Having a gluten sensitivity can be life threatening so there are 4 myths of celiac disease to know.
Celiac disease is an often misunderstood autoimmune disease.
May is Celiac Awareness Month to boost public knowledge on the impact Celiac disease has on those struggling and living with it every day.
Dr. Vikki Petersen, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Chiropractor and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, has some great insight into Celiac Disease. She says there are some common misconceptions everyone should be aware of.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the lining of your small intestine. It causes inflammation, digestive distress, a decreased ability to absorb certain nutrients, and a propensity to develop other serious diseases,” says Dr. Petersen.
Here are Dr. Vikki Petersen’s top 4 myths about Celiac Disease that you should be aware of:
#1 Celiac Disease and wheat allergies are the same
False. It is sometimes thought that celiac disease is the same as a wheat allergy. They are very different.
Celiac is an autoimmune disease where one has to avoid gluten (wheat, rye, barley) for life. Celiac is quite common, affecting 1% of the population, making it one of the most common lifelong disorders in the U.S. and Europe. Wheat allergies are actually very rare.
#2 Small amounts of gluten won’t affect those with Celiac
A misconception is that a “bite” or “sip” of something containing gluten couldn’t possibly bother someone suffering from celiac disease.
The need to avoid gluten is not quantitative, but rather qualitative. This means that a “crumb” of a bread crumb on a salad is enough to create very ill effects on someone with the disease.
#3: Gluten-free diet is a “fad”
A misconception is that avoiding gluten is a “fad” and not really necessary. Unfortunately, unhandled Celiac Disease (meaning the individual is not avoiding gluten completely) can lead to cancer (lymphoma), liver disease, thyroid disease, miscarriages, neurological diseases and more.
Symptoms and long-term manifestations go far beyond an “upset stomach”.
#4 Gluten sensitivity is different from celiac disease
Celiac Disease, as we have said, is an autoimmune disease. The misconception that gluten sensitivity is not a “real” condition has been debunked by a number of world-renowned researchers. What both conditions have in common is the need to remove all gluten from one’s diet.
Knowing about these top myths of celiace disease can go a long way towards understanding and helping those suffering with the condition.
Fortunately there are now many alternatives to wheat and gluten available to make it easier.