What Exactly Is Gluten?

in Celiac
Published: August 30, 2010

In Latin, gluten means “glue” and that’s exactly what it is: two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, stuck together. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, which means it is in a myriad of products, from the usual suspects like bread and bagels to those that are not nearly so obvious.

Think meat substitutes, for example, or bouillon cubes, licorice and lip balm. With celiac disease, the villi – tiny, finger-like projections in the small intestine that act as gatekeepers to the rest of the body – reject gluten for some unknown reason.

This rejection can affect the absorption rate of many other nutrients that are key to our wellbeing, including calcium, iron and vitamin A.