Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: When Gluten Intolerance Is Not Celiac Disease

Basically, what is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity? Gluten sensitivity affects more and more people now than ever before. For this reason, many people today are choosing to be on gluten free diets.

Foods labeled “gluten free” (including items that naturally have zero gluten–for instance peanut butter and almond butter) are now packing supermarket shelves. Restaurants too, are joining the cause with many offering gluten free and “gluten sensitive” options.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity – When Gluten Intolerance Is Not Celiac Disease

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Why do people badly react to gluten?

Some people react to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat as well as some other grains (barley, rye, triticale and some oats). They report symptoms such as abdominal pain, headaches, bloating, gas, diarrhea, joint pain, foggy thinking, fatigue, skin issues, balance issues, and numbness in the arms, fingers, legs after they have eaten wheat or other gluten containing grains.

The emotional-related symptoms have left some to suspect that this gluten-free craze is just some attempt to find physical explanations for these issues. A growing amount of research, however, now indicates that many people indeed may be suffering from a real condition called NCGS or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease, compared to NCGS, is a far less common condition. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack the small intestine when gluten is consumed damaging the villi. This results in a variety of unpleasant symptoms and health complications. Celiac disease is a serious condition and it is estimated that 1 in 133 people have it.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)

On the other hand, with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity patients do not test positive for Celiac disease, but the symptoms are often the same as those experienced by people with celiac disease (digestive issues, brain fog, fatigue, skin issues, etc. . It is just as real and can be just as uncomfortable.

Removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms, however oftentimes other food intolerances are present for people with NCGS.

The Difference between Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms of NCGS are usually similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and celiac disease. With NCGS though, unlike celiac disease, there is no damage whatsoever to villi in the small intestines. Rather, a leaky gut condition is usually the case.

NCGS is also not the same as a wheat or gluten allergy, which causes an anaphylactic response. Note: A wheat allergy is far less common that both celiac disease and NCGS.

See also: Symptoms of Celiac Disease

How to Diagnose or Test Yourself for NCGS

To know if you have NCGS or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, one route is to get yourself tested first for celiac disease. If your blood test reveals you as ‘negative’ for celiac disease, and if your intestinal biopsy shows no signs of damage on your small intestines, then only then can you rule out Celiac Disease. Still, non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be what you are dealing with.

An elimination diet can reveal whether gluten is an issue for you. To do this, you would go on a gluten free diet for about 6 weeks. Remove all possible sources of gluten from your diet and see if your symptoms lift. Keeping a food and symptoms diary can be very helpful when doing an elimination diet.

After eliminating gluten for 6 weeks, you can reintroduce gluten to your diet to see if symptoms recur. Sometimes it can take time for symptoms to reappear so if you felt better on a gluten free diet, that may be the best choice for you.

Do you think you’re suffering from non celiac gluten sensitivity? If so, the solution is easy.