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Coeliac disease is an autoimmune health disorder in which the immune system reacts to gluten. Gluten damages the lining of the small intestine of coeliac patients. In consequence, their ability to absorb nutrients is poor, increasing the risk of nutrient deficiencies, anaemia and osteoporosis. Symptoms of coeliac disease can vary from one patient to another. They include digestive complaints, growth troubles, tiredness and/or skin rashes. Coeliac patients have to follow a strict gluten-free diet throughout their entire life. According to research1, between 0.5 and 1% of the European population is affected by coeliac disease.
1. EFSA, Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of allergenic foods and food ingredients for labelling purposes, EFSA Journal 2014; 12(11): 3894.