Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac (Coeliac) Disease

Definition, Prevalence, Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

Gluten sensitivity is suffered by up to 1 in 7 people or 15%

But remember - gluten is just one of more than twenty food toxins and all give delayed reactions.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

What is the difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity?

Definitions and Differences

Celiac Disease is defined as a positive result to a biopsy of the small intestine - damaged villi (structures which assist absorption).

Gluten sensitivity is defined as any sensitivity to Gluten - and includes Celiac Disease. Gluten sensitivity is a broad term which includes all kinds of sensitivity to Gluten. A very small proportion of Gluten intolerant people will test positive for Celiac Disease, and so are called Celiacs (less than 0.5% of the population).

But most Gluten sensitive people return negative or inconclusive results upon Celiac testing. The correct term for these people is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS) and may be as many as ~15% of all people or 1 in 7.



Celiac Disease (CD) was the first type of Gluten sensitivity ever recognised. A special test was designed in the 1940s to observe whether the small intestine was damaged. it is called a biopsy and uses a tiny section of intestinal tissue.

Although Celiac testing is still used in many clinics as a first test for Gluten sensitivity, it only picks up the small percentage of Gluten-sensitive people who are Celiac. It misses the NCGS patients. Consequently this latter group is poorly diagnosed and misses out on discovering the simple and drug-free cure of a Gluten-free Diet for a dramatic recovery.

What is Gluten and which foods have it?

The Gluten Protein

Gluten is a FOOD TOXIN and highly complex protein that occurs in four main grains: Wheat, rye, barley and oats.

Gluten is present in all types of Wheat grain like whole grain wheat, wheat bran, spelt, triticale and others.

This means Gluten is also present in all baked foods that are made from these grains: bread, pies, cake, breakfast cereals, porridge, cookies, pizza and pasta. There are thousands of processed foods which contain Gluten.

Gluten is one of the most complex proteins consumed by man. It is a very large molecule relative to other food molecules and for that reason is difficult for the human digestive system to break down. Problems begin when it reaches the small intestine. In sensitive individuals Gluten actually tears holes in the lining of the gut, creating Leaky Gut Syndrome.

This allows foreign particles (and whatever else is in the gut, including bacteria) into the bloodstream. Of course that sets the body's immune system on 'high alert' - resulting in your symptoms.

Could you be gluten intolerant? Learn more with the Free ebook about Food Toxins


How common are Celiac disease and Gluten Sensitivity?

Prevalence of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

Around 0.5% of the world's population is Celiac. This means ~1 in 200 people.

However new evidence shows Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is around 30 times more prevalent. Up to 15% of people or 1 in 7 are Gluten Sensitive and suffer the same symptoms. These are people who test negative or inconclusive for Coeliac Disease. The most accurate and clinically effective way to identify NCGS is the Elimination Diet – or Journal Method..

All Gluten sensitive people improve dramatically on a Gluten-Free diet. Diagnosis of Gluten sensitivity in elderly patients is disproportionately high - because it is misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed by doctors. The symptoms of both Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Coeliac Disease (CD) become worse with age if left undiagnosed.

Could you have Gluten Sensitivity? Learn more with the Free ebook about Food Toxins


What are the Symptoms of Celiac disease and Gluten Sensitivity?

Symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms for Gluten sensitivity are varied and usually have a delayed onset - up to 2 or 3 days later. This is why they are traditionally difficult for doctors to diagnose. They can be any combination of these:

  • Gastro-intestinal: stomach bloating & pain, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation etc.
  • Neurological: headache, memory loss, behavioural difficulties, depression
  • Immune: poor resistance to infection, mouth ulcers
  • Inflammatory disease: arthritis, colitis, thyroiditis etc.
  • Skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, itching flaky skin
  • General: food cravings, tiredness, chronic fatigue, unwell feeling
  • Infertility, miscarriage or difficulty conceiving
  • 'Failure to thrive' in children - from poor absorption of nutrients


Because the symptoms overlap with many other ailments and other food intolerances, Gluten sensitivity can be missed or misdiagnosed. The medical profession readily acknowledges that Gluten sensitivity is poorly diagnosed.


What are all the types of Clinical Testing for Celiac Disease?

Types of Testing for Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

See video on Types of Testing

Many people turn to blood tests as a first resort, expecting it will be quicker and more accurate. Unfortunately most testing for Gluten sensitivity is not reliable. DNA (stool) testing brings accurate results. Most of these tests are looking for markers of Celiac disease (blood tests and intestinal biopsy).

The prevalence of Celiac Disease is just a tiny fraction of Gluten sensitivity. Celiac Disease (CD) was the first type of Gluten sensitivity for which a diagnostic testing procedure was devised - way back in the 1940s. Although that same type of Celiac testing is still used in many clinics as a first test for Gluten sensitivity, it only picks up the small percentage of Gluten-sensitive people who are Celiac.

This old-fashioned test misses the Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive patients. Therefore this latter group is poorly diagnosed. We recommend a LOW TOXIN DIET 


How did I get Celiac disease or Gluten Sensitivity?

Why are some people Gluten Sensitive?

Gluten sensitivity - both NCGS and Coeliac Disease is 'in the family', or genetically inherited. Indicators are European or Anglo-Celtic ancestry. If you are Gluten intolerant, then up to 10% of the immediate family will also be affected, even if they don't yet have any symptoms. Could this be you?

Comments: Some Gluten sensitivity is identified in children. But for others, it is not until much later in life that Gluten sensitivity is actually suspected. Frequently it is triggered by some 'life event' - like divorce, a death in the family, job loss or serious illness. One indicator can be persistently low iron levels or anaemia.


How are Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity treated?

Treatments for Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

No drugs or therapies are needed to treat Gluten sensitivity. The best treatment is to substitute all Gluten bearing foods in your diet for life . . . a Gluten-free diet.

But gluten is just one thing that could be causing your symptoms. There are more than twenty FOOD TOXINS – and they act in concert to damage cells and provoke the immune system. Therefore we recommend trying a LOW TOXIN DIET (reducing all food toxins) – as this is more likely to address all your ailments. 

Learn more with the Free ebook about Food Toxins


When will I be cured from Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity?

What is the Cure for Gluten Sensitivity?

We don’t view Celiac - or Gluten sensitivity as a ‘disease’. It is when people eat foods they cannot fully digest - foods which are inappropriate for them. So you don't need a cure, just a different diet. Gluten sensitivity is genetic – it’s the way we are. Like having blue eyes, brown skin or freckles.

For your freckles you stay out of the sun. For your Gluten sensitivity, you avoid Gluten. After just a few weeks on a gluten-free diet symptoms diminish or disappear completely. Many Gluten sensitive people report feeling better than they have for years - once on the right diet. There is also a great deal of research evidence that they will be avoiding chronic disease later in life. References.


I think I might be Gluten sensitive: What should I do?

Undiagnosed food intolerance can cause serious long-term health problems like osteoporosis, anaemia and many others.

Learn more with the Free ebook about Food Toxins




All foodintol® information is based on research from peer-reviewed medical journals