A new study just out has concluded that coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity are indeed two separate and distinct conditions with varying immune and intestinal reactions going on.
The study was conducted by a group of researchers attempting to see if there was any difference primarily in the intestinal permeability that characterises coeliac disease. They concluded:
“This study shows that the two gluten-associated disorders, CD and GS, are different clinical entities, and it contributes to the characterization of GS as a condition associated with prevalent gluten-induced activation of innate, rather than adaptive, immune responses in the absence of detectable changes in mucosal barrier function.”
In other words, different immune mechanisms are at play in gluten sensitivity than are seen in CD.
Interesting quotes I picked up from the report include:
“CD, an autoimmune enteropathy, results from an inappropriate T-cell mediated adaptive immune response against ingested gliadin. In the past few years, though, it has become apparent that ‘classic’ CD represents the tip of an iceberg of an overall disease burden. An emerging problem is the clinical characterisation of a group of gluten-reactive patients, accounting for roughly 10% of the general population….
“Differently from CD, though, in GS the adverse reactions that develop while eating gluten are not followed by the appearance of autoantibodies….In itself, the absence of autoantibodies and intestinal lesions does not rule out the intrinsic toxicity of gluten, whose intake, even in non-CD individuals, has been associated with damage to other tissues, organs and systems besides the intestine.”
They conclude that their findings warrant further study and that “the results of the study suggest that CD and GS are disctinct clinical entities caused by different intestinal mucosal responses to gluten.”
Well, there you are. Read the full report for details but in effect it suggests GS is NOT a made-up condition even if your health professional has never heard of it, CD is NOT the only condition associated with gluten and it could be that 10% of the population have it. I look forward to further studies. We know grains affect us, scientists just need to catch up and find out why!