Here’s the scenario: you think you may be allergic to gluten. Every time you eat it, there’s a digestive storm that’s far from pleasant. So, you explain your symptoms to your doctor who then suggests running a celiac panel through the lab. You ensure that you’re eating a serving of gluten every day for the next month and then get your blood drawn. You make another appointment with your doctor and eagerly anticipate the results of your test.
The readings: all negative. You do not have celiac disease. A wave of relief floods over you.
So, you go back to eating all the gluten filled delights this world has to offer. Yet, that digestive storm continues after every time you eat wheat. What’s going on?
You may not have celiac disease, but you may very well have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Some people experience many of the same symptoms as those with celiac disease, even when their lab tests come back normal. This particular group of the population likely has non-celiac gluten sensitivity or NCGS for short. (1) Common symptoms of NCGS include:
- Brain fog
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
Is there a test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
At the time of this writing, there is only one lab with comprehensive testing to rule out gluten and wheat-related allergies/sensitivities.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat (you can learn more about it here). This particular protein is the celebrity of wheat proteins. Gluten-free is in all the popular press these days. Yet, wheat is composed of many more proteins than just gluten. In addition, after digesting wheat, we are left with wheat peptides which we could also be allergic to. Let’s explore all the aspects of wheat that we could react to:
- Wheat is a commercially grown grain, which is processed and used in cereals, pasta, baked goods, sauces, and beverages. It is also used in pastes and glues and is raised as a fodder crop for livestock. (2)
- Wheat Germ Agglutinin
- The biological function of Wheat Germ Agglutinin is unknown; however, its suggested function is to protect against fungal infection. (3)
- Native + Deamidated Alpha-Gliadin-33-mer
- Gliadin is a simple, alcohol-soluble peptide present in wheat and occurring in various forms. Alpha-Gliadin-33-mer is produced by natural digestion processes. (4)
- Gliadin is a glycoprotein. It is an alcohol-soluble protein present in wheat and occurring in various forms. (5)
- Gliadin is a glycoprotein. It is an alcohol-soluble protein present in wheat and occurring in various forms. Gamma-Gliadins-15-mer are considered to be the most ancient of the gluten family. (6)
- Gliadin is a glycoprotein. It is an alcohol-soluble protein present in wheat and occurring in various forms. (7)
- Glutenin is a wheat protein that together with gliadin produces gluten. Glutenin gives firmness to bread dough during the kneading process by increasing the stability. (8)
- Gluteomorphin, also known as Gliadorphin, is an opioid peptide formed from undigested Gliadin from gluten protein. Prodynorphin (PDYN) is an opioid polypeptide. Endogenous prodynorphin is a building block for endorphins, the neurotransmitters involved in anxiety, stress, deep emotional bonds, learning, and memory. Prodynorphin from wheat can compete with your own body’s prodynorphin at receptor sites. (9)
The celiac panel done by your doctor will only test for your body’s reactivity to the gluten protein. (10) As you now know, your body can react to any of the above wheat proteins, or peptides. Meaning, that even though you may not be celiac, if you notice symptoms when consuming wheat products, you may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Now, I want to hear from you.
How do you feel on a diet free from wheat?
Looking for more? Check out our other blog posts about gluten.
Originally published at Flourish Clinic.