Gluten related disorders (GRDs) include coeliac disease (CD) and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The evidence base shows that GRDs (not just CD) are a serious threat to long-term health and well-being.
GRDs are fundamentally caused by the inability of the body to properly digest gluten (the storage protein in grains), typically driven by imbalances in the bacterial species of the gut in combination with genetic predisposition. Anyone with a GRD should completely eliminate gluten from the diet permanently in order to repair the damage that has been done and regain health and wellbeing.
CD is the autoimmune variant of GRDs where the immune system attacks and destroys the small intestine reducing the ability of the body to absorb nutrients and is connected with over 300 different conditions. CD can be diagnosed using a combination of blood, genetic and physical assessments.
NCGS on the other hand is not an autoimmune disease and is therefore generally viewed as being a much less serious condition. This is simply not true. There is also a ‘new kid on the block’ called Non Coeliac Wheat Sensitivity (NCWS) where gluten is not necessarily the trigger, but instead significant immune system reactions and damage to the intestine are being triggered by other components of wheat.
CD is therefore not the only GRD that should be taken seriously. The results of a large study in 2009 (American Journal of Gastroenterology) that reviewed 351,000 intestinal biopsies clearly showed that there was not only just as much inflammation detected with NCGS as with CD, but also that the increased risk of early mortality was 72% with NCGS compared to 39% with CD! If you then also consider that a recent study in 2015 (Gastroenterology) discovers that blood markers for the detection of systemic autoimmunity are nearly double with NCWS (NCGS is a sub section of this category) compared to CD, you can start to appreciate that both gluten and wheat can have serious implications for those individuals that do not have CD but instead NCGS/NCWS. Further research needs to be conducted in this area, but these findings are very revealing.
So, if you are presenting with any chronic condition that cannot be explained, then please seriously consider getting professional assistance evaluating the potential for the existence of a GRD. Remember that eliminating wheat/gluten before you have had a professional assessment is not advised.