Study says non-celiac gluten sensitivity may not be real

gluten free foods photo from MGN courtesy of Celiac Corner

A recent study has effectively overturned earlier research that said non-celiac gluten sensitivity is real.

A professor of gastroenterology and director of the GI unit at an Australian hospital published a study in 2011 that found gluten caused gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease. Those study results served as strong evidence of the existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), commonly called gluten intolerance, and helped spike the number of people reducing gluten in their diets.

That same doctor has now found evidence that may overturn his first study, according to Real Clear Science.

In a second round of research, Dr. Peter Gibson studied 37 people confirmed to not have celiac disease but who did report improved gastrointestinal symptoms on a gluten-free diet.

The second study led Gibson to results directly opposite of those in his first study: no specific response to gluten.

Participants did show symptom improvement with a diet lower in levels of FODMAPs – fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates according to study do-author Jessica Biesiekierski.

“Coincidentally, some of the largest dietary sources of FODMAPs — specifically bread products — are removed when adopting a gluten-free diet, which could explain why the millions of people worldwide who swear by gluten-free diets feel better after going gluten-free,” the Real Clear Science report said.

A low FODMAP diet is commonly prescribed for patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Biesiekierski is continuing to work to determine whether NCGS truly exists.

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