The Concept of Gluten Intolerance / Sensitivity
There is emerging data on a group of individuals who do not have celiac disease but have significant symptoms after exposure to gluten and/ or wheat .This has been referred to as NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (NCGS) or with the broader term NON-CELIAC WHEAT SENSIVITY (NCWS) since the offending allergen may not be gluten but another component of wheat. The symptoms are extensive, sometimes nonspecific, and similar to symptoms seen in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal illnesses.
There are no diagnostic or confirmatory laboratory tests and there is as yet no consensus on the most reliable or predictive symptoms. Diagnosis is suspected or made by patient self-reporting of symptoms after exposure to gluten or wheat, with associated significant improvement on a gluten free diet. The typical serological tests for celiac disease are negative, and duodenal biopsy findings if any are non-specific. A scientific way to confirm this would be to have patients with a suspected diagnosis eat identical foods, one with gluten and the other without, at separate times and assess symptoms.
Patients are advised to avoid the offending foods and follow up with their gastroenterologist and primary care physician.
The medical community hopes to learn more about this condition as the research progresses.