Gluten-free has become a frequently seen buzz-word on packaged foods, restaurant menus and popular among those interested in health and fitness. Gluten has been attributed to a wide variety of ailments ranging from skin problems, fatigue, to migraine headaches and even autism. The truth is wheat is avoided world-wide and composed of various components including carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. One of the proteins found in wheat is gluten. A well defined entity of gluten sensitivity is Celiac’s disease where in some genetically prone individuals, gluten will cause an immune reaction resulting in damage to the wall of the intestines. This damage can cause symptoms of bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea upon ingestion of gluten containing products. Long term complications from poorly managed Celiac's disease can result from malabsorption of essential nutrients, and even increased risk of intestinal cancers.
However many persons with typical symptoms of abdominal discomfort on ingestion of gluten containing foods, will test negative for Celiac's disease. What could explain this? A term called non-Celiac gluten sensitivity has come into the medical lexicon. About 30% of those with irritable bowel syndrome will complain of worsened symptoms when exposed to wheat. If you are concerned for food sensitivity, gluten intolerance or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity make an appointment for a formal evaluation and assessment of your symptoms today.