People who are allergic to wheat have an IgE mediated reaction. This is what’s known as a “true allergy.” These reactions are usually more like hay fever – runny nose, itchy eyes, tight throat, hives, eczema, and can even include anaphylaxis. True allergies can produce GI issues, too.
These are the kinds of allergies that allergists test for with skin pricks or patch tests and RAST tests. Most allergists do not test for IgE reactions to food. We made the mistake of thinking that by visiting an allergist and getting skin pricks done, our son had been checked out for all common allergens. If you suspect food could be behind your “seasonal” allergies, make sure to tell your allergist!
People with a true allergy to it need to avoid wheat, but may not need to avoid all gluten-containing grains or other foods containing gluten. Unlike celiac disease, sometimes people outgrow IgE allergies or don’t react as much when their system is not already inflamed. If you think you might have outgrown a food allergy, be very cautious when reintroducing the food! Only do so with your doctor’s help, just in case you have an extreme reaction!
Gluten Intolerance and Sensitivity
Instead of getting celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis, you may see other diseases flare up when you have gluten. Arthritis, MS, thyroid conditions, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and neurological problems such as ataxia, neuropathy, anemia, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression have all been correlated with gluten intolerance in some people.
Other common symptoms include brain fog, vertigo, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, pain, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, the list goes on.
Many of the symptoms people get from gluten are thought to be caused by intestinal permeability. The root cause of the permeability varies from person to person. SIBO, parasites, and certain autoimmune diseases can be some of the potential causes. However, a gluten intolerance can also be the root cause of this problem. When the space between the cells lining the gut increases, food molecules, bacteria, and toxins make it through. When this happens, you’ve got a “leaky gut.”
When gluten is only partially digested, gliadorphin (aka gluteomorphin) results. It is an opioid peptide. When it escapes a leaky gut it makes it across the blood-brain barrier. Opioids are highly addictive, which is why so many people suffer withdrawal symptoms when cutting out gluten.
Another effect of a leaky gut is that the body creates IgG antibodies to the proteins that enter the bloodstream. ELISA testing looks for these antibodies. It’s important to note that IgG antibodies don’t necessarily mean you are seriously allergic to a food. They mean that the food is getting out of the gut and your body is attacking it. This is why so many people score high for IgG antibodies to all their favorite foods, and respond well to rotation diets. Healing the gut will often resolve these kinds of food intolerances.
If you suspect leaky gut, you will want to sort out what the underlying causes are with the help of your doctor, so that you can actually heal!