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Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity

Cereals (including the gluten and other components) are often blamed for some horrible symptoms – but do you have gluten intolerance? So many Kiwis suffer a range of symptoms that could potentially be caused by eating cereals (or gluten specifically). These include abdominal pain, bloating, and loose stools to lethargy, behavioural changes, headaches, and general muscle and joint aches. With many of these symptoms easing when gluten is removed from your diet, it can be easy to immediately blame them on the gluten and simply remove gluten from your diet. Cereals can contribute to various conditions such as wheat allergy, non-coeliac gluten (or wheat) sensitivity, malabsorption of fermentable sugars (FODMAPs) or irritable bowel syndrome. Some of these problems are related to sugars found within cereals. Some are due to gluten, and others due to reactions to other proteins in cereals.    

Gluten Intolerance

Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity:
Also known as gluten intolerance or wheat intolerance, describes a set of symptoms that people think is caused by gluten or other proteins within wheat cereal.  
Removing gluten:

A measure which seems to help these patients, although the cause and treatment of this condition isn’t well understood.

A gluten free diet:

This shouldn’t be started until all other possible diagnoses have been excluded; results for coeliac disease won’t be correct if you’re already on a gluten free diet.

Is it Gluten Intolerance of Coeliac Disease?

It is important for patients to know if they have coeliac disease rather than non-coeliac gluten sensitivity because the two are managed differently, and have different long term consequences. While both are treated with a gluten-free diet, a person with coeliac disease must avoid even small traces of gluten, whereas someone with NCGS may well be able to tolerate these trace amounts. There is no evidence that ingesting small amounts of gluten causes harm to a patient with NGCS who does not experience symptoms with low-level gluten exposure. This is not the case with coeliac disease, for which there is strong evidence that any exposure to gluten, irrespective of whether it causes symptoms or not, causes damage to the small intestine. This in turn leads to the health consequences discussed elsewhere on this site.  


  • To join the internationally and nationally recognised gluten free product endorsement programme
  • Get instant shelf recognition and provide confidence to gluten free consumers at point of purchase
  • Access favourable gluten free product testing rates 
  • Promote your products to Coeliac NZ members and the wider gluten free community

Getting Diagnosed

There is NO specific gluten intolerance test!

This can make it frustrating for everyone. Instead, you should first be screened for coeliac disease and checked by your GP to exclude other important conditions. This is particularly important for children, where unnecessary food restrictions should be avoided as much as possible.



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About Coeliac New Zealand


Your partner in
healthy living

Coeliac New Zealand is available throughout your journey. As part of our community, you’ll get support, advice, and assistance. We work with health professionals, manufacturers, and researchers to raise awareness of coeliac disease in NZ.

Together, we can reach a day when every person with coeliac disease gets diagnosed quickly, lives a healthy life, and has the prospect of a cure.


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