Gluten sensitivity, does it exist?

Gluten sensitivity, does it exist?
Sep 14 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/14/2021 12:01:53 PM IST

 Many people avoid gluten in their diet, but why is gluten an issue? Does gluten sensitivity exist? Gluten sensitivity, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), is a genuine condition that falls under the umbrella term “gluten intolerance.”

Gluten is perhaps one of the most controversial and misunderstood food compounds. Although often seen as a single protein, gluten encompasses a number of proteins called prolamins. Prolamins are present in wheat, rye, barley, and a cross between wheat and rye known as triticale.

These proteins are resistant to complete digestion by digestive enzymes that reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

This is because enzymes that the pancreas, stomach, and brush border of the intestinal tract produce are unable to fully break down proteins that have a high content of proline residue. Incomplete digestion of these proteins allows large units of amino acids called peptides to cross over through the wall of the small intestine.

These fragments cross the intestinal barrier and travel to other parts of the body, where they can trigger an inflammatory immune response in susceptible individuals. Celiac disease is perhaps the most well-known gluten-related medical condition. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, it leads to damage in the small intestine and causes a wide range of symptoms.

Prolonged gluten exposure in people with celiac disease can lead to decreased bone mineral density, significant weight loss, iron deficiency anemia, seizures, etc. Celiac disease is also more common in people who have other autoimmune conditions, including type 1 diabetes.

Experts believe that the condition is due to both genetic and environmental factors. Doctors usually recommend that people with celiac disease follow a strict gluten-free diet.

According to research people with a wheat allergy also have an allergic reaction to proteins present in wheat. Although both celiac disease and wheat allergy are serious conditions, the mechanisms involved in either of them differ.

Some people experience reactions to gluten even though they do not have celiac disease or an allergy to wheat. Experts refer to this type of gluten intolerance as NCGS which is much more common than celiac disease and may impact up to 13% of the population. People with NCGS experience symptoms that include bloating, gas, and diarrhea, as well as symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety and headaches. These symptoms often improve on a gluten-free diet.

Experts believe there is a link between NCGS symptoms and an immune response, although there is still some controversy surrounding the precise cause. If a person has symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, or headaches after consuming gluten, they should consult a doctor about tests for gluten intolerance. 

(Medical News Today)


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