Home Remedies for Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)
The home remedies for Celiac Disease include a number of dietary, lifestyle, and behavioral treatments that can help reduce the severe symptoms of this condition. These remedies include fish oil, dietary restrictions, nutritional supplements, yogurt, goldenseal, chamomile, horsetail tea, a gluten-free diet, and papain supplements.
Celiac Disease is a relatively new disease that is sweeping across the world in ever-growing numbers. This disease isn’t new in the sense that it simply appeared, but proper diagnosis and treatment for Celiac disease is finally being recognized. It was first given a name in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the past decade or so that people became keenly aware of this disease, which affects approximately 1 in 1,500 people in America, and studies are being done in other parts of the world as well. What was once considered a food allergy or a “sensitive stomach” is often some variation of Celiac disease, whether extremely mild or terribly severe.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by an inability of the small intestine to properly recognize and metabolize gluten, which is a prolamin, and is commonly found in wheat-based substances. The small intestine’s enzymes transform gluten and the immune system reacts and responds accordingly, trying to eliminate the gluten. This results in an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine, which leads to severe pain, digestive discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, and a number of other symptoms.
Furthermore, the consumption of gluten harms the intestinal villi, which are responsible for nutrient absorption. Therefore, when the inflammation damages the villi, people suffering from Celiac disease are able to absorb less nutrients, often causing them to feel weak, and eat more food (some of which contains gluten) making the problem begin all over again. This is why proper diagnosis is so essential, so dietary and behavioral remedies can be put in place before more serious damage is done. Celiac disease is often associated with other diseases like enteritis and colitis, as well as various other autoimmune diseases that often result from non-treatment or lack of awareness of a Celiac condition.
As with many autoimmune diseases, this is your own body attacking itself, and as such, it is very difficult to cure. Celiac disease does not have a known cure, and the only way to alleviate the painful condition is to restrict your diet to a gluten-free variety for the rest of your life. Fortunately, the amount of restaurants and stores that now have gluten-free items available is dramatically increasing as the scale of this disease is increasingly understood. The disease is genetic/inherited, but about 5% of Celiac patients have also seemed to spontaneously develop the gene mutation, just like those who inherited it from their genes.
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
With the number of Celiac patients rising every year, it is increasingly important to recognize when you might be developing the disease. The most common symptoms of Celiac disease are pale or loose stool, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, anemia, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, oral ulcers, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and nausea. Furthermore, due to the inability to absorb nutrients properly, many different vitamin and mineral deficiencies can arise without the more obvious gastrointestinal symptoms. Celiac strikes people in varying degrees of severity, so many people continue to eat gluten and have no dramatic symptoms that might make them suspicious. However, fatigue, weakness, appetite loss, weight loss, and the complications of nutrient deficiency can often point to a mild form of Celiac disease. Be diligent and pay attention to your body!
Fortunately, there are a number of home remedies or lifestyle modifications that you can take to prevent Celiac disease from ruling your life! Some of the most common and popular home remedies are explained below.
Home Remedies for Celiac Disease
Gluten-Free Diet: Perhaps the most obvious home remedy for Celiac disease is a complete overhaul of your diet to eliminate anything that contains gluten. It is important to know that gluten is not only found in direct wheat products. Gluten is added to thousands of different food items as additional bulk, or space-filling material. It is found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. This means that is in almost all bread and grain products, as well as imitation meats, ice cream, ketchup, desserts, baked goods, soy sauce, and hundreds of others. It is also used as a stabilizing agent for foods like mashed potatoes. By checking the labels on all of your food items, exploring gluten-free brands, and always asking at restaurants for a gluten-free menu (more of these exist every day), you can safely eliminate gluten from your diet. This is the most obvious and popular way to reduce the effects of Celiac disease – simply be mindful of everything you eat and pay attention to labels! Eating foods like vegetables, fruits, meat, and poultry are usually safe; the more processed or unnatural a food is, the more likely it will be to have gluten as an ingredient!
Papain Supplements: There are certain supplements that people eat that can stimulate the enzymes in the small intestine to properly identify gluten, thereby reducing the immune system response. These papain supplements are available at most health food stores and are gaining in popularity from those who don’t want to drastically check their gluten intake with a completely renovated diet. However, there is not a guarantee on these supplements, and some people still suffer from mild effects of Celiac disease when taking them.
Fish Oil: Fish oil is widely used for a number of health conditions, but one of the most effective uses of fish oil is as a coating for your intestinal lining. By consuming fish oil, it can keep your small intestines from becoming inflamed, therefore preventing a painful flare-up of Celiac symptoms if you accidentally consume some gluten.
Yogurt: Many people that have Celiac disease didn’t know for many years, which means that their intestinal villi are badly damaged, and the efficiency of nutrient absorption in their body is poor. Yogurt is known to stimulate beneficial bacteria and promote the healing of the digestive tract, so Celiac patients are often encouraged to increase their intake of yogurt.
Herbal Treatments: Goldenseal and olive leaf extracts are commonly used in the treatment of Celiac disease because they help to regulate and protect the immune system, thereby reducing the auto-immune effects on the small intestine, lessening the severity of Celiac disease. Furthermore, chamomile is another good herb to reduce the digestive inflammation and upset stomachs that are associated with Celiac disease.
Horsetail Tea: This tea is associated with reducing the inflammation of the digestive tract and the intestines, while also boosting the strength and durability of the digestive system, so your system is less sensitive to gluten.
Nutritional Supplements: After being diagnosed with Celiac disease, there is a good chance that your body is slightly deficient in various essential nutrients since your intestines haven’t been properly absorbing them. For this reason, it is a good idea to regularly take dietary and nutrient supplements to ensure that your body gets back on track. Some Celiac patients continue taking nutrient supplements for years as a way to make up for some of the nutrients they will lose due to their selective diet. Luckily, it is becoming much easier in recent years to maintain a well-balanced diet without consuming any gluten, and without spending an exorbitant amount of money!
Having Celiac disease isn’t the end of the world, you just need to be a bit more careful with what you eat and you should be able to live a normal and happy life!