What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an intestinal disorder that is distinguished by an allergic reaction to the ingestion of gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, oats, barley, rye, and any derivative of those grains. Common food products like bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, cakes and cookies, all contain gluten.
Through the process of digestion, our food makes its way to the intestine, where it is further digested and then absorbed into the body. The intestine is lined with tiny, finger-like appendages called villi. The villi are the points where our food is directly absorbed into our body. They remove the valuable parts of our food, like vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and sugar, and pass it into our blood stream.
If a person with Celiac disease eats anything with gluten, it will destroy the villi in the intestine, and the body will not be able to adequately absorb essential nutrients. The intestine will eventually cease to function properly, and undiagnosed Celiac disease could lead to further complications. This disease is also difficult to diagnose, because it mimics symptoms of several other common illnesses.
Canadian Celiac Association
Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)