Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in response to the digestion of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains and is commonly included in many processed and packaged foods. When an affected individual consumes gluten, the gliadin fraction is recognized by the immune system as a foreign substance. This initiates a cascade of events in the immune system, causing severe inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining. The intestinal damage interferes with the normal absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, leading to malnutrition and other health issues.