Reference Number: 185
As the gluten-free diet (GFD) gains in popularity with the general public, health practitioners are beginning to question its real health benefits. For those patients with celiac disease (CD), the GFD is considered medical nutrition therapy, as well as the only proven treatment that results in improvements in symptomatology and small bowel histology. Those with wheat allergy also benefit from the GFD, although these patients often do not need to restrict rye, barley, and oats from their diet. Gluten sensitivity is a controversial subject, where patients who have neither CD nor wheat allergy have varying degrees of symptomatic improvement on the GFD. Conditions in this category include dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and neurologic diseases such as gluten-sensitive ataxia and autism. It is important for patients and healthcare practitioners to understand the differences between these conditions, even though they may all respond to a GFD. Patients with CD can experience comorbid nutrition deficiencies and are at higher risk for the development of cancers and other autoimmune conditions. Those with wheat allergy and gluten sen-sitivity are thought not to be at higher risk for these complications. Defining the symptoms and biochemical markers for gluten-sensi-tive conditions is an important area for future investigations, and high-quality, large-scale randomized trials are needed to prove the true benefits of the GFD in this evolving field.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Studies suggest a gluten free diet is indicated for certain medical conditions, including coeliac disease, wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity and IBS, it may also be of benefit to some people with autism. There is no research to suggest a gluten free diet needs to be adopted by people who have none of these conditions.