How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Celiac Disease!

Gluten has become a hot topic lately and this protein has been given a bad rap. Gluten is the center of attention for people with celiac disease... Learn more.

Article Summary:
  • Celiac disease is a genetic disease that affects the digestive system.
  • The symptoms of celiac disease differ from person to person.
  • Treatment for celiac disease requires a strict, gluten free diet.
  • Gluten has become a hot topic lately and this protein has been given a bad rap. Gluten is the center of attention for people with celiac disease, a disease that is more common today than it was 50 years ago.

    What Is Celiac Disease?

    Celiac disease is an autoimmune genetic disease that affects the digestive system leading to damage in the small intestine and malnourishment. The symptoms of celiac disease arise when gluten, a protein found in the grains wheat, rye and barely, is consumed.

    The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease Arise When Gluten, A Protein Found In The Grains Wheat, Rye And Barely, Is Consumed.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease Arise When Gluten, A Protein
    Found In The Grains Wheat, Rye, And Barely, Is Consumed.

    More than 2 million Americans (1 in 133 people) have celiac disease and yet only an estimated 5-10% of those living with this disease are diagnosed. Why? Many people live with this for years because they are misdiagnosed or living with few to no symptoms.

    The symptoms of celiac disease are vague and differ from person to person. Digestive symptoms are more common in kids and infants whereas adults are more likely to have other symptoms. Symptoms may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Bone or joint pain
    • Arthritis
    • Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
    • Depression or anxiety
    • Tingling numbness in the hands and feet
    • Seizures
    • Missed menstrual periods
    • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
    • Canker sores in the inside of the mouth
    • Dermatitis herpetiformis - an itch rash that typically occurs on the elbows, knees, buttocks and scalp
    • Digestive symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea, constipation, fatty stool, weight loss

    Complications from celiac disease may include osteoporosis, anemia, cancer and nutrient deficiencies.

    Celiac Sprue... Who Knew? Pt. 1.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Celiac Sprue: Who Knew?
    After implementing a totally gluten, wheat, malt, oat, barley, rye-free diet, my skin took on a smoother appearance and my general attitude got better!


    Gluten can be found in:

    • Wheat, wheat starch, wheat bran, hydrolyzed wheat protein
    • Barely
    • Rye
    • Graham flour, kamut, barley malt
    • Some medicines
    • Vitamins and other supplements
    • Some lip balms
    • Food processed in facilities that process wheat, barely and rye containing foods
    • Food additives such as modified food starch, preservatives and stabilizers made with wheat

    Do You Or Does Anyone You Know Have Celiac Disease?

    Yes - I Have It
    Yes - I Know Someone Who Has It

    How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Celiac Disease

    There is only one treatment for celiac disease - a strict gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of gluten can cause damage to the small intestine. Luckily, bodybuilding can help you manage a gluten free diet with ease.

    • Bodybuilders Know Food: Bodybuilders are food detectives. They are used to reading labels and ingredients. And, it takes a food sleuth to avoid gluten! To avoid gluten you have to know ingredients and also be aware that many foods (even something like oatmeal) may be cross-contaminated with gluten.

    RELATED VIDEO: Inside The World Of Planet Tamar
    Episode #1: Introduction!

    In this first episode, Tamar discusses her decision to compete in the 2007 NPC Southern States Championship, and how she deals with her diagnosis of Celiac Sprue.
    Watch More From This Series Here.

    • Bodybuilders Go To The Doctor: One of the side effects of celiac disease is a deficiency in certain nutrients. Damage to the villi of the small intestine interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. As a bodybuilder though you are in tune with your diet and overall health. This means you request blood tests to take a look at your nutrient status and correct any deficiencies right away.

    To Avoid Gluten You Have To Know Ingredients And Also Be Aware That Many Foods May Be Cross-Contaminated With Gluten.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    To Avoid Gluten You Have To Know Ingredients And Also Be Aware
    That Many Foods May Be Cross-Contaminated With Gluten.

    Additional Tips To Help You Manage Celiac Disease:

      There is no cure for celiac disease. Instead, a strict gluten-free diet must be followed. If you think you may have it, it is important not to self-diagnose.

      Instead, get tested. Doctors typically test for high levels of the antibodies tTGA (anti-tissue transglutaminase) and EMA (anti-endomysium antibodies). They may also take an intestinal biopsy.

      Transglutaminase & Endomysium:
      Transglutaminases, known as meat glue in food processing, are a family of enzymes that catalyze the formation of a covalent bond between a free amine group and the gamma-carboxamid group of protein- or peptide-bound glutamine.

      The endomysium, literally meaning within the muscle, is a layer of connective tissue that ensheaths a muscle fiber and is composed mostly from reticular fibers.

      For more information on celiac disease, check the following resources:


    Though you cannot cure celiac disease, there is a treatment and the bonus is this treatment requires no medicine! It does require a strict gluten free diet but, as a bodybuilder, you are used to maintaining a strict diet right?

    Now you just need to ramp up your food sleuth skills. And think of it this way - at least you have a "valid" excuse when friends moan about why you can't eat certain foods at restaurants.

    About The Author:

      Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped Olympic athletes, NFL-bound athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to For more information see:


    1. Catassi C, Fabiani E, Iacono G et al. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to establish a safe gluten threshold for patients with celiac disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(1):160-6.
    2. Celiac Disease. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
    3. Cranney A, Zarkadas M, Graham ID et al. The Canadian Celiac Health Survey. Dig Dis Sci 2007;52(4):1087-95.

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    Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

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    • rep this user

    As a person with Celiacs I appreciate articles such as this. Thanks

    Article Rated:
    Nov 29, 2013 2:11am | report
    • rep this user

    Having recently being diagnosed with Celiac, its really changed my lifestyle around. no more fast food cheat meals! Thanks for the article, they say 1 in every 133 people have been diagnosed with Celiac so its great seeing others

    Feb 20, 2014 5:30am | report
    • rep this user

    good article!

    Apr 7, 2014 1:43pm | report
    • rep this user

    I am also a mutant! Thanks for info.

    Nov 2, 2014 11:27pm | report
    • rep this user

    So helpful! Have been training for my first bikini in June and just got diagnosed with Celiacs. So glad to know there are others in the industry in the same boat!

    Feb 12, 2015 1:16am | report
    Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

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