Until somewhat recently many people suffered from symptoms that seemed to be related to wheat or gluten, however they tested negative for celiac disease and a wheat allergy. It looks as though there may be a formal diagnosis for many of these people… finally.
In March 2011 a study was published that verified the existence of a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The study is called: “Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.”
It was published in the journal BMC Medicine.
There are two important points to take from this research:
- This verified the existence of a significant gluten sensitivity not identified or diagnosed by any current celiac disease tests. It does not flatten the villi (at least not to the same degree) and it does not always produce the same antibodies, thus those two common tests will not identify it. Researchers are still trying to identify and isolate a consistent biomarker they can use to better diagnose this non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
- Early estimations are that up to 10% of all populations may have some degree of this gluten sensitivity. This is a drastic increase from previous estimates of the number of people suffering from some form of gluten intolerance, which was previously believed to be about 1%. There is some controversy surrounding different estimates of the NCGS population, and we don’t yet have any hard numbers to confirm or dispute these estimates.
Note: many of us in the gluten intolerance community have confidently referred to Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) for years. I began using the term on my original blog back in 2007.
When you put celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and a wheat allergy together, it is possible that more than one in every ten people have some degree of difficulty consuming gluten. That’s an interesting statistic given that bread is often listed as a “staple” food. At least it has been in the past; however, this could be changing, regardless of whether or not people see the gluten-free phenomenon as just a passing trend.