacks, food items and even pre-made flour mixes to choose from. Written By: Fiona Ehrenholz, Natural Health Advisor, Pure at Chilliwack
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