Balance – Celiac disease

Definition

In the case of people who suffer from celiac disease (also: gluten-sensitive enteropathy, non-tropical sprue), their immune system produces antibodies in reaction to dietary gluten.  These antibodies then unfortunately target the body’s own tissue.  Thereby, the villi of the small intestine are damaged which, thus, greatly affects the functions of the intestine. The only way to treat celiac disease effectively is through a strict, lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.

Gluten intolerance is distinct from celiac disease. Only celiac disease leads to actual damage of the small intestine tissue, which means that only people with a confirmed case of celiac disease must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. All others may benefit from a gluten-poor or gluten reduced diet.

Gluten

Gluten (Latin: glue) is a protein mixture which is found in the grains of wheat, spelt, unripe spelt, barley, rye, oats, etc. Because gluten is responsible for the baking properties of flour and the tackiness of dough, it is often referred to as "gluten." Gluten helps to bind fat with water and helps dough to thicken, emulsify, and stabilize in the production of food. Moreover, it is used as a carrier for flavors in, for example, ready-to-eat products.

Because of its many useful properties, modern grain crops specially cultivated today contain significantly more gluten than previous times. This is being discussed as a possible reason for the increasingly frequent sensitivity of some people to grain-products or to the gluten contained in them.

 

Gluten is found in many foods, for example, in flour and grain products, such as bread, pasta, semolina, etc. Even spice blends, beer, and ready-to-eat meals contain gluten. Celiac sufferers should avoid gluten-containing products and any foods that contain traces of gluten, because even the tiniest amounts of gluten can trigger the disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. 

Among the classic cardinal symptoms are:

  • Loss of appetite,

  • Severe weight loss,

  • Stomach pain,

  • Chronic diarrhea,

  • Nutrient and vitamin deficiency,

  • Impaired growth

  • bloated stomach.

If celiac disease is not recognized in time, malnutrition and/or weight loss can have life-threatening consequences. However, in the absence of gluten-containing foods, the body generally recovers very quickly by itself.

Identifying gluten-free foods

Since the end of 2005, containing gluten ingredients found on the ingredient list of packaged products must be cleared labeled. While this is somewhat helpful to celiac sufferers, it still does not offer them a complete guarantee, as some ingredients which have already been processed may contain gluten. In addition, products are not always labeled with "contains gluten" or "gluten free."

Meanwhile, more and more food is available which expressly boasts an absence of gluten.

 

This logo ensures compliance with the statutory requirements and regular quality analysis.

Causes

The cause of celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder which is often first detected in adulthood. The consumption of gluten leads to an inflammatory response in the intestine. As a result, the villi of the small intestinal are damaged. The villi of the small intestine increase the absorptive surface of the intestine, making it possible for nutrients to be absorbed from food. When the villi become damaged, less or – in severe cases - no nutrients can be absorbed. For celiac sufferers, it is therefore particularly important to analyze their eating habits and switch their diet accordingly.

Natural remedies and their effects

The daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to the healthy function of the intestinal mucosa. In addition, they are required by the body for the synthesis of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. These hormone-like substances are responsible for controlling various functions in the body. They have, among others, the ability to regulate the immune system and to mitigate inflammation. Especially high-quality, natural, gently-pressed oils are recommended as sources of healthy fatty acids.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a vegetable omega-3 fatty acid which is needed by our organism to metabolically generate energy. The body cannot produce it by itself but. Therefore, ALA must be supplied through daily diet. ALA supports the functions of cell membranes and, therefore, plays a central role in the body. Flax seed oil, for example, is particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid, containing almost 60%.

 

This fact did not remain hidden to Dr. Johanna Budwig. She always emphasized that there was no other oil known which exhibited intense effects on the human organism comparable to flax seed oil. For this reason, she placed great demands on the quality extraction of flax seed oil.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid, which is found in nature in significant amounts in the borage seed oil. GLA has anti-inflammatory properties and can therefore relieve inflammatory processes, for example, in the intestinal mucosa.

 

 

Nutrition & Co.

Many disorders of the intestines can be regulated with the proper diet and exercise.  Consuming an adequate amount of dietary fiber is important, since fiber from vegetable sources increase bulking capacity and, thereby, stool volume.  Thus, the amount of time food is transported through the intestine is decreased, preventing constipation and limiting the amount of contact harmful substances have with the intestinal wall. Fiber is an important food source for the microorganisms which aid in maintaining a favorable balance of bacteria in the gut. Flax seed has a high level of dietary fiber and, thus, the ability to bind water and thereby increase the volume of the intestinal contents and loosen the stool.

Fresh fruits and vegetables provide many valuable nutrients and minerals. In addition, they contain a high level of phytochemicals. These substances play a central role around protecting our bodies, since there they act as scavengers, inhibiting inflammatory processes and strengthening the body’s defense against infection.

A healthy, nutrient-rich diet helps to regulate irregular bowel function. The decisive factor is the intestine’s ability to absorb the consumed nutrients. A balanced diet which is rich in healthy fatty acids, such as ALA from flax seed oil and GLA from borage oil, a relaxed lifestyle, and adequate exercise promote health in general and intestinal health in particular.

 

Dr. Johanna Budwig recommended the daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to care for the intestine and the intestinal flora. In addition, the regular consumption of dietary fiber is crucial to maintaining healthy bowel function. An integral part of the daily diet should, therefore, also be the consumption of 1-2 tbsp of shredded and fortified flax seed, stirred into a Budwig cream, made with quark (cottage cheese may serve as a substitute) and flax seed oil, or in freshly pressed juice.

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