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For most people, eating wheat is no big deal. But for people with celiac disease, even a small particle of gluten can cause a range of painful reactions that can persist for days afterwards. Gluten exposure is a constant concern for people with celiac, but what happens when our bodies are exposed to gluten?

The symptoms of a person with celiac disease who has eaten gluten can vary. For most people, symptoms persist for two to three days: a big price to pay for eating a tiny particle of gluten.

As a celiac sufferer, you are probably familiar with your own set of symptoms. But do you know why they occur? Here is a quick view of what happens inside your body when you consume gluten.

The primary mechanism that causes reactions to gluten is gliadin, a protein found in wheat. There are three primary types of gliadin, two of which have been linked to celiac disease. The amino acids found in gliadin are what trigger the autoimmune reaction that accelerates celiac disease and its effects.

When someone consumes gluten, there is a complex series of reactions, including the innate and adaptive immune system resulting in the production of autoantibodies. This results in the destruction of the villi, tiny, elongated projections that make up the small intestine. Villi are critical for nutrient absorption. Because of their shape, villi greatly increase the amount of surface area that can absorb nutrients.

At first, damage to the small intestine may be minor and go unnoticed. But over time, the villi become increasingly damaged, eventually becoming legible, so that their ability to absorb nutrients is decreased. By then, most people have experienced some of the side effects of celiac disease caused by nutritional deficiencies.

If you want to find out the benefits of a gluten-free diet, check out our article on this topic: 10 benefits of a gluten-free diet.

[Photo from Pixabay]