August 14, 2016
Is non-celiac wheat sensitivity real? Patients often present with a variety of symptoms to wheat and self-diagnose themselves with “wheat sensitivity,” but when labs and endoscopic tests come back negative for celiac disease, they are left wondering what it is they do have or if it was all in their heads. A team of researchers at Columbia University recently published a study in the journal Gut confirming that wheat intake triggers a systemic immune response and intestinal cell damage in people who have symptoms from eating wheat. But it wasn’t the same kind of damage seen in patients with celiac disease, and it’s not yet clear that gluten itself is the actual culprit. People with wheat sensitivity can have gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating, but they can also have extra-intestinal symptoms like fatigue, anxiety or neurological symptoms. For people who have bad reactions after eating wheat, it’s not all in their heads. More research is needed to tell us what the long-term impacts of living with this disease are, especially if it is undiagnosed. Read the full study here.