Do you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
You may be one of the millions of people who don't have celiac disease, but know that gluten bothers your system.
Little is known about non-celiac gluten sensitivity 1 but it is a very important condition that needs much more research and clinical attention.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a recently described condition with symptoms similar to those in celiac disease. Unlike celiac disease, there is no known genetic susceptibility to NCGS, there are no auto-antibodies to damage the lining of the small intestine and there is no association with other autoimmune diseases. 2,3 We don't know yet if NCGS is a type of functional disorder or whether some people with NCGS actually have a very mild immune reaction to gluten.
Regardless, NCGS can mimic the symptoms of celiac disease. Gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and/or constipation, poor concentration, headaches, etc., are just a few of the symptoms that celiac disease and NCGS share. This can make life very uncomfortable. It's also confusing to diagnose. 4
NCGS is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that your doctor will only give you a diagnosis of NCGS if both celiac disease and a gluten or wheat allergy have been ruled out.
If you suspect that gluten is a problem for you, visit the Introduction to Celiac Disease to learn more about the differences between these conditions and about proper testing.
Important: Do not start the gluten-free diet until you have been tested.
How can this site help you?
Many of the nutritional recommendations and lifestyle tips for celiac disease are the same for NCGS.
While you may not face all of the same vitamin and mineral deficiencies that often occur with celiac disease, if your diet is limited by even one food group, you can be missing important nutrients:
A Few Examples:
- Calcium and Vitamin D if you have lactose intolerance
- Most of the B vitamins if you are not eating a variety of gluten-free grains, nuts and seeds
- Fiber - it's common knowledge that very few people get enough fiber in their diets.
So, read on for strategies to help you create a healthy gluten-free diet, read labels and avoid cross contamination, save money while shopping, and travel and dine out more safely. And check back periodically as this site will continue to grow.
- Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, Barrett JS, Haines M, Doecke JD, Shepherd SJ, Muir JG, Gibson PR. 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.
- Cooper Bt, Holmes GK, Ferguson R et al. Gluten-sensitive diarrhea without evidence of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 1981;81:192-194.
- Newnham ED. Does gluten cause gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without coeliac disease? J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;26:132-34.
- Fasano A, Catassi C. Current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease: an evolving spectrum. Gastroenterology 2001; 120:636-51.
Revision Date: 11-13-13