Body – where to start? If you have come to this point and have a positive diagnosis of celiac disease then you realize that all those symptoms were screams for help from you body. A gluten allergy and sensitivity causes plenty of discomfort but full on celiac disease causes damage. As you probably already know, the villi (which is in charge of taking in nutrients from food and feeding you body) have been damaged at this point. Only time and a strict gluten free diet will reverse that within year or two. However a gluten free diet must be maintained to stay well. What to do in the meantime? How do we get the nutrients our bodies are so depleted of? How do we calm our destroyed, annoyed, inflamed digestive system? How do we deal with some of the repercussions of this disease? Depending on how long you went undiagnosed, will determine how much damage was done. These were some of my questions that were either unanswered or vaguely answered by doctors and nutritionists. So again, I took matters into my own hands.
*Important – please remember I am in NO WAY a doctor. I am just a person who was suffering and needed to find a way to feel better. These suggestions worked for me. Hopefully they will give you ideas to help yourself. Or at least ask better questions to your health provider.
First thing that must be done:
Vitamin D. You must have a slew of blood work done and demand (if not given freely) all vitamin and mineral levels checked. The #1 deficiency with Celiacs is a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for your bones. Testing for early osteoporosis is important as well! It is vital to replenish that Vitamin D and fast.
Fact - Vitamin D is linked to depression, joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, skin pigmentation and now studies have shown a possible link to Alzheimer’s.
Here is what I did:
I was put on 2000mg of vitamin D a day. Your doctor should tell you how much is right for you. You can find Vitamin D in fish (herring, catfish, salmon, trout, halibut, sardines, mackerel), fish liver oils, egg yolks, fortified dairy and grains, and 15-20 minutes of sunlight.
Because my digestion was so inflamed and sluggish, I opted for liquid or powder vitamins. I did this (and still do) because my body didn’t have to work as hard to break down the pills. Some supplements can even go under your tongue for faster absorption. I was so depleted of Vitamin D among so many other vitamins that it was necessary for me at first to be administered vitamins through intravenous. This can only be done by a doctor. My levels of vitamin D were so low that I remember coming in out of the sun just a half an hour to find a weird rash all over my arms and face. I found out, again through my own reading and investigation, that it was caused by my lack of vitamin D. Celiac disease, as you know, is an auto immune disease, so your immune system is on high alert. So the Vitamin D that I had absorbed from the sun that day was entering into an autoimmune system that was ready to attack it. My body looked at it as an invader because my Vitamin D was so low it didn’t recognize it as a friend.
Assuming your Doctor has told you what your specific needs are in terms of vitamins. Vitamin C and a multi-vitamin is necessary.
Here is what I did every morning to make sure the basics were met:
I made a smoothie of 1 cup water or hemp or almond milk, one banana, and handful of blueberries, blackberries – whatever is fresh and organic, my liquid Vitamin D, 1 heaping tbls of All One (a rice based soy, gluten 100% pure multi and mineral powder packed with vitamins), and some Vitamin C. YUM!!!
Another big issue with celiac disease is inflammation! A year before my diagnosis the inflammation under my eyes was insane. I always experienced bloating but the under eye swelling would lead to sinus infections all the time, constant headaches, dark circles under my eyes and brain fog. I couldn’t even think when this would happen, it really became debilitating. I went from doctor to doctor with more and more antibiotics prescribed. One doctor even suggested a surgery that would open up the small bridge of my nose to make my sinus drain better. Another doctor wanted to release the same pressure by drilling holes through my eyebrows. Sounds good huh? The bloating in the stomach, well that is from a digestive system that is over worked, mad, inflamed and obviously not functioning properly. I was told a slew of unbelievable diagnosis for that as well. I will tell you one diagnosis I never heard was celiac disease!
It’s been 2 1/2 years now since being diagnosed and living a gluten free life. Although it took a while to adjust I can say the bloating and under eye swelling has most definitely gotten better. It is not always easy to live a gluten free life but I promise the rewards are great. Feeling better is reward enough, isn’t it?!