How to support someone with coeliac disease

Beth gives us some advice on how to support someone with coeliac disease and explains what NCGS is…

Beth from Positive Plate Nutrition discusses how to support someone with coeliac disease and explains what Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity is…

Having a friend or family member that can you support you as a coeliac is a great help. Some ways you can do this is to:

→ Educate yourself about the disease so you can understand what the person is experiencing and why

→ Be a second pair of eyes to check labels and menus

→ Be willing to try new recipes and cook together

→ Alert them to new gluten-free alternatives available at supermarkets or new restaurants and cafes with gluten-free options

→ Be empathetic, understanding and make the person feel less excluded, to support them if they get glutened

Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity

When it’s not coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, could it be NCGS? This is a fairly new phenomenon that’s come to light and affects people who are neither coeliac nor allergic to wheat. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease with a specific set of markers and tests to make a diagnosis.

Testing negative for coeliac disease and still having unexplained symptoms? Particularly implicated here are symptoms not related to the digestive system, for instance:

→ Headaches

→ Brain fog

→ Joint pain/muscle aches

→ Fatigue

→ Behavioural disturbances

→ GI symptoms can still be present and are common

These could all point to NCGS but coeliac disease needs to be excluded before you cut out gluten.

In simple terms, NCGS occurs when you feel better/symptom relief when you avoid eating gluten but feel worse on reintroduction. You do not have coeliac antibodies on a blood test and biopsies have come back clear.

The exact mechanisms of action at play are NOT the same as in coeliac disease (an autoimmune disorder) and are not completely understood, but they are valid and warrant further research. There is currently no test for NCGS, but it is rather a process of excluding coeliac disease, wheat allergy, as well as IBS or any other pathologies that could potentially be at play

Some theories surrounding NCGS include:

→ An immune-mediated hypersensitivity reaction

→ Reactions to FODMAP foods

→ Poor digestibility of gluten

Read more from our health archives, including Do I Have Coeliac Disease? and What To Do If You’ve Been Glutened

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