What is gluten allergy?

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People with celiac disease are allergic to gluten, which is wheat protein
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A gluten allergy is an allergy to protein found in wheat and other foods

Youíve heard of it but you donít have the vaguest idea what it is other than that your best friendís sister has it. What is gluten allergy?

When an individual has a food allergy his immune system perceives specific foods as something that is harmful, which prompts cells to release immunoglobulin E, which is an antibody that neutralizes the food or food substance. People with gluten allergies must seek out gluten-free foods.

If you eat that particular food again, the antibodies know it and alert your immune system to produce histamine, which is a chemical, as well as other chemicals, into your bloodstream. This results in symptoms and signs, such as hives, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, dry throat, itching eyes, rashes and even anaphylactic shock.


A person that has celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease, canít tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in barley, rye and wheat. The Mayo Clinic explains that a wheat allergy is not celiac disease. The latter is the result of an allergy to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat. The person is therefore, allergic to gluten. If you have celiac disease and eat gluten, the lining of your small intestines becomes damaged because it gets inflamed.

Gluten is in bread and pasta, and itís in a lot of other food items, including licorice, salad dressings, cold cuts and beer. If a person with celiac disease eats gluten, this can result in weight loss, malnutrition and interference with the absorption of nutrients as well as an upset stomach, belly pain and bloating and diarrhea.

There have been many, many missed or undiagnosed cases of celiac disease, which were mistakenly identified as irritable bowel syndrome. When left undiagnosed and untreated this can cause a delay in the onset of the menstrual period and poor calcium absorption, which can create dental problems and joint problems.  


Gluten sensitivity is somewhat different from celiac disease because it does not result in a damaged intestine. There remains a lot of questions about gluten sensitivity that have yet to be figured out by scientists and researchers, although gluten sensitivity is definitely not a celiac disease or an allergy to wheat. When someone is suffering from gluten sensitivity, he is very likely to complain of headaches and fatigue.


Gluten problems are on the rise, and some doctors think it is due to the very clean environment that children are being raised in. When a child is not adequately exposed to antigens in the environment while their immune systems are in the process of developing the intestines do not learn how to deal properly with antigens, which results in the immune system reacting and responding to gluten with very little tolerance. This is called the hygiene hypothesis. Celiac disease is not common in countries that are far less sanitary than the United States.


If you think you have celiac disease, get tested. However, you must still be eating gluten when you take the test. The test is quite sensitive, but you must be consuming gluten at the time of the test in order for the test to detect the antibodies that show that you have celiac disease.


If you have gluten sensitivity in contrast to celiac disease you may not to have to follow the same strict diet as those with the disease, but you need to improve your diet.


The gluten diet is not easy to follow, and if you donít have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity you should not be on the gluten diet. This is not necessarily a healthy diet if you donít need to be on it. Nutritional deficiencies can occur pursuant to being on a gluten free diet.

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