Millions of people are affected by celiac disease, a condition that causes an autoimmune reaction to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. This reaction results in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and destruction of villi (small fingerlike projections responsible for nutrient absorption) in the small intestine. As a result, malabsorption and malnutrition often occur resulting in varied symptoms that often make diagnosis of celiac disease difficult. The symptoms of celiac are a result of this malabsorption and malnutrition and can be helped through dietary changes, natural supplements, and alternative healthcare.
As many as 1 in 133 people in the U.S. have celiac disease but many of these cases are mostly likely undiagnosed because of the vagueness of symptoms. Testing for celiac disease includes a blood test for antigens and a small intestine biopsy.
Most people with celiac disease suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties including bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and gas. Some do not have any gastrointestinal symptoms at all, however, and instead have vague symptoms including weight loss, fatigue, anemia, infertility, and nerve damage. Celiac disease in children may manifest as short stature and delayed development.
There is no cure for celiac but symptoms can be controlled through following a gluten free diet. In addition, there are supplements that can be taken to help the body recover from the damaging effects of the autoimmune reactions.
*Echinacea and Goldenseal taken for a short time period can help recovery by boosting immune function with their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
*Digestive enzymes can help with digestion as the gastrointestinal tract is recovering, allowing for better absorption and nutrition.
*Replace lost vitamins and minerals with a daily multi-vitamin. Again, check to be sure that the supplement is gluten free.
*Medicinal clay helps promote healing and protects from irritation.
*Silica decreases inflammation and protects from abrasions and toxins.
Acupuncture can also be used to help relieve the abdominal pain, bloating, and other symptoms of celiac disease. It has been shown that regular acupuncture treatments can help to relieve the acute and chronic pain that many people with celiac experience. Even in cases when gluten free diets do not result in immediate improvement, acupuncture has been shown to be effective.
When a gluten free diet is not followed there is a greater risk for gastric cancer and lymphoma. Proper diagnosis and management is important to address these risks as well as treat the issues that result from malabsorption and malnutrition.
Acupuncture Management of Celiac Disease, John L. Stump, D.C. (http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/a…)