There has been so much back and forth in the media and even among researchers in the last few years regarding whether or not those of us without celiac or a identified wheat allergy can actually react to wheat, with some claiming it’s all in our heads.
I would love to believe it was all in my head, or better yet I’d love to find out I’m no longer reacting to wheat. In hopes that it had been long enough and that surely I wouldn’t react to it I did test it a few months ago. I ate half of a piece of bread at a restaurant. The next day I felt like I got run over. The good news is that because I don’t eat wheat anymore when I do ingest some the symptoms aren’t nearly as bad and don’t last nearly as long. But, I do still react to it so I still avoid it. And, because I avoid it my Fibromyalgia symptoms have greatly improved.
So, when I ran across this study it was nice to see that a) researchers are still digging and b) there may be an answer. According to a study published earlier this year in GUT Journal, you don’t have to have ceoliac to have a gut reaction to wheat.
The researchers sought to determine if a biomarker could be found for those of us who react to wheat but who do not have celiac. What they found was that wheat sensitivity in the absence of ceoliac was associated with significantly increased levels of solubable CD14 and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein. Patients also showed antibody reactivity to microbial antigens, indicating systemic immune activation. Additionally, the patients showed elevated levels of fatty acid-binding protein 2, correlating to compromised systemic immune function.
The researchers believed that this compromised immune function and increased antibody response may be the result of ongoing defects to the intestinal epithelial barrier. These defects may also lead to imbalanced microbiota leading to peripheral immune activation.
Basically, they don’t know why it is but it’s obvious that for those of us who do experience non-celiac gluten sensitivity we do have differences in the gut to show for it. There’s a reason we feel this way and it’s not all in our heads. This is just the beginning and more research is needed to help determine the cause, but the important thing to note is that if you are one of those who experience non-celiac wheat sensitivity you aren’t alone and it’s not all in your head.
And really, so what if this study didn’t find any differences, when it comes down to it all that really matters is that for those of us with this sensitivity if we change our diets we feel better. And, that’s enough for me.