Gluten sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity

Understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivty

Dr. Stan (Stan Cohen MD)

Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.

gluten sensitivity

Not everyone who has gluten sensitivity actually has celiac disease. We've learned that some patients without celiac disease feel better on a gluten-free diet. These patients have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a relatively new diagnosis. 

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity vs Wheat Allergy

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not be to confused with wheat allergy.  These people have a true wheat allergy that is confirmed on skin or reliable blood tests. When they eat wheat, they react with a rash or discomfort. They may have other food allergies, but they don't usually react to the other gluten grains (rye, barley and spelt).

Once celiac disease and wheat allergy are excluded, patients who have gluten sensitivity can be recognized with this new condition. This includes some patients with irritable bowel syndrome, some patients with autistic spectrum disorders, chronic fatigue or long-term intestinal complaints. 

The important point is that celiac disease and wheat allergy should be ruled out first with proper testing. It is essential the person is still eating gluten when tested, otherwise it is more difficult to diagnose. An accurate diagnosis determines the right diet.

The patient with celiac disease must be devoted to a gluten free diet for life. Wheat allergy patients only need to focus on eliminating wheat. Anyone with the non-celiac variety can be more flexible.

Do I Have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?

Once the other conditions have been ruled out, a 3-4 week strict gluten-free diet is in order. The only way to determine if you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity is to remove gluten and see how you feel. Some will notice an improvement right away. In others, especially those in the autistic spectrum, it may take several weeks to see improvement. However, if there isn't any difference in a month, you can assume you are not gluten sensitive.

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