Posted on Mon, 8 Aug 16
Up to 71% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) respond well to a gluten-free diet, and those with a special genotype benefit even more.
Gluten-free diets are increasingly popular for the relief of digestive problems in people without celiac disease. “Non-celiac gluten-sensitivity,” as it is called, is characterised by IBS symptoms, depression and fatigue.
The potential benefits of a gluten-free diet in people with IBS and without celiac disease, however, are still unclear so a group of people with diarrhoea predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) were put on a nutritionist-led gluten-free diet for 6-weeks.
After 6-weeks the gluten-free diet reduced IBS Symptom Severity Score by over 50 points in 71% of people overall. Scores decreased from 286 (considered moderate to severe) before the diet to 131 points (considered mild) after 6 weeks on the diet. There were also reductions in anxiety, depression and fatigue scores.
Individuals with a specific genotype related to increased gluten sensitivity (HLA-DQ2/8-positive subjects) had greater reductions in abdominal distention and depression as well as better improvements in vitality.
People with “IBS-D who are HLA-DQ2/8-positive have accelerated small bowel transit times and altered bowel-barrier function on exposure to a gluten containing diet compared with those who are HLADQ2/ 8-negative,” highlighted the study investigators, helping explain the better response.
Of those that responded well 72% continued the diet long term, and 18-months after the study they had maintained symptom reductions.
People with IBS-D should consider counselling in a gluten-free diet with a nutritionist as the response appears to be comparable or more effective than most other treatment options.
Learn more in: The Digestive Health Solution
Aziz I, Trott N, Briggs R, et al. Efficacy of a Gluten-Free Diet in Subjects With Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea Unaware of Their HLA-DQ2/8 Genotype. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 May;14(5):696-703.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.12.031.