What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten-free diets are becoming more and more popular because many people state that they feel better when they are not consuming gluten (gluten is mainly wheat, barley and rye). Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition in which a person has symptoms that are like those of Celiac disease, but they are not diagnosed with Celiac disease. Complete elimination of gluten from the diet is the required solution in this situation.

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity

When you are sensitive to gluten, you can experience a wide range of symptoms that can greatly disrupt your life. The symptoms can include:

  • Mental fogginess
  • ADHD-like behavior
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Chronic fatigue

The severity of these symptoms will vary among those with this sensitivity, and they tend to be most severe shortly after you consume foods that contain gluten. On average, symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation occur approximately 30 minutes after you consume gluten. The other symptoms can be more frequent, but tend to be at their worst shortly after eating gluten.

Differences between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

If someone has Celiac disease, they can develop tissue transglutaminase antibodies and they can have small intestine damage. These symptoms are not necessarily present when you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. While it can take quite some time for the negative effects gluten has had on you to subside, the good news is your symptoms should disappear in the weeks and months after you eliminate gluten from your diet. If you wait too long, however, you may end up with leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome (these conditions can be quite a bit more serious and long lasting). So at least consider trying to go gluten free for a period of time to see if this helps your symptoms.

Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity

While blood tests for gluten sensitivity are not reliable – in fact, blood tests for Celiac disease are not considered reliable either, visit: www.enterolab.com for details on reliable Celiac and gluten sensitivity testing – you can usually try an elimination diet to see if your symptoms subside. Interestingly, not all people who are gluten sensitive have obvious symptoms, so it is valuable for everyone to try going on a gluten free diet for a period of time – at least one month – to see if your general well being improves, which is quite common when people go gluten free. At The Alternative Daily, we are proponents of the gluten free lifestyle, given the research associated with gluten (particularly wheat) and given that our bodies generally don’t do well on grains.

Going Gluten Free

If you decide to try a period of elimination, make sure you eliminate all sources of gluten. There are a great number of helpful resources online to help you go gluten free. If you feel better in the weeks when you go gluten free (and by the way, this includes losing weight, since that is one of the main results people see from eliminating gluten from their diet), then you should seriously consider going gluten free permanently. Nowadays, it is much easier to go gluten free – given all the resources and all the options for going gluten free. Just a brief word of caution, because something says it is gluten free does not mean it is necessarily healthy. There are a lot of gluten free products that contain a lot of added sugar and other grains that are not healthy for you.

Living Gluten Free

grainThere is no cure for either Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, so the only way to keep your symptoms under control is to follow a strict gluten free diet. It is important that you quickly start making changes and eliminate gluten. After you completely eliminate gluten, it can take several weeks (or even months) for your symptoms and the ill effects of gluten to dissipate completely.

Once you know that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is the cause of your symptoms, you can start to take control of your health. Completely eliminating gluten should resolve your symptoms, allowing you to more easily live a healthy life.

-The Alternative Daily


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