A gluten free diet (GFD) is essential in the management of coeliac disease, as well as several studies demonstrating its utility as a dietary therapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The aim of this double-blind placebo-controlled study was to assess the role of a GFD in a healthy population who take a GFD as a lifestyle choice (‘lifestylers’).Methods
Subjects were recruited via an advert, following exclusion criteria including coeliac disease. Following selection, subjects were commenced on a 2 week GFD following evaluation by a dietitian. Participants were then randomised to receive either organic gluten (Group A, Vital Gluten 14 g gluten protein/day) or gluten free flour (Group B) in pre-made bags, over a 2 week period. These were sprinkled on their food twice daily. Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) scores were assessed at baseline (following 2 weeks GFD) and after 2 weeks of randomization. Data was analysed using SPSS version 22.Results
45 subjects were identified with 28 participants recruited into the trial (Group A; n≥14, Group B; n≥14) following exclusion criteria. Median age was 36.5 years (range: 19–63) and 21 (75%) were female. There was no significant difference in baseline demographics between both groups (p≥0.54). Over a 2 week period there was no significant difference in gastrointestinal symptoms or fatigue in either group, as seen in table 1.Conclusion
This study demonstrates that gluten is unlikely to be the culprit agent for gastrointestinal symptoms or fatigue in healthy individuals. A GFD has no evidence base in individuals who do not have coeliac disease or IBS. The public should be discouraged from considering a GFD of their own volition.