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What does being "Celiac" mean?
A gluten-free diet is followed by people with celiac disease. Celiac disease occurs when the body begins to destroy the lining of the small intestine after gluten is ingested.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Intestinal damage from celiac disease inhibits the body's ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Getting enough vitamins & minerals may be difficult while on a gluten-free diet. You may need vitamin supplementation so meet with your physician to discuss your supplementation needs.
Gluten-free foods are often over processed and are made with refined gluten-free flours that may lack vitamins and minerals. You may consume less iron, B vitamins and fibre than recommended for a healthy adult diet. A multivitamin that contains these nutrients may be beneficial. If you consume adequate amounts gluten-free whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, supplementation may be unnecessary.
Folate is a type of B vitamin essential for cell growth and development, including red blood cell production, and is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing infant. Folate is often found in enriched grain products that may not be readily available in gluten-free form. Women of childbearing age should take 400 mcg of folate per day. Folate may be consumed as part of a multi-vitamin or a separate folate supplement. Sources of gluten-free folate products include enriched cereals and orange juice. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are folate-rich food choices, as well as citrus fruits, legumes and liver.
Celiac disease increases your risk of osteoporosis, or thinning bones, due to a lack of calcium absorption through damaged intestine tissues. The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your gender, age and whether or not you already have thinning bones from celiac disease, Talk to your doctor about the amount of calcium recommended for you. Besides calcium supplementation, many gluten-free foods are rich in calcium, including milk, yogurt and hard cheese.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. If you're lacking calcium in your diet due to celiac disease, you may also be low in vitamin D. You may need vitamin D supplementation along with calcium to prevent thinning bones. Vitamin D may also be found in gluten-free products such as fish, margarine, dairy products and oysters
It is important to note that anyone with food intolerances may have an adverse reaction to gluten. But if they follow a programme with a qualified practioner and have a healthy diet for a set period, their intolerance may be reverted, and they may be able to eat gluten again. Food intolerances therefore are very different to having a food alergy.