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Thyroid UK
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Research: Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Rheumatic Diseases [plus other autoimmune diseases and fibromyalgia]

Hey guys

Came across this in a Spanish journal and don't think it's been posted before. They discussed how prominent and common Non coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) has become since it was first confirmed in 1978 and how it's now considered to be more prevalent than coeliacs and estimated to affect around 5% of the population.

They did a long term study over a number of years in regards to non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) on a larger group of those with fibromyalgia and some smaller case studies on those with spondyloarthritis and other autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, Raynaud's, sicca, sjogrens etc. None of whom tested positive for coeliac under blood test or biopsy.

Within the larger Fibro group, they found 36% had clinical improvement which was defined as one of the following:

- Remission of FM

- Return to work or normal life

- or the discontinuation of treatment with opiods [hmmm!]

There are also scans and xrays illustrating the clearance/improvement of sclerosis and bone marrow edema etc in support of some of the other case studies.

They claim there was a "striking improvement" (one case went from bedridden and immobile to zumba dancing!) and saw a reduction or discontinuation of immunosuppressive therapy despite the associated autoimmune markers remaining - although lowered/removed in some cases.

They concluded that they believed that "gluten sensitivity may play an etiological and pathogenic role that acts as a trigger in some patients with systemic autoimmune diseases". Furthermore, contrary to what is popularly believed about NCGS in regards to it being non-autoimmune in nature, their findings and the fact that it took many months for symptoms to clear up and improve, may suggest it's far more complicated than that.

However, they admitted that diagnosis is still difficult with lack of diagnostic testing but they believe NCGS should be considered in regards to anyone with asthenia (physical weakness/low energy), oral aphthae (mouth ulcers), iron deficiency anaemia, gastrointestinal symptoms or a relative with coeliac disease - as these were common findings in the people they studied.

They also noted "It has recently been reported that 14% of the patients with NCGS have an associated autoimmune disease, mainly autoimmune thyroiditis and psoriasis" - I couldn't access the report they cited though.

I don't know how credible this article is and I know nowt about the journal it's in and their data is clearly lacking but I still like the fact they regard NCGS as simply a matter of fact. Clearly the Spanish have better acceptance of this now with even the Spanish coeliac society mentionednow incorporating coeliac and gluten sensitive in their title.

Plus, they also clearly support the proper treatment of nutritional deficiencies and appear not so supportive of the use of Anti-depressants or other pyschotropic drugs and proton pump inhibitors - YAY lol!!


Celiac disease is an autoimmune systemic disease having among its clinical manifestations frequent symptoms common to rheumatologic diseases such as musculoskeletal pain, asthenia, and cognitive fatigue. It is associated with other autoimmune diseases like Sjögren disease. It is a well-characterized disease with specific diagnostic tests.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is an emerging entity with symptoms similar to celiac disease, but without specific diagnostic tests. The concept of non-celiac gluten sensitivity and its diagnostic problems are reviewed, and the hypothesis of its association with fibromyalgia, spondyloarthritis, and autoimmune conditions is proposed. Clinical observations supporting the hypothesis are described, highlighting the benefit of treating non-celiac gluten sensitivity.


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Great find - thank you 😊 I am not a coeliac but have chosen to be gluten free.


They also noted "It has recently been reported that 14% of the patients with NCGS have an associated autoimmune disease, mainly autoimmune thyroiditis and psoriasis" - I couldn't access the report they cited though.

The report can be found here :

Title : An Italian prospective multicenter survey on patients suspected of having non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Link : bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.c...


Thanks I couldn't access it yesterday for some reason :-)

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Thank you Saggy ~ very interesting, having been diagnosed with Hashis, FM, ME/CFS Rayneuds and Sjogrens, I'm SO glad I'm now GF!! (Thanks to forum). Not sure how I'm going to cope with dairy exclusion though, as that was my next move. The dairy replacements I used to buy years ago when veggie seem to have vanished from the shelves ~ haven't found anything I like so far ~ still searching....

I wish GPs would read more, instead of giving out all these 'descriptive diagnoses' followed by the myriad of incentive driven and useless, even damaging drugs ~ it has set me back years! Without all the excellent help from here, I would STILL be going backwards! Much appreciated. x


Eeek - yes both me and daughter say gluten free is easy - dairy free would be miserable lol! Maybe you could do it in stages and cut out anything high in lactose first - then hard cheese which is basically lactose free would still be on the menu for little while lol?

Definitely agree with you in regards to the useless nasty meds - often do more harm than good! I was prescribed modafinil and supposed to stay on it for good - can be dangerous and nasty. Two weeks later and after reading the possible side effects (skin can fall off), I through them in the bin. Needs to be stopped :-)

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Thanks for the link, Saggy. Very interesting! And I liked the inclusion of all the case histories.


Yes was really lovely to see how they improved rather than just stats!


Thanks for posting this interesting paper Saggyuk . Going Gluten Free certainly helped me dramatically.

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