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Non-celiac related gluten sensitivity can be overlooked

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Keisha Ellis, FNP-C

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is sensitivity to gluten where some people tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease but do not have the same antibodies or intestinal damage as seen in people with celiac disease. Individuals without celiac disease or a wheat allergy can describe the symptoms of bloating, abdominal cramping and other gastrointestinal symptoms as well as other manifestations like brain fog and fatigue when they consume gluten-containing foods. Yes this a real thing.

Many times I recommend patients eliminate certain foods or gluten-containing things in their diet and it has made them better without being too restrictive. I often tell patients to continue avoiding those foods. Treatment is elimination of the offending foods. However, FODMAPS (fermentible oligo-, di-, monosaccharide polyol) diet may also help and there is much information available on this online. A recent study has shown this diet resulted in a decrease of IBS symptoms in 50% of those patients who adhered to it.

There are many potential reasons for gluten sensitivity. The idea that genetic modification of wheat or other foods containing any type of gluten has not been shown to cause this sensitivity. However, it appears gluten may alter our gut microbiome. Changing the diet is the most common way to treat this.

However, just because a patient is eating gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. It is important to pay attention to other things such as sugar, salt and food additives as some food additives contain wheat and gluten. If you are experiencing these symptoms and need assistance, see your healthcare provider.

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Keisha Ellis is a certified family nurse practitioner for Eastern New Mexico Medical Group’s Quick Care. The advice offered in this column is that of the author.