Those with celiac disease know what’s going on. We know about the damage that gluten can cause in our bodies. From flattened intestinal villi and nutrient deficiencies to a weakened immune system, low energy, and depleted serotonin levels, the havoc that gluten wreaks on our bodies is frightening and, in many cases, painful. If left untreated, it can lead to malnutrition, neurological and psychiatric conditions, and on the incredibly dark end, cancer.
So, how exactly is celiac disease treated?
For years, the mainstream medical cure-all for celiac disease was typically the recommendation of, and strict adherence to, a gluten-free diet. For those of who have stuck to that diet, the risk of gluten poisoning has likely dropped immensely. As long as you’re not putting gluten into your body, you’re in the clear, right?
The damage from celiac disease and the years of gluten intake before being diagnosed still hurts your body, even after you’ve adopted a gluten-free lifestyle. Unless, of course, you were diagnosed at a young age and have stuck to a gluten-free diet religiously. The lifestyle changes are just the first step. You need to take the proper actions to stop and reverse the damaging effects of gluten intake, too.
Healing Your Intestines
Yes. It is possible to heal the damage to your intestines that gluten intake caused. Full healing of your gut can take years, however. According to a 2010 study:
66% of the patients studied had a normal intestinal biopsy after 5 years on a gluten-free diet.
However, a 2009 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics claimed this:
Complete normalization of duodenal lesions is exceptionally rare in adult coeliac patients, despite adherence to a gluten-free diet.
The degree of intestinal damage varies widely among celiac patients, so some may find their intestines heal completely in 2 years; some may learn that theirs haven’t after more than 5 years. A gluten-free diet just doesn’t heal everyone, but the good news is that other options exist.
How Do I Heal My Gut?
Perhaps the biggest and most widely chosen option is to begin a digestive program that can facilitate damage reversal in the intestines. A program like this usually involves taking further steps to tweak your diet, as well as steps that remove gluten and other harmful things such as bacteria and yeast from your body. Then, a plan for replacement of good bacterial flora, essential digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and vitamins and minerals is put into place.
There are quite a few supplements that may help heal your gut, including digestive enzymes, betaine HCl, probiotics, L-glutamine, and even special herbal preparations that may help heal your intestinal lining. All of these supplements are natural and healthy.
The Most Common Supplements for Healing Your Gut
1.)Â B-Complex Vitamins:
The absorption of essential B vitamins is always dependent on healthy villi and other friendly gut bacteria, but because celiac disease damages and flattens the villi, a B vitamin deficiency can occur pretty easily. As a result, B vitamin supplements are always necessary. A 2009 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics stated:
Supplementation with B vitamins improved the health of celiac patients already living on a gluten-free diet … adults living with longstanding celiac disease taking extra B vitamins for 6 months showed normalized tHcy (plasma total homocysteine) and significant improvement in well-being.
Because celiac disease and gluten poisoning usually causes marked fatigue, L-carnitine supplements are suggested. A 2007 study in Digestive and Liver Disease stated:
L-carnitine treatment was safe and effective in ameliorating fatigue in celiac patients using 2 grams daily for 180 days.
3.)Â Pancreatic Enzymes:
Over time, celiac disease causes damage to internal organs, including the pancreas. Pancreatic enzymes help keep the organ functioning properly. Many pancreatic enzymes contain dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV), which specifically helps the pancreas break gluten down. A 2007 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics claimed:
Pancreatic insufficiency causing persistent symptoms in adults with celiac disease is reduced following pancreatic enzyme supplementation.
Does everyone with celiac disease use probiotics? No, but maybe they should. According to a 2009 study that appeared in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, research has shown that using a probiotic might help heal intestinal barrier function. Because celiac disease causes inflammation, probiotics may even help with intestinal inflammation (to a certain degree).
This amino acid is normally absorbed by our gut lining, but because celiac disease severely damages the gut lining, glutamine deficiencies are fairly common. L-Glutamine supplements help repair the damage done to the gut lining, and they also help the lining regrow.
Decreasing Inflammation is an Important Step, Too!
Because it’s no secret that celiac disease causes all kinds of inflammation, it should also be no secret that when you decrease the inflammation, you better your chances of healing your gut. This might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Why? Because there are three healthy and all-natural ways to move the process along.
- Make sure you’re getting your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. When we ingest omega-3s, our body converts them into compounds that include resolvins, which are known to reduce inflammation. By reducing the inflammation of your gut, you’re helping it heal.
- Add ginger to your daily diet. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties. It’s been used for thousands of years as a natural way to calm the stomach and help with ailments such as heartburn. Even one cup of ginger tea a day can help reduce the inflammation of your gut.
- Reap the benefits of turmeric. Turmeric, a cousin to ginger, is packed with antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be used in your favorite gluten-free recipes, so eat well and heal your gut.
There’s no cure for celiac disease, but you can (and should!) take the necessary steps to maintain an active gluten-free lifestyle and heal your gut. Have you healed your gut from the damage of celiac disease? Let us know how you did it in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!
Hi just curious as to what type of herbal preparations for healing the gut lining?
Great article btw
I loved this article! I’m 64 year old woman who just figured out I have either celiac disease or at least am gluten intolerance. I’ll get it checked out by my doctor but in the mean time I’ve been gluten-free for 5 days and already notice an enormous difference in how I feel. Being gluten- free is a small price to pay for feeling this good! I’ll give your suggestions a try also.
Hey there, just letting you know that it is important to keep consuming gluten if you are going to be checked for it, as it may show up as a negative result. Good luck!!!
Thank you for writing this article! I have a ten year old celiac son who is struggling on healing his gut! Can he take these supplements as well?
Great article! Thank you for that. I have gluten intolerance which I found out last year and it caused me all sorts of not nice symptoms till then. Many professionals couldn’t pin down what was the problem for a long time.. but finally after lots of try and errors I eliminated gluten and Lactose from my diet and started feeling much better!!!
Few days ago I had some nieces around and we had pizza and cookies and I paid big price for it!! My joints got really inflamed and painful and I got very hot in the night plus obciously brain fog-my immune system really overreacted to gluten- so no more gluten slip ups for me!
Normally I have smoothie every morning to provide best nutrients possible (cucumber, celery sticks, avocado, apples, spinach, bit of ginger and lemon)- its really good! I also drink a lot of herbal teas: ginger, chamomile or pepermint(really nice to calm tummy), big one for me is good quality chicken broth!!!
And few supplements (multivitamin, TODA Heart of Gold Formula-for helping enzymes and regulating immune system, powdered rosehip vit C small amounts bit often – better absorption and probiotic, plus fermented food like sauerkraut)
I have heard that papaya juice is great to rebuild villi?has anybody tried that yet?
Good luck everyone and let’s all stay in perfect health!
Thank you All for your valuable information. I have been glutton. Lactose free for 4 days. Taking l glutamine. B complex. Eating well. Smart. My inflammation has decreased. Feeling better. Hopefully my villi will pop up into action. So I can start doing my physical activities. Hope you All recover and never give up when your body changes. Adapt . Ciao .
Just recently diagnosed. Symptoms of fatigue and anemia prompted the tests. Also explains the periodic bloating and tender bowels. However bowels scoped as healthy but the blood test showed celiac disease. Perhaps 15 years of homemade kefir and a diet with various whole grains and foods, and the frequent use of the turmeric, ginger and omega3 foods (and supplements) protected my bowels.
Good article, thanks for this information. I have been off Glutton for five years. First few months show great results and what I thought would be a complete healing. I have not done the test for celiac because of what is said above that I have to go back on the gluten to get the correct test. I am starting to believe now that a great deal of damage was done and I might be part of the 34% that do not heal from 50 years of Damage. I still experience lots of Blotting, muscle fatigue, weakness. I sometime think I am malnourished or not taking in critical vitamins and minerals to help combat these things. Switching Doctors too because mine can’t remember each visit that I am gluten free and need to be. Hope for the best for all of you. Again Thanks.