Gluten Sensitivity: Hard to Self-Diagnose

A 2015 study from Italy found that among people attending a gastroenterology clinic complaining of gluten-related symptoms, few actually improved after six months on a gluten-free diet (1).

A total of 392 patients reported gluten-related symptoms upon an appointment at the clinic. Among them, celiac disease was confirmed in 26 and a wheat allergy was confirmed in 2. The remaining 364 were advised to follow–and apparently complied–with a gluten-free diet. After six months, only 27 were symptom-free. The researchers concluded that 86% of people who think they suffer from gluten-related symptoms actually do not.

Thank you, Joseph Gonzales, RD.


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1. Capannolo A, Viscido A, Barkad MA, Valerii G, Ciccone F, Melideo D, Frieri G, Latella G. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity among Patients Perceiving Gluten-Related Symptoms. Digestion. 2015 May 30;92(1):8-13. | link

2 Responses to “Gluten Sensitivity: Hard to Self-Diagnose”

  1. Chris Says:

    From a non-vegan, non-celiac visitor to your site, who had to give up wheat in 1992 due to hypersensitivity (IgG delayed immune response, but not IgE allergy): “not symptom-free” doesn’t mean the wheat or other gluten sources weren’t involved in producing symptoms, it only means that it was the only one of many possible factors which could be at work, possibly synergistically, that was examined/manipulated by the researchers. I’m unable to eat most of the gluten-free products on the market because the eggs, milk and/or soy which are almost always used to replace gluten make me just as, if not more ill, than the wheat does. I was instructed last year by my gastroenterologist to remove from my diet the remaining sources of gluten I was still eating in order to remove it as a possible contributor to the symptoms I experience from other (known) chronic health issues.

    Modern medical research methods are reductionist, and do not deal well with multifactorial issues or questions. It’s something that must constantly be kept in mind when reading studies such as this.

  2. Claire Says:

    I picked up a stomach bug in the Amazon that left me with a lot of food sensitivities, that forced me to abandon vegetarianism (no trouble at all digesting meat!). Wheat does not cause me any digestive problems, however I have recently realized that it causes my acne and also mucus in the throat and a feeling like I’m coming down with a mild cold. This has been a revelation as I’ve had problem skin since I was a teenager which disappears if I am strict with diet but 100% of the time I slip, a few spots will start appearing within a few hours, and the more I eat the worse it is. A friend’s mother is an alternative therapist and this was not surprising to her. When clients come to her with acne, she always recommends cutting wheat as a first step and even calls them “wheat spots”. Many of her clients had improvement cutting wheat. I have a similar but much lesser reaction to dairy and peanuts. Has there been any research into wheat and acne?

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