Celiac Disease (CD)
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that results from an inflammatory reaction to gluten in the diet (found in wheat, barley and rye) that primarily causes damage to the small intestine but can affect other organs as well.
It can lead to autoimmunity against the small intestine, resulting in chronic intestinal inflammation and distress and destruction of intestinal tissue.
It can also affect other organs such as the brain, bone and skin, thus making it a systemic disease rather than a disease limited to the gastrointestinal tract.
This probably leads to significant underdiagnosis.
Conventional Treatment of CD
The conventional treatment for celiac disease is primarily a gluten-free diet.
Non-responsive celiac disease occurs frequently, particularly in those diagnosed in adulthood.
Functional Medicine Management of CD
In addition to ensuring the patient is on a gluten-free diet, we probe deeper into the GI tract and other organ systems which may have been impacted by this condition.
We extend analysis options to include comprehensive stool analysis and extensive lab testing to rule out other possible coexisting conditions such as
- Malabsorption issues
- Intestinal permeability/leaky gut
- Autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease)
- Pernicious anemia
- Other autoimmune conditions
- Gluten-associated cross-reactivity from other foods
- Nutritional deficiencies
In addition to complete avoidance of gluten, additional possible support options may include
- Use of gluten-digesting enzymes and intestinal enzyme support
- Herbal/botanical support of the epithelial barrier to reduce intestinal permeability
- Use of probiotics/prebiotics to address dysbiosis
- Use of anti-inflammatory compounds to reduce GI inflammation
- Nutrients to address any specific nutritional deficiencies discovered