Celiac Disease

  • Updated March 27, 2023
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While the term “you are what you eat” may not be the most accurate phrase in the most literal sense, it is true that our diets can play a huge role in the long term effects of our evolution. Changes in our human anatomy over the past million or so years can often be directly linked to changes in our diets. Throughout modern history ranging from about 10,000 years ago when it was domesticated, wheat has been a staple to the human diet, but when and why did it actually become so popular, and why did it suddenly become recognized as a problem with the within the last few centuries?

Humans are still evolving, and the diets that we have today will likewise play a contributing factor to where our development will progress in the future. The first recorded domestication of wheat was roughly 10,000 – 12,000 years ago in the Eastern Fertile Crescent. It was an offspring of its plant ancestor emmer which still lives today. The earliest known uses of emmer were approximately 23,000 years ago in Israel. While the ancient evolution of gluten intolerance and celiac disease is virtually unattainable, what we are rapidly learning is how gluten has started affecting a large portion of the population within the last few centuries.

After two million years of evolution went into forming the human gut to be the highly sophisticated organ that it is, the Neolithic agricultural revolution introduced entirely new antigens into the human diet. For the most part, humans were able to adapt to these new lifestyle and diet changes, but for those who could not, certain food intolerances were born, such as lactose intolerance and celiac disease. It took eight thousand years for celiac disease to be acknowledged. In 100 years AD, Aretaeus, a Greek physician identified what he called “The Coeliac Affection.”

He used the root of the word from the Greek word “koelia” meaning “abdomen,” and created what he called “koiliakos.” His definition of this illness that he was studying was: “If the stomach be irretentive of the food and if it pass through undigested and crude, and nothing ascends into the body, we call such persons coeliacs”. It took almost 1700 years to pass before there was another documentation of celiac disease. A doctor named Mathew Baillie studied and wrote about how some individuals who ate primarily rice for most of their lives had chronic diarrhea and gas-distended abdomens. Almost a hundred years later, an English doctor, Samuel Gee, got the opportunity to take full credit for the modern definition of Celiac Disease.

While he was well aware that Celiac Disease was a diet-related illness, it was still unknown what precisely caused the gastrointestinal malfunctions. More time passed without a breakthrough in discovering the cause and in the 1920s, Sidney Haas, using fully experimental methods, proclaimed victory with the successful treatment of eight children he had personally diagnosed with Celiac Disease. He credited the success of his development to “the banana diet,” which was, simply put, a diet that excluded all cereals, potatoes, crackers, and bread. Haas firmly believed that it was the exclusion of all carbohydrates that caused so much success in his treatment and took no criticism in the suggestion that his medicinal diet might not be totally accurate.

The biggest breakthrough in the study of Celiac Disease came after World War II, when a Dutch pediatrician named Dicke noticed that the health of children with diagnosed Celiac Disease had improved during the bread shortages and linked this together, stating that gluten is probably what is causing so much abdominal irritation. In the 1950s, Margaret Shiner invented a new tool that allowed a biopsy to be taken of the villi in the intestine, successfully creating a solid foundation for a proper diagnosis of Celiac Disease. After years of more research, in the 1990s Celiac Disease was finally classified as an autoimmune disease.

While the history of Celiac Disease rarely states any information other than dates and timelines of new discoveries and observations, there is something we must analyze more closely. Since the 1990s, the spike in those who claim to be gluten intolerant has skyrocketed. This is largely due, some believe, to the herbicide Roundup, that contains the ingredient glyphosate.

Cite this paper

Celiac Disease. (2021, Aug 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/celiac-disease/



Is celiac disease very serious?
Yes, celiac disease is a very serious autoimmune disease in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
What are the early warning signs of celiac disease?
There are a few early warning signs of celiac disease, which include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. However, these symptoms can also be indicative of other health conditions, so it is important to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing any of these.
What does celiac disease do to a person?
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This can lead to malnutrition, as well as a host of other problems.
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