Coeliacs are intolerant to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat and rye and so is commonly found in bread, cereals, pasta and flour. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease so when a coeliac consumes gluten, the immune system will attack itself and can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. This can prevent the body from effectively absorbing the necessary nutrients and thus can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, malnutrition, diarrhoea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and even anaemia. People who show symptoms which may have been attributed to IBS, thyroid issues and other digestive issues are also encouraged to be tested to see if they are intolerant to gluten.
Coeliac disease is relatively common, it is thought to affect 1 in 100 people in the UK. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. Experts speculate that it could be caused by a combination of various environmental and genetic factors.
There is no known cure for coeliac disease, therefore treatment is a case of excluding foods which contain gluten from your diet. A nutritional therapist can help design an eating plan which successfully eliminates gluten produce, taking into account the client’s specific needs and lifestyle. It can be difficult to go gluten-free without guidance, as it is prevalent in many of the convenient, daily foods which many take for granted. A nutritional therapist can make the transition as simple, effective and well informed as possible, offering advice on eating out, gluten-free cooking and where to buy the best produce. A qualified professional can also monitor your progress on the gluten-free diet, keeping an eye on your vitamin, mineral and nutrient intake.