Trace amounts of gluten may be responsible for ongoing symptoms in celiacs following a gluten-free diet, study suggests

In an article published recently online in the BMC Gastroenterology journal (dated 2.28.13), a study was conducted by researchers to determine if small amounts of gluten contamination could cause symptoms in celiac patients who have been adhering to a strict gluten-free diet.

As noted in the study abstract, “The researchers reviewed the records of all GFD (gluten-free diet)-adherent NRCD (non-responsive celiac disease)¬†patients cared for in our celiac center from 2005-2011 who were documented to have started the GCED (Gluten Contamination Elimination Diet). Response to the GCED was defined as being asymptomatic after the diet, with normal villous architecture on repeat biopsy, if performed.”

Results of the study showed that patients who were put on a 3-6 month diet of whole, unprocessed foods and avoidance of some grains (the GCED diet), showed an improvement in symptoms. Some patients once classified as having Refractory Celiac Disease (RCD), were now asymptomatic.  11 patients who responded to the GCED diet, were able to return to a regular gluten-free diet (allowing gluten-free processed foods), without onset of symptoms. For more study details click here.

The researchers concluded that theGluten Contamination Elimination Diet” may be an option for patients who are adhering to a gluten-free diet, but still suffering with symptoms.

Though many celiacs feel better once living a gluten-free lifestyle, this study certainly validates the point that some may still be “glutened” by their processed gluten-free foods, which may contain trace (lower than 20 ppm) amounts of gluten. If you are still experiencing symptoms, you may want to try the GCED to see how you feel.

Are you still experiencing symptoms even though you are eating only gluten-free foods (including processed/packaged foods)?
Have you given up processed, gluten-free foods, and has it made a difference in the way you feel?


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On March 4th, 2013, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by

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