Illustration of intestinal villi in the case of gluten intolerance (or coeliac disease). The ingestion of gluten causes an abnormal immune reaction, which leads to swelling and damage in the lining of the intestine. The intestinal villi are destroyed. If the swelling persists, the damaged intestine becomes incapable of absorbing certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Malnutrition can follow, despite a normal diet.
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