Ireland -

The Irish and Celiac Disease EP062

The Irish are known for being lucky… But does that luck hold out when it comes to celiac disease?

The prevalence of celiac disease among the Iris is 1:100, about the same as the rest of the world. And if you are a redhead of Irish descent, there is a good chance that you are an HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 gene carrier.

Today, the Gluten Free RN explores Irish ancestry and celiac disease, discussing how the Potato Famine led to a change in diet for much of the surviving population. She walks us through a paper published by Irish College of General Practitioners explaining the clinical presentations and complications of celiac disease.

Nadine shares her experience running the Dublin marathon and the health consequences she suffered after touring the Guinness brewery. Listen in to understand the work of the Coeliac Society of Ireland and learn about the trends in celiac disease among the Irish.

What’s Discussed: 

Why red hair is associated with celiac disease

  • Tend to be HLA-DQ2 and/or HLA-DQ8 gene carriers

The prevalence of celiac disease in Irish Setters

  • Do much better on a gluten-free/Paleo diet

The Irish Potato Famine

  • Potato-based diet, little access to grains
  • Famine from 1845-1849
  • One million died, many emigrated

The myth that celiac disease is more prevalent in Europe than the US

  • 30-50% of the population carries HLA-DQ2, HLA-DQ8 gene

The myth that women are more susceptible to celiac disease

  • Statistics don’t support this belief

The Irish College of General Practitioners paper on celiac disease

  • Clinical presentations, complications of celiac disease
  • Conditions associated with increased prevalence

The prevalence of celiac disease in Ireland

  • 1:100 (matches rest of world)

The appropriate testing for celiac disease and NCGS

  • Blood test for total IgA/IgG, DGP and AGA

Nadine’s experience running the Dublin marathon in 1998

  • Extreme edema in lower extremities

The information provided by the Coeliac Society of Ireland

  • Health ramifications of undiagnosed CD
  • Average duration from symptoms to diagnosis (nine months)


‘Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy in a Family of Irish Setters’ in The Canadian Veterinary Journal

‘Diagnosis and Management of Adult Coeliac Disease’ in ICGP

Coeliac Society of Ireland

‘Prevalence and Incidence of Celiac Disease in Edinburgh and the Lothian Region of Scotland’ in Gastroenterology

‘Prevalence and Diagnosis’ by the Coeliac Society of Ireland

‘Coeliac Disease in Europe’ in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

‘Escalation in the Amount of Adults Diagnosed with Coeliac Disease’ in Lifestyle Health

‘Gluten-Free Foods’ by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

‘How Irish Diets of the Past Affect the Present’ in The Irish Times

‘Changes in Presentation of Celiac Disease in Ireland from the 1960s to 2015’ in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

‘Coeliac Disease: A Personal Perspective’ in Irish Health

‘Coeliac Disease: More Common Than You Think in Irish Health

‘Pathology and Management of Coeliac Disease’ by the Dublin Academic Medical Centre & UCD

Connect with Nadine:



Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

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

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