What is coeliac disease?

What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition brought on by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

It is pronounced "seeliak" and spelt "celiac" in some countries. Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people, however, only 24% of those who have the condition have actually been diagnosed.

When somebody with coeliac disease eats gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine. Coeliac antibodies are also produced.

The treatment for autoimmune diseases can be medication to decrease the immune response but in the case of coeliac disease, a gluten free diet.

*Research suggests that the majority of adults and children with coeliac disease can tolerate pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats which can be found in gluten-free cereals and products like the Schär Breakfast Bakes. Specific advice on inclusion of oats in a gluten free diet should be obtained from your dietitian.

Inflammation and Villi


The result of the intolerance to gluten is that the villi (small finger like projections which line the gut), become inflamed and flatten. Consequently, the body is not able to absorb the nutrients properly from food.