What are villi and what is villous atrophy? How fast does gluten destroy the villi? Is it permanent?

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Villi are small, finger-like projections in the small intestines that help you absorb nutrients. Villous atrophy is the blunting or flattening of the villi can be caused by the damage done by the immune system in a person with celiac disease after ingesting gluten. Damage to the villi can begin as early as three hours after exposure to gluten. However, the villi are not permanently damaged as the intestines continuously renew themselves.