Wheat-related disorders – Gluten-free diet may do more harm than good.

(September 18 , 2014) Cereals such as wheat have long been considered a fundamental food source, yet growing numbers of people are intolerant to them and the list of wheat-related conditions seems to grow daily. Now, experts are calling for a greater awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that gluten-intolerant patients are diagnosed more swiftly and receive the best possible treatment.

Cereals such as wheat have long been considered a fundamental food source, yet growing numbers of people are intolerant to them and the list of wheat-related conditions seems to grow daily. Now, experts are calling for a greater awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that gluten-intolerant patients are diagnosed more swiftly and receive the best possible treatment. According to a paper, ‘Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases,’ published in this month’s UEG Journal,experts Professor Giovanni Gasbarrini and Dr Francesca Mangiola suggest that people eating a gluten-free diet may also be at risk of developing new food intolerances, due to excessive substitution of alternative carbohydrates and foods containing nickel which may lead to additional health problems. They offer the following practical advice to clinicians on how to differentiate between coeliac disease and other gluten-related disorders to diagnose conditions more effectively and ensure sufferers do not follow a gluten-free diet unnecessarily: ·         Perform a thorough medical history, with particular attention given to the native gut microbiota. ·         Extensively explore the symptoms and assess the presence of any history of allergies. ·         Evaluate the genetic background with great care because it is often important to target or confirm the diagnosis and in some cases, make it unlikely. Gluten: the wheat toxin Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley and rye that is composed of the two proteins, gliaden and glutenin. Researchers believe that gliaden is the gluten component people react to when they have wheat-related disorders. A number of distinct medical conditions are now recognised to be gluten-related including coeliac disease, wheat allergy and the newly-defined condition, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. According to Gasbarrini and Mangiola’s paper, among the problematic disorders related to gluten, around 10% may be wheat allergy, 6% may be non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and only 1% is coeliac disease.1 Commenting on the article, UEG Spokesperson, Professor Antonio Gasbarrini said it is important to raise awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that people are not left undiagnosed and suffering. “Gluten-related disorders, like all food allergies, are extremely disabling and can have a major impact on people’s lives,” he said. “Most of us have heard of coeliac disease, but the other conditions are also very distressing and they are far more common.” “Many clinicians struggle to differentiate between the wheat-related disorders so practical advice like this is always helpful,” adds Prof. Gasbarrini. “Hopefully, as clinicians and patients become more aware of the range of conditions associated with wheat and gluten, the quicker they can be diagnosed, receive the most appropriate treatment and prevent associated health problems.” Reference 1.     Gasbarrini GB, Mangiola F. Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases. United European Gastroenterol J 2014;2(4):254-62. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4114114/. Notes to Editors About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives besides UEG Week, including:    ·        UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion  ·         Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations ·        UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology ·        EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu

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World Digestive Health Day – 29th May 2014

Poor digestive health linked to serious mental health conditions and neurological diseases, including depression and Parkinson’s Disease.

According to scientists, gut microbiota not only play a vital role in normal digestion and protect us against infection, but also affect our behaviour, thoughts and mood.  Furthermore, recent research reveals increasing links between gut microbiota and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety as well as nervous system diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease1 and Alzheimer’s2 As World Digestive Health Day is marked across the globe today, Europe’s largest digestive health body, United European Gastroenterology (UEG), is urging people to be more symptom-aware to ensure early diagnosis and treatment, helping to prevent serious mental and neurological conditions associated with poor gut health. A study examining the link between gut microbiota and Parkinson’s Disease revealed significantly higher (54% v 8%) small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with Parkinson’s Disease than in control patients and that gastrointestinal motility abnormalities were the most likely explanation.1 “We have known for a long time that the brain can send signals to the gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms,” explains Professor Lakatos, digestive disease expert and UEG spokesperson. “We now know that signals can travel in the opposite direction, so it is feasible that an unhealthy gut can adversely affect the state of our mind.” Why the stomach has a ‘mind’ of its own The human intestine contains about 100 trillion micro-organisms – ten times the total number of cells in the entire human body. The activities of these organisms are controlled by what is sometimes referred to as the “little brain”, a network of nerve cells that line the intestine and help to co-ordinate gut function.  Digestive disease experts believe that consuming a healthy diet, including foods that boost ‘good bacteria’ and encourage efficient digestion, may have an especially positive effect on mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. “Although research in this area is still in its early stages, studies suggest that microbiota hold the key to improving the treatment of a wide range of mental and neurological conditions and good gut health is essential for optimal mental and physical wellbeing,” says Prof. Lakatos. References [1] Gabrielli M1, Bonazzi P, Scarpellini E, Bendia E, Lauritano EC, Fasano A, Ceravolo MG, Capecci M, Rita Bentivoglio A, Provinciali L, Tonali PA, Gasbarrini A. Prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2011 Apr;26(5):889-92 [2] Surjyadipta Bhattacharjee, Walter J.Lukiw. Alzheimer’s disease nd the microbiome. Front Cell Neurosci. 2013; 7: 153.  Further reading Bested AC et al. Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: from Metchnikoff to modern advances: part III – convergence toward clinical trials. Gut Pathogens 2013;5:4. Available at: http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/pdf/1757-4749-5-4.pdf Notes to Editors About UEG
United European Gastroenterology is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. Find out more about UEG’s work at www.ueg.eu Available for interview Peter Lakatos, MD, PhD - Associate Professor and Head of Gastroenterology at the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. World Digestive Health Day – 29th May 2014 This year’s theme is “Gut Microbes – Importance in Health and Disease”. Healthy Gut Advice
  • Eat plenty of fibre, including beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruit and
    vegetables, all of which feed good bacteria in our gut.

  • Limit sugar, processed foods, animal fats and animal protein as these provide food for unhealthy microbiota.

  • Limit the use of antibiotics, acid blockers, and anti-inflammatories where possible as these can cause an imbalance in gut flora.

  • Drink plenty of water, avoid fizzy drinks, limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.

  • Cut down on fatty, spicy or acidic foods as these can be hard to digest and irritate the stomach.

  • Boost your ‘friendly bacteria’ every day by taking a probiotic supplement or eating live yoghurt.
Watch our video on gut microbiota - Importance for Health and Disease

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