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Understanding Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity: Beyond Gut Issues

Updated: Jun 30

Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition that has been gaining attention in recent years for its impact beyond just the gut. While the name suggests a sensitivity to gluten without the presence of Celiac disease, often symptoms are experienced else where in the body & without any gut issues, sometimes making it tricky to be diagnosed. The effects of NCGS can ripple through various aspects of one's health, including mental well-being, energy levels, and even autoimmune disorders.

The Not-So-Obvious Symptoms

One of the lesser-known effects of NCGS is its link to mental health issues. Patients often report experiencing brain fog, which can impact concentration and memory. Moreover, feelings of anxiety and depression have been linked to NCGS, highlighting the intricate connection between the gut and the brain. Some authors report patients experiencing hallucinations, crying spells, relevant confusion, ataxia, severe anxiety and paranoid delirium occurring shortly after gluten ingestion, but resolving within a week on a gluten free diet... I have added the link to the paper below. Reports of psychosis among individuals with gluten sensitivity shed light on the profound impact that diet can have on mental well-being.

Individuals with NCGS frequently battle with fatigue that goes beyond mere tiredness. Muscle and joint pain are also commonly reported, adding to the burden that gluten sensitivity places on the body.

Autoimmune Disorders and NCGS

NCGS is often associated with autoimmune disorders, further complicating the body's response to gluten. Conditions such as Hashimoto thyroiditis, dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, eczema and various rheumatologic diseases can be intertwined with gluten sensitivity, requiring a holistic approach to health management. It is common to see a dramatic improvement in autoimmune symptoms once wheat & dairy are removed. In fact it is rare to see a resolution in autoimmunity if it is not removed entirely.

Alternatives to Gluten

Although it may seem easy to swap to the many gluten free options on the market, it is important to remember that many of these are not particularly healthy either. Just because the label says gluten free, does not make a product healthy. Try eating more veggies, salads and protein sources on a plate instead of a sandwich or wrap. Eat legumes or pseudo grains such as buckwheat or quinoa. Eat rice or potato instead. Oats contain a similar protein to gluten but it is not gluten, so if you are not Coeliac, oats may be suitable. Some people still react though, so it is worth chatting with your nutritionist or naturopath about this one....

In conclusion, Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity is a condition that transcends the gut, impacting various aspects of health, from mental well-being to autoimmune disorders.

Remember, your health is a priority, and addressing the nuances of Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity can be a crucial step towards holistic well-being.

Note: For further personalized guidance on NCGS, consult with a qualified nutritionist or naturopath.

Losurdo G, Principi M, Iannone A, Amoruso A, Ierardi E, Di Leo A, Barone M. Extra-intestinal manifestations of non-celiac gluten sensitivity: An expanding paradigm. World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 14;24(14):1521-1530. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i14.1521. PMID: 29662290; PMCID: PMC5897856.

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