Celiac’s disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder where the body is intolerant of the protein “gluten”, found in many common grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. A diet containing gluten can trigger an immune reaction, resulting in intestinal inflammation, leading to malabsorption, plus a string of gastrointestinal discomforts/ pain associated with celiac’s disease. Left untreated, celiac’s disease can become life-threatening and can lead to colon cancer. However, there are alternative therapies to bring back colon health and general well-being of an individual with celiac’s disease.
The conventional method of treating celiac’s disease is a gluten-free diet, for life. This means not eating regular pizza, sourdough bread, or any other food containing wheat/rye/barley/and sometimes oats. Oats have a gluten similar to wheat; however, some can tolerate oats while others can not. It is important to read nutrition labels on packaged foods, as there are a plethora of products on the market containing some form of wheat or gluten as a hidden ingredient.
Watch out for words like starch, modified vegetable protein, malt, natural flavorings, binders and fillers. Also check for gluten used for stickiness in stamps and envelops, adhesives, medicines and vitamins that contain binders, fillers, coatings and sugary flavorings. Avoid alcohol and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen. For tips on maintaining a gluten-free diet, check with Celiac Disease Foundation or Celiac Sprue Association.
Alternatively, an anti-gluten diet also includes eating plenty of fiber and taking a probiotic like Lactobacillus found in milk, or acidophilus bacillus, found in unsweetened yogurt. Additionally, adding foods for an anti-inflammatory diet include consuming essential fatty acids from fish, or taking a supplement called “glutamine”, an amino acid that helps maintain intestinal metabolism and function.
People with celiac’s disease should take a comprehensive multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Because absorption of fats is particularly low in people with this condition, they tend to be low in major vitamins and antioxidants like A,C,D, and E. These vitamins can help speed up the healing process in the intestines.
It is recommended to take at least 1000-2000 I.U. of Vitamin A in the form of fish oil capsules, along with Vitamin D (100-200 I.U.). 1000 mg of Vitamin C should be taken daily, along with 100-400 I.U. of Vitamin E, and chelated zinc (15-30 mg). Calcium (1000 mg) and magnesium (400 mg) also help soothe the colon, as well as taking Vitamin B6.
Vitamin K is usually deficient in celiacs; this can be remedied by taking a green food such as alfalfa. Evening Primrose oil is a good source of Omega 6 essential fatty acids that most celiac patients tend to lack. Taking digestive enzymes can help metabolize gluten, thereby improving absorption and assimilation of nutrients.
Silica has the ability to soothe inflammation in the digestive tract, as well as strengthening and rebuilding connective tissue. Horsetail tea which is silica-rich can be taken three times a day; or 15 drops of silica tincture in liquid, three times daily to help with symptoms of celiac’s disease.
Other teas, such as burdock, slippery elm, sheep sorrel, or Turkish rhubarb can help with inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Dandelion/saffron/yellow dock herbal teas can purify and nourish the blood. Medicinal clay can also help heal the colon wall, by protecting it from irritation caused by toxins and dry abrasive matter.
Echinacea and goldenseal are wonderful immune system boosters; combined with other herbs like slippery elm, marshmallow, and geranium, they are potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial alternative remedies. However, these herbs should not be taken continuously: 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, for no more than 2 months.
Celiac’s disease is a bothersome condition with a limited list of foods a person can consume, but if a person practices some of the alternative therapies suggested above, life can be a lot easier when dealing with gluten intolerance.