General: Although there is currently no cure for celiac disease, the condition can be managed with diet. Symptoms will subside within several weeks and patients will be able to absorb food normally once they avoid eating gluten. However, it may take several months in children and two to three years in elderly patients for the intestine to fully recover.
Support: Healthcare providers may recommend a dietitian or nutritionist who can help a patient plan an appropriate gluten-free diet. These professionals can also help patients determine whether or not supplementation with vitamins and minerals is necessary.
Gluten-free diet: Patients should avoid all foods that contain gluten. This includes any type of wheat (including farina, graham flour, semolina, and durum), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, kasha, matzo meal, spelt, and triticale. Therefore, foods such as bread, cereal, crackers, pasta, cookies, cake, pie, gravy, and sauce should be avoided unless they are labeled as gluten-free.
Many less obvious foods contain gluten. For instance, grains that contain gluten are often used in food additives, such as modified food starch and malt flavoring. Also, some medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins may contain gluten as a binding agent. Lipstick and postage stamps may contain gluten.
Hidden gluten can be found in some unlikely foods, such as cold cuts, soups, hard candies, soy sauce, and many low or non-fat products (such as licorice and jelly beans). Gluten may also come in forms such as vegetable proteins and starch, modified food starch (when derived from wheat instead of corn), maltodextrin, malt flavoring, and glucose syrup. Many common ingredients contain wheat or barley derivatives. Patients with celiac disease should always ask about the ingredients in food when dining at a restaurant or someone else's home.
Patients should consult their healthcare providers and pharmacists before taking any drugs, herbs, or supplements because they may contain gluten.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
More Answers from Natural Standard, The Authority on Integrative Medicine