Functional disorders are common, with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) being the commonest and most extensively evaluated functional bowel disorder. It is therefore paramount that effective therapies are available to treat this common condition. Diet appears to play a pivotal role in symptom generation in IBS, with a recent interest in the role of dietary therapies in IBS. Over the last decade, there has been a substantial increase in awareness of the gluten-free diet (GFD), with a recent focus of the role of a GFD in IBS. There appears to be emerging evidence for the use of a GFD in IBS, with studies demonstrating the induction of symptoms following gluten in patients with IBS. However, there are questions with regards to which components of wheat lead to symptom generation, as well as the effect of a GFD on nutritional status, gut microbiota and long-term outcomes. Further studies are required, although the design of dietary studies remain challenging. The implementation of a GFD should be performed by a dietitian with a specialist interest in IBS, which could be achieved via the delivery of group sessions.
Keywords: gluten; irritable bowel syndrome; low FODMAP diet; non-coeliac gluten sensitivity; wheat.