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Gluten intolerance and the disease associated with it!

Sensitivity to gluten or NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) is a natural condition that falls under gluten intolerance. Gluten is one of the most misunderstood and controversial food compounds. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. The latter is responsible for the harmful effects of gluten.

These proteins are resistant to complete digestion by digestive enzymes that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. This is because the enzymes that the stomach, pancreas, and brush border of the intestinal tract produce cannot fully break down the proteins with a high proline residue content. Incomplete digestion of these proteins allows large units of amino acids o cross over through the small intestine wall. These fragments travel to other parts of the body by crossing the intestinal barrier. In some people, gluten can trigger adverse autoimmune, immunological, inflammatory reactions.

Grain with gluten is used as an ingredient for preparing many prepared and commercial foods. In thousands of products, wheat flour is found. It is used for bakery products, mainly bread making. Gluten can be used for making the batter, pasta, processed meat, soya sauce, beer, ice cream, ketchup, etc.

Gluten related diseases –

Celiac disease –

  • It is a well-known gluten-related condition.
  • It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system reacting to gluten proteins.
  • When gluten is eaten by a person suffering from this disease, then the small intestine gets damaged. Many symptoms can be seen like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, pale, foul-smelling stool, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, anemia, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety, headaches, joint pain, canker sores inside the mouth, infertility, or frequent miscarriage, missed menstrual period, tingling in the hands and feet.
  • Prolong exposure to gluten for people affected with this disease can lead to decreased bone mineral density, iron deficiency anemia, weight loss, muscles weakness, seizures.
  • According to health experts in the US, 1-2% of people are affected by this disease, and most females are affected.
  • Health experts say the condition is due to both genetic and environmental factors.
  • In adults recognizing this disease can be difficult because it has broad symptoms. With many other chronic conditions, they overlap.
  • There are commonly two tests for this disease, like a blood test and biopsy of the small intestine.

Wheat allergy –

  • People with a wheat allergy have an allergic reaction to proteins present in wheat, as per research. This type of allergy is more common in children.
  • Many symptoms can be seen in this allergy-like nausea and vomiting, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, eye irritation, irritation of throat and mouth, nasal congestion, hives, and rash. Within minutes after eating wheat, the symptoms start and can range from mild to life-threatening.
  • It can be immunoglobulin E mediated. In the wheat, IgE antibodies which are wheat-specific, bind and cause the release of the inflammatory compounds. The immune response caused by this is immediate and can be life-threatening.
  • Someone allergic to wheat may or may not be allergic to other grains such as barley or rye.


  • Some people experience reactions to gluten, but they do not have wheat allergy nor celiac disease. This type of gluten intolerance expert called it NCGS.
  • This is more common than celiac disease found in the 2019 review and can impact 13% of the population.
  • The symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and improvement by taking a gluten-free diet.
  • Lots of research needs to be done to have more clarity.
  • No laboratory test exists for NCGS.

Gluten ataxia –

  • It is an autoimmune disease triggered by the ingestion of gluten.
  • In the cerebellum with gluten ataxia, damage occurs, which is the balance center for the brain.
  • People with this disease have gait abnormality or incoordination and tremor of the upper limbs.
  • Ataxia can be improved, and its progression can be stopped with early diagnosis and treatment with a gluten-free diet.

Other neurological disease includes –

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Headache
  • Encephalopathy
  • Vascular dementia
  • Movement disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome –

  • It is a common digestive disorder.
  • Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both.
  • It is a chronic condition. Symptoms can be managed with diet, lifestyle changes, and stress management techniques.


  • They are short-chained carbs found in many foods.
  • Many people cannot digest this, which can cause various digestive symptoms.

Gluten-free diet –

A gluten-free diet means avoiding foods that contain the protein gluten. 

The food included in a gluten-free diet is –

  • Eggs – All eggs are gluten-free.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – All fruits and vegetables are gluten-free.
  • Starches and Flours – corn, corn flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour, potatoes, potato flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, tapioca flour.
  • Nuts and Seeds – All nuts and seeds are gluten-free.
  • Herbs and Spices – All herbs and spices are gluten-free.
  • Meat and Fish – All meat and fish are gluten-free.
  • Dairy – Plain dairy product is gluten-free. A flavored one might have gluten, so check before use.
  • Grains – Buckwheat, tapioca, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, teff, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, corn.
  • Spreads and Oils – All vegetable oils and butter are gluten-free.
  • Beverages – Except for beer, all beverages are gluten-free.

Foods to be avoided –

  • Wheat-based
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Barley
  • Triticale

Some of the food in which added gluten is there –

  • All wheat bread and pasta.
  • Cereals unless labeled gluten-free.
  • Cakes, muffins, bread crumbs, pastries, cookies, pizza.
  • Candy, pre-packaged convenience foods, popcorn, pretzels, muesli bars, crackers, roasted nuts, flavored chips.
  • Soy sauce, hoisin sauce, salad dressings, teriyaki sauce, marinades.
  • Beer

Positive and negative health benefits of a gluten-free diet –

Positive –

  • It helps to treat digestive problems. These include bloating, diarrhea or constipation, gas, fatigue, etc.
  • Those with celiac disease reduces chronic inflammation.
  • Gluten-free diet help to increase energy in people who have celiac disease. They will not feel tired and sluggish.
  • Gluten-free diet help to lose weight.

Negative –

  • People who follow a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease have the risk of many nutrients deficiencies. These include deficiencies in calcium, vitamin B12, fiber, iron, vitamins A, D, E, and K, folate, zinc, etc.
  • Constipation is a common side-effect of a gluten-free diet because it eliminates the fiber required for healthy bowel movements.
  • Gluten-free diets are costly on the pocket. They are two and a half times more expensive than regular food, as per research.

Conclusion –

Most people can eat gluten without any adverse effects. However, people who are gluten sensitivity need to avoid it as it can cause a negative impact. The disease associated with gluten diet the symptoms have many similarities in their causes and symptoms. People need to understand which condition they have to avoid the food-related to the state and take proper treatment. For a gluten-free diet, a person must read the label of the food packet before buying.

In the US, gluten is not listed on labels unless added as a standalone ingredient. The FDA has classified gluten as “generally referred as safe.” From August 2014, FDA allowed using the world gluten-free labels in the food packet. Gluten-free labels mean the amount of gluten contained in the food is below 20 parts per million.












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