New research suggests a looming celiac disease outbreak and a steep rise in the number of people affected by gluten intolerance as long-haul Covid-19 symptoms. This article is for information purposes only. Be sure to discuss any health issues with your doctor. Please see my disclosures.
New research suggests that Covid-19’s detrimental impact on the gut may lead to an increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
In a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, researchers hypothesize that Covid‐19 could be a “potential trigger factor for celiac disease in predisposed patients.”
The researchers say that Covid‐19 may be behind a “potential outbreak of celiac disease in the forthcoming future,” citing that a Covid-19 infection could lead to mucosal damage, intestinal permeability, and the production of proteins that stimulate the immune system.
The researchers go on to suggest that Covid-19 should be considered a risk factor in the development of autoimmune disease, particularly celiac disease, in predisposed patients, although more studies are warranted before any conclusions can be made.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes confused and mistakenly attacks the lining of the small intestine whenever a person eats gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. The disorder affects between 1-3 percent of the population.
Additional research suggests that “post-COVID syndrome,” or PCS, increasingly involves the gastrointestinal (GI) system, leading to symptoms including mild nausea, decreased appetite, constipation, and food intolerance(s).
In a study published in Neurogastroenterology and Motility in March 2022, 16 percent of patients without a pre-existing GI condition reported experiencing new GI symptoms roughly three months after a Covid-19 infection.
An article published by the Mayo Clinic explains that the lining of the gut encompasses a large amount of the receptors that the SARS-COV2 virus uses to invade cells. The author says this may explain why patients experience gut issues following a Covid-19 infection. The author adds that such inflammation could “disrupt the normal bacteria that live in the gut and stimulate some of the GI system nerves.”
Here are a few of the comments:
“I have had gluten sensitivity since having COVID five months ago. … When I eat gluten-free, the symptoms do not occur.”
“I went GF about 5 months ago, and it reduced most of my long Covid symptoms.”
“My daughter, 19 now, has had Covid at least three times. Since then, we have had issues with dairy, gluten, and anxiety.”
“Having what seems to be long COVID at 76 years, not only [did I] come down with sensitivity to wheat gluten, but [also] to most every kind of grain, including rice, rice pasta, corn tortillas, and oatmeal.”
Suspect You Have an Issue with Gluten?
If you suspect you have an issue with gluten, consider getting tested for celiac disease first. You must be eating gluten for a celiac disease test to be reliable. (Read: STOP! Don’t Go Gluten-Free Until You Read This Article.)
You can request a celiac test from your doctor or take this at-home celiac screening test. At-home tests are reliable and accurate; although results should be discussed with your doctor.
Also, you can find out if you’re generally “predisposed” to celiac disease by taking this at-home genetic test.
If the test is negative, I recommend eliminating gluten for 4-6 weeks and reintroducing it to see how you feel. You can learn how to self-diagnose gluten intolerance in the article, Do You Have Gluten Intolerance? How to Test for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
As always, monitor changes to your health and discuss new symptoms and concerns with your doctor.
- What You Need to Know About Coronavirus When You Have Celiac Disease
- What to Expect When Getting Tested for Celiac Disease (Blood Test and Endoscopy)
- Do You Have Gluten Intolerance? How to Test for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
- STOP! Don’t Go Gluten-Free Until You Read This Article
- Leaky Gut and the Gluten Connection
- Does Gluten Cause Inflammation in Everyone?