Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
People with gluten sensitivity can have symptoms such as “foggy mind,” depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, chronic fatigue and other symptoms when they consume gluten. Although these are common symptoms of celiac disease, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) do not test positive for celiac disease or for wheat allergy.
Before eliminating gluten from the diet, celiac disease should be ruled out through blood tests and intestinal biopsy. In celiac disease, the small intestine is damaged and malnutrition is often a result. An evaluation for wheat allergy should also be done. Once celiac disease and wheat allergy are ruled out, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is diagnosed by excluding gluten from the diet to see if symptoms improve. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable physician to oversee this entire process.
A gluten-free diet requires the exclusion of:
- including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut
- wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein
- bromated flour, durum flour, enriched flour, farina, graham flour, phosphated flour, plain flour, self-rising flour, semolina, white flour
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
- And the many processed foods which contain gluten
Work with healthcare providers if you suspect a food allergy or intolerance. It’s easy to misdiagnose your symptoms. Be sure that when you eliminate a food from your diet, you replace the missing nutrients with other foods or supplements.