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Natural Awakenings

Natural Solutions to Living with Celiac Disease: Anti-Gluten Alternatives

A July 2009 Mayo Clinic study reports that celiac disease, an immune system reaction to gluten in the diet, is four times more common today than it was 50 years ago. Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye and causes an inflammation of the intestinal lining. Getting enough recommended grains in the diet can be challenging for those with the illness, but awareness is growing of food alternatives that don’t trigger the problem.

Reading food labels is essential; sources note that many products are made from gluten-free grains such as rice, beans, tapioca, soy, corn, buckwheat, millet and quinoa. Oats, too, can sometimes be well tolerated. Herbs like slippery elm and marshmallow may soothe irritation, while echinacea and goldenseal may help heal the intestinal lining.

Because people with celiac disease often have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, they usually benefit from a daily multivitamin, with the addition of extra B-vitamin complex, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins A and E. When taking supplements, it is important to keep one’s doctor informed.

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