Is a Gluten-Free Diet a possible reversal to Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Today we are looking at an interesting new study posted to the National Center for Biotechnology Information on the effects of a gluten-free diet and how it relates to patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The background and aim of the study is to show that “Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) could benefit from a Gluten-Free Diet (GFD).”  While the study is relatively small, it shows that the medical community may be looking to new Gluten-Free dietary trends (such as Paleo or Primal lifestyles and diets) as a means to actually reverse the IBS-D disorder.

Among the results of the study, individuals that were fed a Gluten-Free Diet (GFD) showed a decrease in stool frequency as compared to those whom were fed a Gluten-Containing Diet (GCD).  This was noticeably more evidenced in the HLA-DQ2/8 positive individuals. More than 95% of those with celiac disease test positive for either HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8, however not ALL people that test positive for either HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 develop celiac.  Those that are positive for HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 are typically more gluten sensitive and do show a greater reaction to those who are negative.

While the authors of the study agree that more work needs to be performed to fully understand the effects of a Gluten-Free Diet vs a Gluten-Containing Diet may have on IBS-D, it is very interesting to see the shift from a traditional grain-heavy diet to one that may contain less grains as a means to controlling or perhaps even reversing IBS-D.  While the details are not 100% clear from this one study, it is clear that a gluten-free diet improves IBS-D symptoms, decreases stool frequency, and decreases intestinal permeability. 

When we look at the problems associated with intestinal permeability such as autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and triggers for various cancers, it is clear that a gluten-free diet is one that needs to be explored and considered.  Most interesting to me at least, is the final conclusion statement from the study itself.

CONCLUSIONS: Gluten alters bowel barrier functions in patients with IBS-D, particularly in HLA-DQ2/8-positive patients. These findings reveal a reversible mechanism for the disorder. Clinical trials.govNCT01094041.”

A gluten-free diet is a possible reversal for a disease that affects so many of us.

 

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