Before I begin, I want to disclaim that the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease and celiac disease symptoms has been and remains a strict gluten-free diet. However, with new research suggesting a variety of origins of the disease, we must consider additional or supplemental methods to assist us in treating this frustrating condition.
The two areas I want to focus on are vitamin D deficiency and intestinal flora.
This Science Direct paper on Gluten and Lactobacillus casei indicates that when certain intestinal flora are introduced together they may amplify an immune response which may catalyze celiac disease symptoms.
Meanwhile, a study published at FASEBJ (Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) indicates that addressing and avoiding vitamin D deficiency may suppress the immune response which leads to intestinal inflammation disorders as well as celiac disease (described in the study linked earlier in my post).
In short, this could mean that celiac disease may be induced by early exposure to a combination of gluten and strains of intestinal flora while also suffering from insufficient vitamin D in your diet. Exposure to gluten is more widespread and pervasive than you realize. Read my essay on the matter: What Is Gluten?
To further corroborate this idea, we have two additional recent studies which indicate that 1) vitamin D assists in preserving the intestinal mucosal barrier and 2) that individuals born in the summer (and who thus experience their early months during the winter with less vitamin D providing sunlight) are more likely to develop celiac disease.
The first study can be found at the American Journal of Physiology here: Vitamin D Helps Maintain Intestinal Mucosal Barrier. The second study, a Swedish study, can be read at the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health here (requires free registration to access): Children Born In The Summer Have Increased Risk of Celiac Disease
So what is left to be seen is this… can supplementing ourselves with specific probiotics (good intestinal flora or healthy bacteria) and vitamin D help us treat the symptoms of celiac disease?
At this point it seems possible, but we’ll have to wait for some more comprehensive research which addresses this matter specifically before we can make any specific recommendation. As I stated earlier, for the time being, a strict gluten elimination diet is the only certain way to address a true case of celiac disease.
Another related topic to contemplate and research is this: since there is clinical evidence supporting that exposure to sunlight affects mood disorders (such as seasonal affective disorder), and sunlight provides humans with vitamin D, is it possible that a vitamin D deficiency could contribute to celiac depression? This is pure conjecture at this point, but it seems like something worth investigating.
Thank you for visiting Gluten Intolerance School and I hope this further illuminates this difficult disease.