As 18 million have a gluten sensitivity that is not related to celiac disease, the supermarket shelves are invaded of gluten free products.
The symptoms include pain, headaches, gastrointestinal distress, and other non-localized body sensations.
The signs are shared by people with gluten sensitivity, which are also very hard to diagnose because there is no test invented for the condition. Therefore, doctors can’t advise a person to renounce bread or pasta.
The good news comes from a study that found a correlation between a weak intestinal barrier that causes an immune response in the body and the gluten sensitivity.
The Columbia University researchers compared two groups of people, one with celiac disease and another with gluten/wheat sensitivity. For six months, all the participants followed a gluten and wheat-free diet.
The results showed a significant difference between the two groups. While the celiac disease can be detected through the presence of cytotoxic T cells, the gluten sensitivity was not marked by any intestinal cellular damage.
However, the researchers discovered in the second group a weakening of the intestinal barrier, which provoked a systemic inflammatory response.
The results may lead to a new diagnosis method for people with gluten sensitivity, and to the discovery of new biomarkers of the condition.
The experts think that, at some point in the future, medication could be made available for people to digest wheat. As opposed to lactose intolerance, in wheat sensitivity, any amount of product can create an immune response.
The pharmaceutical companies have already started to develop drugs addressing the condition, and clinical trials are already on their way.
People with gluten sensitivity were found to have their immune system calmed after the gluten-free diet, and they experienced symptoms withdrawal.
However, a gluten-free diet is not always such a good idea, as other studies have shown that a diet without wheat, rye and barley can prove to be unhealthy for people who do not have the celiac disease.
The authors of the study have demonstrated that gluten sensitivity, even if there is no objective way in which it could be yet diagnosed, it is still a medical condition that has clear symptoms and a clear response in the immune system of the body.
The biological basis of the symptoms, even the scientists did not find the biomarker of the disease, can be a starting point in discovering the factor that triggers the sensitivity. As soon as the biomarkers are found, there might be a change to cure the disease, or at least to find a way to relieve the symptoms and help the body tolerate gluten.
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