Celiac.com 06/04/2015 - Some researchers feel that people who self report non-celiac gluten sensitivity (SR-NCGS) and also follow a gluten-free diet might actually fall within the spectrum of irritable bowel (IBS). Interestingly, recent reports suggest that large numbers of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also follow a gluten-free diet.

Photo: CC--Robert HuffstutterA research team recently assessed the relationship between IBD and self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity (SR-NCGS). The team included I.Aziz, F. Branchi, K. Pearson, J. Priest, and D.S. Sanders. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, United Kingdom; and the Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit in the Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation at the Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplant, Università degli Studi di Milano in Milan, Italy.

To screen for SR-NCGS and the use of a GFD, they used a cross-sectional questionnaire in 4 groups: ulcerative colitis (n = 75), Crohn's disease (n = 70), IBS (n = 59), and dyspeptic controls (n = 109). They also looked at diagnostic outcomes for IBD in 200 patients presenting with SR-NCGS.

A total of 25 out of 59 patients with IBS (42.4%), and 40 out of 145 patients (27.6%) with IBD reported SR-NCGS. That number was just 19 of 109 for dyspeptic control subjects (17.4%). As far a gluten-free diet, currently, 11.9% of patients with IBS, and 6.2% of those with IBD are following a gluten-free diet, as compared with just 0.9% for dyspeptic controls; P = 0.02.

For the purposes of of this study, the team made no differences between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. However, 40.9% of Crohn's disease patients with SR-NCGS suffered from stricturing disease, compared with 18.9% for Chrohn's patients without SR-NCGS; (P = 0.046). Crohn's disease patients with SR-NCGS showed higher overall scores on the Crohn's Disease Activity Index (228.1 versus 133.3, P = 0.002) than those without SR-NCGS.

The team analyzed 200 cases presenting with SR-NCGS, and found that 197 of them, or 98.5% were most likely diet-related IBS. However, 3 of the SR-NCGS patients (1.5%) actually had IBD, with all of the associated alarm symptoms, and/or abnormal blood parameters.

The results show that SR-NCGS is not exclusive to IBS, but is also seen in some patients with IBD, which is a more severe, more debilitating condition.

The team is calling for randomized studies to further delineate the nature of this relationship and clarify whether a gluten-free is appropriate for certain IBD patients.


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