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Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grain products. It is involved in the rising of baked goods. People with celiac disease should not consume gluten, and it may also cause issues for people with other intestinal disorders. There is not much evidence to support the idea that gluten damages healthy intestinal tracts.

Our evidence-based analysis on gluten features 48 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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Summary of Gluten

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

A lot of the research on gluten is done in the context of celiac disease (CD), a genetic autoimmune disease characterized by intestinal damage and an increased immune response as a result of gliadin consumption, a component of gluten. People with CD should avoid gluten to avoid this damage. Untreated CD combined with continued gluten intake is associated with a greater risk of death. People without CD or people with CD that also avoid gluten do not experience this increased risk.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is another big topic for gluten researchers. There is some evidence to suggest people with non-celiac intestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are more likely to experience flatulence, pain, and nausea after consuming gluten than people with healthy intestinal tracts. However, people with NCGS do not experience the same level of damage after eating gluten than people with CD. So, the discomfort of people with NCGS may be better explained by other carbohydrates associated with gluten, rather than autoimmune damage. Researchers examining self-diagnosis of gluten sensitivity suggest that many people with NCGS do not actually display any sensitivity and the symptoms may be the result of discussions related to gluten causing intestinal problems, also known as a 'nocebo' effect.

People with CD should avoid gluten at all costs, while people with other intestinal disorders may experience mild to severe discomfort after gluten consumption, possibly due to wheat's ability to produce gas. There is currently no evidence that gluten causes tissue damage when consumed by people without CD.

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Gluten is not a supplement and does not provide benefits to the body after ingestion. Supplementing gluten is not recommended. People with celiac disease should not consume gluten.

Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Gluten

Gluten-intolerant? There’s a pill for that
Some people are lactose intolerant, but still drink milk thanks to the availability of lactase enzymes. That setup isn't yet possible for those who don't handle gluten well. This study examines the efficacy of a promising enzymatic adjunct to a gluten-free diet.
Does gluten make you fat?
Analyzing a recent study that claimed that eating gluten makes you fat
Can autism be helped by gluten-free, casein-free diets?
Gluten and casein are two food components thought to exacerbate autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms. But when diets free of gluten and casein are analyzed in rigorously controlled trials, no improvements are seen in ASD behavior outcomes.

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Click here to see all 48 references.