Gluten Intolerance: Is it for real?

According to Dr. Maria I. Vazquez Roque, gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, there is controversy among experts and in the literature as to whether gluten intolerance exists.
Over the past 10 – 15 years, Celiac Disease (CD), an auto-immune disorder where patients have adverse affects to eating foods with gluten, has become much better known and more easily diagnosed. However, the medical community is now discovering another, and more commonly found disorder–gluten intolerance– in patients who have similar gastrointestinal symptoms, but do not meet the diagnostic criteria for CD.
Celiac disease occurs in patients who are genetically predisposed, and who consume gluten, and is diagnosed with blood work and an intestinal biopsy. There is now increasing evidence for a similar disorder: Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). Although this disorder is poorly understood and difficult to diagnose, the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of CD, and may include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, joint pain, chronic fatigue, and “brain fog.” In patients with NCGS, the symptoms disappear when gluten is removed from the diet.
Another confounding element is that many of the symptoms of Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are very similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a very common gastro- intestinal condition. Both of these conditions are debilitating, diminish a person’s quality of life, and can lead to thousands of dollars of medical testing with no clear answers.
More research is now underway, including studies done through the Mayo Clinic. For more information about Celiac Disease, go to, or for advice on how to treat NCGS, go to


  1. Elizabeth Scala on December 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Very interesting, thank you for the resources. I will share this with my nursing tribe so that they can pass onto their patients. Thank you!

  2. Nicole Vienneau on December 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I personally believe that gluten intolerance is REAL!
    In my Nurse Coaching Groups I do lots of work with discovering food intolerance and gluten- especially wheat- is often a culprit for feeling bloated, fatigued, constipated, irritated, headaches, inflammation etc. These are real symptoms reported by clients, and when gluten is removed for a period of 21 days, the symptoms go away, but when returned- the symptoms come back in full force. Thanks for bringing more attention to this problem many people face.

  3. Annette Isaksen, MSN, BSN, RN,NURSE Coach-Board Certified on December 4, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Diagnosed with Sjorgen’s 4 years ago, the inflammation in gut and fingers is greatly reduced by eliminating wheat, refined sugar and dairy! Veggies, fruits, organic ckn, fresh wild fish and occasional lamb helped loose 30 pounds. Fatique reduced also except when stressed mentally or physically!

  4. Padma Dyvine on December 4, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    There is no doubt in my mind that gluten intolerance is real. I found that when I stopped eating wheat my mental clarity improved. Thanks so much for posting the reference with more details. I will post it on my social media.

    • Karen Radtke on December 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks for your comment Padma! I do know dozens of people who have the same reaction (or worse)!

  5. Cassandra Herbert on December 5, 2017 at 4:47 am

    I believe gluten intolerance is for real. I have found that gluten causing bloating and a sense of heaviness. I feel much lighter and no bloating since being off gluten.
    I have also found significant physical and mental improvements in my clients when they stop eating gluten.

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