More and more people are finding that their health problems are related to a gluten intolerance. In response to this growing issue, supplement companies like New Chapter and Garden of Life, as well as skin care companies like Aubrey Organics and Miessence, are changing their product lines to meet FDA gluten free standards.
What is celiac disease (Gluten Intolerance), anyway? People with celiac disease have a two-fold problem: (1) their small intestine has trouble absorbing nutrients, and (2) their immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and any products with wheat. To understand celiac disease, you need to first understand the basic setup in the small intestine. In a healthy person, the walls of the small intestine are lined with miniscule finger-like protrusions called villi. These villi act as tiny gateways between the intestine and the bloodstream; they are responsible for allowing nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestines into the bloodstream. A healthy person has millions of villi, which allow for maximum absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.
Persons with celiac disease, however, have immune systems that cannot tolerate gluten. This means that when these people eat foods with gluten, their immune systems go berserk and attack the villi in the small intestines instead. With damaged villi, fewer and fewer nutrients can be absorbed, which leads to malnourishment and host of other problems. No matter how much they eat, people with celiac disease can never absorb enough nutrients due to the damage in their small intestine. This causes a variety of uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects including abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, iron-deficiency anemia, bone loss, weight loss, growth impairment, infertility, fatigue, canker sores in the mouth and depression.
My own daughter, Shauna, was rushed to the emergency room because she collapsed at the gym. The nurse insisted she was anorexic and collapsed because of some related problem (she is a small person). Her skin turned red (all of it), her intestines cramped, her blood pressure dropped and we were losing her! The doctor tested her for everything: anorexia, preganacy, drug use: everything. Luckily he started her on bendryl IV as soon as she got into the hospital! It turned out to be a Gluten allergy that is only stimulated when she exercises. You had better believe that she is very Gluten conscious now!
If you are looking for more information on gluten intolerance and Celiacs Disease here is a good link: Whole Food Vitamins Celiacs page.