Here we discuss the difference between Coeliac Disease (CD) and Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NGCS), what role gluten may have in many health conditions and why the ‘free-from’ aisle may not have all the answers.
Going gluten free is not just the latest diet fad, there is increasing scientific evidence showing the link between eating gluten and ill health in many people.
Coeliac Disease (CD) is the most severe end of the gluten sensitivity spectrum. 1 in 200 people are diagnosed with this condition but many more go undiagnosed with an estimated incidence closer to 1 in 30.
Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, but 30 percent of people of European descent carry the genes predisposing to coeliac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8). We do not know the percentage of those with HLA DQ2 and 8 who will go on to develop Coeliac Disease but we do know that over 95% of people with Coeliac have this gene.
The gliadin protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and some oats when ingested will trigger an immune response and the production of antibodies. This in turn causes local inflammation resulting in a marked disruption of normal gut tissue (enteropathy) as evidenced in small bowel biopsies.
Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is far more commonly undiagnosed as suffers may not have the genetic markers or antibodies seen in CD. However it is being increasingly regognised and has been implicated in many conditions such as; IBS, thyroid disorders, migraines, ADHD, autism, mood disturbances, heart disease and dementia.
Although the classic symptoms of GI upset may alert us to CD and NCGS, both conditions may present with symptoms solely outside of the gut.
Gluten sensitivity and the resulting inflammation it causes has been linked with many autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid dysfuction, type 1 diabetes), Neurological disorders (brain fog, dementia, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, parkinsonsonism), migraines, osteopenia, hives/ rashes,and sugar cravings to name just a few.
We can help you discover if gluten is a problem for you and advise how to avoid it especially where it may not be obvious, such as sauses and cosmetics!
The ‘Free-From’ aisle in Supermarkets is unfortunately full of highly processed, poorly nutritious foods. We can advise you how to embrace a delicious, healthy, nutrient dense, gluten free lifestyle, easily.