Question: What causes coeliac disease


  1. Hi parkercaitlin24,

    Thanks for coming back to ask this question and giving me some time to explain!

    There have been a lot of questions that relate to the immune system in this zone, and its great because its a really complex but incredibly fascinating part of biology. 🙂

    So, as you know coeliac disease affects the intestines. It happens when the lining of the intestine has a reaction to gluten, which is normally present in wheat, rye, barley etc. This reaction is abnormal and is caused by an over-reaction of your immune system.

    Immune cells that live in the lining of the bowel or intestine normally produce antibodies and other chemicals that fight off diseases. Sometimes, for reasons we dont fully understand, in some people these cells overreact to gluten in the diet and produce antibodies that actually cause the cells in the intestine to die. When the cells in the intestine die, they can not absorb nutrients and this can be permanent. This is coeliac disease and sufferers can not have gluten at all or they end up in the bathroom paying the price. 🙁 not fun.