Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity

What you need to know

If you have a family history of celiac disease or have questions about getting tested. Please contact Dr. Heintze at (425) 686-4498 to schedule a medical consultation.

Food allergy formula

What you need to know about Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)

Why is it that people feel better when they stop eating products with gluten?

That is the million-dollar question. Is it gluten itself? Is it the pesticides that are used on wheat products? Does everyone just have leaky gut?

It could be a combination of all three.

What we do know about gluten protein is that it is very pro-inflammatory, it can cross the blood-brain barrier, and our bodies cannot break it down.

How to know the difference:

What about people who test negative for celiac, gluten, and wheat allergy, but feel better after eliminating gluten from their diet?

What do they have?

The syndrome is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity or NCGS, and it finally explains why many people experience improvements in their health when they stop eating gluten. If you have taken a celiac test and food allergy test that both came back negative but you notice that you feel better when you don’t eat products with gluten, you might have NCGS.

People with NCGS present with symptoms similar to IBS and celiac: constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and possibly abdominal pain.

What do the studies show?

New studies show that NCGS may be related to neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and even autism. The link between gluten and schizophrenia has already been found, and the link might explain one of the underlying mechanisms on how it evolves.

Researchers think that the root cause of NCGS development is leaky gut. Consumption of gluten causes alteration of the small intestine barrier, which leads to leaky gut and allows gluten peptides to reach the blood and, ultimately, the central nervous system where they affect receptors in the brain. Remember, gluten peptides have been shown to be one of the few things that can pass the blood-brain barrier (Lionetti, 2015).

Read more on leaky gut in our previous post here.

Right now there is no lab test to confirm NCGS, only dietary elimination. Further research is needed to determine the exact role NCGS plays in IBS and other autoimmune diseases (Balistreri, 2016).

However, putting a name to a widely growing group of people furthers the research and helps our understanding of not only gluten but also the relationship between the gut and other parts of the body.


If you have a family history of celiac disease or have questions about getting tested. Please contact Dr. Heintze at (425) 686-4498 to schedule a medical consultation.

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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