Celiac disease (CD) was initially described in the 1st century by a Greek physician, but it didn’t become clear that CD was caused by an autoimmune reaction to gluten until 1950. Since then, the mainstream view of gluten intolerance has been black & white: either you have celiac disease or you’re  tolerant. The truth is, like most things, there are many shades of gray.

It turns out most recent research shows it’s possible to have gluten intolerance without having CD. This is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), and gluten intolerance is more a spectrum of conditions than a single condition.

CD is an autoimmune disease characterized by an inflammatory response to gluten and damage to the tissue in the small intestine. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, lethargy & malnutrition; however, 50% patients diagnosed with CD have no digestive symptoms, but manifest with atypical symptoms, including chronic headaches, dermatitis, joint pain, insomnia, depression.

CD has become dramatically more common over past half century. According to a study that compared blood samples from US Air Force recruits 60 years ago w/ recent samples, CD has increased 400% during that period. Today, CD affects 1% of the US population, but many experts of gluten intolerance believe prevalence is higher. Fewer than 1 in 6 people are aware they have CD & awareness is lower in NCGS.

Researchers have validated that Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is a distinct condition, but one most mainstream physicians fail to recognize. Symptoms are similar to celiac & affect all tissues:

* IBS-like symptoms

* Difficulty concentrating, poor memory

* Headache

* Fatigue

* Joint & muscle pain

* Numbness & tingling in arms/legs

* Depression

* Anemia

There’s a strong connection between NCGS and neurological & psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, autism & depression.

The best way to confirm NCGS is eliminate gluten for 90 days, then reintroduce it. Most people feel considerable relief during elimination, but symptoms return after gluten is re-introduced.

From The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser

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