Could you be sensitive to wheat & gluten?

Unfortunatley gluten intolerance is more common than most think. One reason for this is usually consumed every day on multiple occassions, so we do not know what it feels like to not have gluten in our system. Gluten is not just in wheat, it’s also rye, spelt, barley, semolina and sometimes oats are contaminated with gluten. I am sorry to say this (because I still remember how I felt when I was told), but gluten more often than not causes systemic inflammation which causes a number of issues throughout the body. From mental health issues like depression and anxiety to IBS and inability to lose weight and more. Read on to see what I have found in the scientific literature.

Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Low iron – anemia
  • Anxiety – this is a really common one!
  • Headaches
  • Low mood – even depression
  • Bloating or gas
  • Brain fog or difficulty concentrating
  • Constipation and / or diarrhea
  • Skin issues such as itchy skin, eczema and acne
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • IBS & IBD
  • Malabsorption causing nutrient deficiencies
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Sore joints

If you don’t feel great after eating a lot of gluten, you are probably not imagining it.  Gluten causes inflammation – not just in the gut but also in the brain and other parts of the body.  Depressed brains are inflamed. Sounds far fetched? I thought so too, so I compiled some quotes from scientific research articles below proving that there is definitely a connection between gluten and health.

What Does the Research Say?

The below is a collection of direct quotes from scientific research articles for those with gluten sensitivity not celiac disease.

  • “An association between many psychiatric and gluten-related disorders has been known for some time… many studies have shown that gluten sensitivity is also associated with major psychiatric disorders…. prime manifestations of gluten sensitivity are often extra-intestinal, such as behavioral changes, bone or joint pain, muscle cramps, leg numbness, weight loss and chronic fatigue” (Porcelli et. al, 2014).
  • Gluten ingestion was associated with higher overall STPI state depression scores compared to placebo [M = 2.03, 95% CI (0.55-3.51), P = 0.010]” (Peters et. al, 2014).
  • “The association between gluten related disorders and psychiatric diseases has been firmly demonstrated. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a syndrome diagnosed in patients responsive to gluten-free diet after ruling out celiac disease and wheat allergy. The pathogenesis of neuro-psychiatric disorders in NCGS is unclear. An association between gluten and schizophrenia was described for the first time in 1950 by Bender et al. In the 1950’s, Dicke noted that gluten-free diet improved mood in celiac patients” (Casella et. al, 2017).
  • “The scientific community agrees that the withdrawal of wheat from the diet can significantly improve symptoms in a subset of IBS patients, who can sometimes be diagnosed as NCGS. The group of IBS patients with gluten sensitivity gathers the vast majority of wheat sensitive patients, since only a minority of NCGS cases do not display a coexistent IBS” (Catassi et. al, 2017).
  • “Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a syndrome diagnosed in patients with symptoms that respond to removal of gluten from the diet, after celiac disease and wheat allergy have been excluded. NCGS has been related to neuro-psychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia and depression. … It has been hypothesized that:(a) a “leaky gut” allows some gluten peptides to cross the intestinal membrane and the blood brain barrier, affecting the endogenous opiate system and neurotransmission; or (b) gluten peptides may set up an innate immune response in the brain similar to that described in the gut mucosa, causing exposure from neuronal cells of a transglutaminase primarily expressed in the brain. … the diagnosis is difficult with many cases remaining undiagnosed” (Lionetti et. al, 2015).
  • “Clinical manifestations in patients with NCGS are characteristically triggered by gluten and are ameliorated or resolved within days to weeks of commencing a gluten-free diet. Emerging scientific literature contains several reports linking gluten sensitivity states with neuropsychiatric manifestations including autism, schizophrenia, and ataxia” (Stephen et. al, 2014).

How Functional Nutrition Can Help

  • Food intolerance testing
  • Microbiome testing
  • Gut detox and cleansing
  • Leaky gut repair
  • Personalised diet plan
  • Correct malabsorption issues
  • Correct gut motility

I remember feeling devastated when I first realised there was a connection between gluten and my health because even though it was causing me issues unbeknownst to me, I craved it, sometimes like crazy. However usually once you know how good you can feel without gluten you will be happy to cut it out. Plus, there are so many gluten free alternatives now days fortunately, although I don’t recommend eating them too frequently. Some people are able to have some long fermented traditional sourdough after fixing and cleaning up the gut.

I would love to help you transition to a gluten free diet and help you heal your gut to reduce your sensitivities, book an appointment today!

I would love to help you transition to a gluten free diet and help you heal your gut to reduce your sensitivities, book an appointment today!


Casella G, Pozzi R, Cigognetti M, et al. Mood disorders and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica. 2017 Mar;63(1):32-37. DOI: 10.23736/s1121-421x.16.02325-4

Catassi C, Alaedini A, Bojarski C, Bonaz B, Bouma G, Carroccio A, Castillejo G, De Magistris L, Dieterich W, Di Liberto D, Elli L, Fasano A, Hadjivassiliou M, Kurien M, Lionetti E, Mulder CJ, Rostami K, Sapone A, Scherf K, Schuppan D, Trott N, Volta U, Zevallos V, Zopf Y, Sanders DS. The Overlapping Area of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Wheat-Sensitive Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): An Update. Nutrients. 2017; 9(11):1268.

Lionetti E, Leonardi S, Franzonello C, Mancardi M, Ruggieri M, Catassi C. Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity. Nutrients. 2015; 7(7):5532-5539.

Peters, S. L., Biesiekierski, J. R., Yelland, G. W., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2014). Randomised clinical trial: gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – an exploratory clinical study. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics39(10), 1104–1112.

Porcelli, B., Verdino, V., Bossini, L. et al. Celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a review on the association with schizophrenia and mood disorders. Autoimmun Highlights 5, 55–61 (2014).

Stephen J. Genuis, Rebecca A. Lobo, Gluten Sensitivity Presenting as a Neuropsychiatric Disorder“, Gastroenterology Research and Practice, vol. 2014, Article ID 293206, 6 pages, 2014.


By nutritionist Chrissy