Home PageGluten-Free PageRon Hoggan Articles

Date: Fri, 31 May 1996
Subject: atresia... a common symptom of gluten intolerance

I don't have any medical training. I am a school teacher who has celiac disease, and I have spent many, many hours reading about my illness, and associated and derivative illnesses. I am something of a fanatic about it.

Atresia, according to my medical dictionary, is a blockage, either partial or complete, of the bile duct. Dr. Kozlowska diagnosed atresia in 13 of a group of 41 celiac children she studied.(1) That suggests an incidence of about 30% to me.

The bile duct enters the intestine at the duodenum, where the fats are mixed with bile, resulting in tiny droplets of this emulsified material, which are absorbed through the microvilli in the jejunum. The fats then pass through the lymphatic system, ultimately arriving in the blood.

I can only speculate that salts would supplement that process, which my provide an explanation as to why so many celiacs consume copious quantities of salt (personal observation). For me, that resulted in a reduced ability to sweat, that is now fully corrected.

In gluten intolerance (celiac disease) there is also damage to the micro- villi, which are involved in the absorption of fats (as mentioned earlier). This, of course, results in an abnormal processing of fats, which can be tested for by measuring the proportion of fat that is excreted in feces. The higher the percentage of fat, the more likely there is a problem with fat absorption. (Celiac disease is only one possible cause of such malabsorption.)

  1. Kozlowska, Z.E. "Evaluation of Mental Status of Children With Malabsorption Syndrome After Long-term Treatment" PSYCHIATRIA POLSKA. 25/2 Mar-Apr. 1991