villous atrophy

Intro to Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance EP004

This episode of ‘Gluten Free RN’ covers the basics of celiac disease and gluten intolerance – what those terms mean and what they might mean for you. Nadine explains which genes suggest a predisposition to gluten intolerance and what circumstances lead to a diagnosis of celiac disease proper.

Nadine talks you through what happens in your digestive tract that leads to gluten proteins attacking your organs and preventing your body from absorbing the nutrients it needs. She also outlines the foods and products you need to avoid to achieve ‘gluten-zero,’ as well as the foods you can enjoy as part of a gluten-free diet.

Listen in and learn where gluten is hiding and how to modify your diet to reverse the adverse effects of gluten!

What’s Discussed:

  • The definition of celiac disease and its chronic nature
    • 30-50% of the population carries the genes
  • How a trigger event (i.e.: a cold, pregnancy, stress, an injury) initiates the autoimmune disorder
  • Options for getting tested for the genetic predisposition
  • The closed system of the digestive tractand how food is processed
    • While some food is used for energy, much just passes through
  • Villous atrophy and the four stages of tissue damage
    • Marsh 1: microvilli destroyed; body cannot break down sugar and milk
    • Marsh 2/3: villi themselves fold over or atrophy; tight junctures between villi (that keep things your body can’t utilize in the GI tract and out of your bloodstream) open up
    • Marsh 4: villi gone and only red, inflamed tissue remains; ‘leaky gut’
  • The effects of increased permeability of the intestinal wall
    • Damaged immune system
    • Rather than passing through the GI tract, gluten proteins get into bloodstream and wreak havoc on organs
    • Body can’t absorb nutrients out of food
  • The importance of healthy intestinal tissue
    • 70-90% of the immune system is in your intestines
  • The soldier analogy
    • Healthy villi are like rested soldiers with loaded weapons on a clear day who can easily take out antigens that don’t belong
    • Damaged villi are like soldiers on a bender with inadequate weaponry, operating in smoke and fire – they either don’t work at all or fire randomly at antigens
  • The long road to recovering from villous atrophy
    • It takes 6 months to a year to reverse the damage
  • Grains to avoid that contain gluten
    • Wheat
    • Barley
    • Rye
    • Oats (due to cross-contamination)
  • Places where gluten may be hiding
  • Gluten-free foods
    • Fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Plain meats and fish (not breaded or beer battered)
    • Beans/legumes
    • Tree nuts
    • Rice, corn and potatoes
    • Quinoa and teff
    • Dairy
  • What a gluten-free rating means
    • The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) certifies products that contain less than ten parts per million

Resources Mentioned: 

Gluten: Zero Global by Rodney Ford

 Enterolab Website

 Glutenpro Celiac Test

 Country Life Vitamins

 Kite Hill Foods

Connect with Nadine: 



Contact via Email

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

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