Individuals with celiac disease suffer from malabsorption which causes many health issues such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The reason for this is that the ingestion of gluten by someone with celiac disease causes damage to the microvilli of the intestine. Microvilli are finger-shaped projections in the intestinal tract which are responsible for the absorption of many nutrients. When these microvilli are damaged, it becomes impossible for the body to absorb all of the nutrients that it needs to be healthy.
Key Is Avoiding Gluten
Since malabsorption problems are caused by consuming foods that contain gluten, the only way that individuals with celiac disease can improve malabsorption issues for good is to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives.
Gluten is a protein found in some grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. Common foods that often contain gluten are bread, pasta, and tortillas. Some foods such as oats do not inherently contain gluten but can become contaminated when grown in close proximity to gluten containing crops. Many companies now sell certified gluten-free oats.
Individuals who must avoid gluten containing foods have many gluten-free food options to choose from. Learning to read labels and prepare new recipes are the keys to living a healthy and happy gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten is an inexpensive filler and is used in many products, so people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance must be diligent about reading labels. Gluten can hide in many commonly used products including chewing gum, ibuprofen, vitamins, and other supplements.
Other Beneficial Changes
The only way to improve malabsorption issues in individuals with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance is to completely remove gluten from the diet. However, some other things may be beneficial for people who are recovering from malabsorption issues caused by these conditions.
Individuals who are recovering from intestinal damage caused by celiac disease or gluten intolerance may benefit from taking a probiotic supplement. This is because consuming gluten over time can destroy the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. A probiotic supplement will help to replenish the body with "good" bacteria, which can help to improve malabsorption problems.
Drink Plenty of Water
Everyone needs to drink plenty of water each day. However, it is especially important for people who are recovering from malabsorption issues related to celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance. Water helps to keep your body hydrated and also is responsible for removing waste from your system. When your body is trying to heal itself, water is one of the best things to aid in the process. It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces each day.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to consume at least 75 ounces of water per day.
Consume a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, and gluten-free whole grains is an important factor in helping your body to recover from malabsorption issues. Giving your body the nutrients it needs is crucial for helping the recovery process.The only way to reverse malabsorption issues in individuals with celiac disease is a dietary and lifestyle change. What helps malabsorption in celiac patients includes avoiding gluten-containing foods, taking a probiotic supplement, drinking ample amounts of water, and consuming a well-rounded gluten-free diet.
If you need individual help transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle, please speak to a Registered Dietitian who specializes in food allergies and sensitivities. You can locate a Registered Dietitian near you by visiting the American Dietetic Association website.