What is Celiac disease and what are the consequences?

The Celiac disease is one of the most common food intolerance and its prevalence is increasing (Gobbetti et al., 2018).

Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, oat and all their species and hybrids. People having an intolerance to gluten suffer from gastrointestinal problems including symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain, flatulence, malabsorption of nutrients, indigestion, constipation, etc. However, this long-term autoimmune disorder can also cause a number of more general symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, dermatitis, nerve damages and many others (NHS, 2019).

The main reason behind this variety of symptoms is the fact, that Celiac disease is characterized by villous atrophy, which is the destruction of the lining of the small intestine. The cause of villous atrophy is triggered by the inflammation of the small intestine. This results in malabsorption of certain nutrients (vitamins, iron, calcium …), and therefore nutritional deficiencies. People attained by this disease must follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. Today, there is no other medical treatment existing. The main sources of gluten are foods made out of flour – especially bread and pastries.