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Research Supports Theory of Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial shows symptoms with limited exposure

FRIDAY, Oct. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with suspected nonceliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), overall symptom severity increases with intake of small amounts of gluten, according to a study published in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Antonio Di Sabatino, M.D., from the University of Pavia in Italy, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to determine the effects of administration of low doses of gluten to subjects with suspected NCGS. Sixty-one adults without celiac disease or a wheat allergy who believed ingestion of foods containing gluten were the cause of their intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms were enrolled. Participants were randomized to receive 4.375 g/day of gluten or control (rice starch) for one week. Participants crossed over to the other group after a one-week gluten-free diet. Fifty-nine patients completed the trial.

The researchers found that, compared with placebo, intake of gluten significantly increased overall symptoms (P = 0.034). When patients received gluten versus placebo they had significantly more severe intestinal symptoms of abdominal bloating and pain (P = 0.040 and 0.047, respectively) and extraintestinal symptoms of foggy mind, depression, and aphthous stomatitis (P = 0.019, 0.020, and 0.025, respectively).

"In a cross-over trial of subjects with suspected NCGS, the severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during one week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo," the authors write.

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