While the concept of gluten sensitivity without celiac disease has been recognized since 1980 (Gastroenterol 1980; 79: 801-06), a recent study indicates that gluten may not be the main culprit in inducing these symptoms (Gastroenterol 2013; 145: 320-28; editorial 276-79).
The authors of this double-blind crossover study were the same investigators who popularized the concept of nonceliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) two years ago (Am J Gastroenterol 2011; 106: 508-14). In this current study, they demonstrate that in NCGS patients consuming a low FODMAPs diet (see previous post links below) gluten reintroduction did not cause specific or reproducible symptoms.
Methods: In this study, they enrolled 37 subjects with NCGS who fulfilled Rome III criteria for IBS and improved on a gluten-free diet (GFD). All participants continued their GFD and after a 1-week baseline, started on a low FODMAP diet for a 2-week run in period. Subsequently, patients were randomly assigned to 3 study arms: high gluten (16 g gluten/day), low gluten (2 g gluten & 14 g whey per day) or control (16 g whey/day). Each participant took this diet for 1 week, had a 2-week washout, then crossed over to each arm. In addition, at least 8 months, 22 subjects underwent another brief crossover study (high-gluten, whey only, or control with no additional protein). As part of the study, clinical, serological, and immunologic parameters were monitored during all aspects of the rechallenges.
Results: “Gastrointestinal symptoms consistently and significantly improved during reduced FODMAP intake, but significantly worsened to a similar degree when their diets included gluten or whey protein.” There were no changes in any serological or immunologic parameters between the dietary challenges.
There were several limitations to this study of this highly-selected cohort which are well-described in their discussion.
Bottom-line: Gluten might not be a specific trigger once dietary FODMAPs are reduced.
Related blog posts:
- What to make of FODMAPs | gutsandgrowth
- UVA Links | gutsandgrowth this entry has links to specific nutritional advice for several diets.
- Gluten sensitivity without celiac disease | gutsandgrowth
- Today’s AJC –celiac disease and gluten sensitivity | gutsandgrowth
- Food choices, FODMAPs, and gluten haters | gutsandgrowth