Celiac Disease

By Rachel Juristy


Celiac is a disorder where when someone takes in gluten and their immune system responds by attacking the small intestine. The small intestine is lined with small, finger like things called villi. When the immune system responds to the gluten, it damages the villi, which promote nutrient absorption. Without properly functioning villi, the body does not get the nutrition it needs for cell functions. Celiac is also hereditary, meaning that it is passed down through the family DNA.


  • Unexplained iron anemiaprevalence1.png
  • fatigue (the feeling of tiredness)
  • joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bone loss
  • numbness in the hands and feet (the "falling asleep" feeling)
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • seizures
  • migraines
  • infertility (the inability of conceiving a child)
  • recurring miscarriages
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • sores inside the mouth
  • itchy skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)

For a checklist of symptoms visit the checklist provided by the celiac foundation.


Celiac is not a disease that you can grow out of or cure with medication. Most patients who have celiac are placed on a gluten free diet. A few foods that doctors suggest you put in your shopping cart when on a gluten free diet are:
  • spinach
  • walnuts
  • free range turkeydamanged-villi.png
  • free range chicken
  • bell peppers
  • garlic
  • broccoli

Molecular Basis

As previously mentioned in the introduction, when glucose is taken in, an immune response is triggered and the villi of the small intestine are attacked. Since the villi are responsible for the absorption of nutrience, when celiac is left untreated it can lead to deficiencies such as iron anemia. The picture on the right shows the difference between healthy villi and villi affected by celiac disease.


More more information, check out this youtube video:

Works cited