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Gluten sensitivity

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Increasing attention has been paid food as a cause  of IBS. Food ingestion precipitates or exacerbates symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating in patients with IBS through different hypothesised mechanisms including immune and mast cell activation, mechanoreceptor stimulation and chemosensory activation.

Wheat is one of the most relevant IBS triggers, although which component(s) of this cereal is/are involved remain(s) unknown. Gluten, other wheat proteins, for example, amylase-trypsin inhibitors, and fructans (the latter belonging to fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAPs)), have been identified as possible factors for symptom generation/exacerbation.

This uncertainty on the true culprit(s) opened a scenario of semantic definitions favoured by the discordant results of double-blind placebo-controlled trials, which have generated various terms ranging from non-coeliac gluten sensitivity to the broader one of non-coeliac wheat or wheat protein sensitivity or, even, FODMAP sensitivity.

The role of FODMAPs in eliciting the clinical picture of IBS goes further since these short-chain carbohydrates are found in many other dietary components, including vegetables and fruits.

This knowledge is expected to promote standardisation in dietary strategies (gluten/wheat-free and low FODMAP) as effective measures for the management of IBS symptoms.

modified from (Roberto De Giorgio; Umberto Volta; Peter R Gibson) Gut. 2016;65(1):169-178.

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