Posted on Mon, 23 May 11
You don’t have to have celiac disease to suffer from sensitivity to gluten; a convincing study has found that gluten can still cause symptoms such as bloating, fatigue and pain.
To see if gluten can cause symptoms in people without celiac disease a group of people with irritable bowel syndrome and no evidence of celiac disease followed a gluten-free diet for up to 6 weeks. In addition the study participants also ate two slices of bread and one muffin daily (either containing gluten or gluten-free in the placebo group).
Within just one week those on the gluten containing diet reported significantly worse pain, stool consistency, and tiredness than those who were gluten free. Despite a clear relationship between gluten and symptoms no significant difference in markers of intestinal health, inflammation and immunity were found.
This report suggests that "non-celiac gluten intolerance" is a real problem but in the absence of measurable effects on intestinal health or immunity just how it occurs remains to be understood.
Testing for celiac disease remains advisable considering that a gluten free diet is strict and lifelong. However, this study suggests that even if tests come back negative you may still benefit from a gluten-free diet.
Biesiekierski JR, et al. Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14