Gluten and IBD

Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) isn’t fun. IBD causes unpleasant symptoms such as painful bloating, constipation, excess gas, and incontinence. It can be a frustrating journey trying to find the right treatment to manage the condition. However, according to one study, going gluten-free could be the answer.

So, could a gluten-free diet be the key to helping you manage your IBD? Here we’ll look at what the study found and how gluten links to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Understanding the study

The study, published within the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases journal in 2014, showed two out of three people with IBD saw an improvement when switching to gluten-free. More specifically, 65.6% experienced an improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms. Additionally, 38.3% of patients reported a reduction in severe IBD flare-ups. Another benefit identified was a reduction in fatigue.

What is the link between gluten and IBD?

Gluten has long been known to link to issues with the digestive system. The protein is commonly found in foods like pasta, bread, and cakes. Processed foods also contain gluten, as do most of the foods we eat. The trouble is it can cause havoc for the gut.

For those with IBD, issues can arise from gluten if:

  • You have coeliac disease
  • You have underlying allergies or food sensitivity
  • The gut hasn’t adapted to new wheat

Coeliac disease is known as an autoimmune condition. Previous research has found that those who have the condition are nine times more likely to develop IBD. More specifically, those with Crohn’s disease are more likely to have Coeliac disease.
Another theory as to why those with IBD may have gluten sensitivity is the way wheat is grown today. To ensure it is hardier whilst it is growing, it now contains new proteins our guts may not be used to.

Gluten and its link to GI Distress

Gluten has been shown to lead to GI distress in some patients. This leads to unpleasant symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and abdominal distention.

Patients living with IBD experience GI distress when they eat specific foods. Gluten is often prevalent in foods that are known to trigger IBD flare-ups.

If you suffer from IBD, a gluten-free diet could help to relieve some of the nasty symptoms you experience. There have been a lot of studies carried out that show a link between gluten and IBD flare-ups. However, before you make any changes to your diet, it’s worth seeking medical advice to determine if you could be experiencing any underlying health issues.

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