What happens when people with celiac disease eat gluten?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you have Celiac disease and ingest gluten, your immune system responds by releasing antibodies that damage or destroy your intestinal villi - part of the fine architecture of your small intestine. Normally, your small intestine is like a plush carpet lined with finger-like villi that absorb crucial nutrients from food. When you have Celiac disease, those villi flatten out and the intestinal carpet looks more like a hardwood floor; and you can no longer absorb nutrients properly. This leads to malnutrition, no matter how much you eat. There is a difference between gluten intolerance and Celiac disease; gluten intolerance generally does not cause the same kind of intestinal damage, but does lead to uncomfortable abdominal symptoms with the ingestion of gluten.

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This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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