Wheat allergy

Wheat allergies are a food allergy.

As with celiac's disease, wheat allergies are an immune system reaction to wheat proteins. The type of reactions experienced vary. With celiac’s disease, the immune system destroys its own body cells in the presence of gluten. With a wheat allergy however, the immune system overreacts to certain wheat proteins (albumin, globulin, gluten). But it doesn’t attack the body’s cells or destroy the small intestine’s mucous membrane.

Food wheat allergies and baker’s asthma - two different kinds of wheat allergy. 

Doctors know two kinds of wheat allergy. Baker’s asthma is an allergy to flour dust. Many of those who develop baker’s asthma (mostly actual bakers, but also farmers and mill workers too) cannot tolerate the flour dust they inhale in the air. But they don’t really need to pay attention to what they eat: most people with baker’s asthma can eat bread and cereal products without any problems.
Aside from baker’s asthma, some people are allergic to the components of wheat that are ingested with our food. The triggers for this are various protein components such as wheat albumin, globulin and 
gluten.

Symptoms of a wheat allergy include

  • Swelling of the mouth, nose eyes and throat,
  • Scratching or itching of the mouth, nose, eyes and throat,
  • Inflammatory reactions in the skin (rashes, hives),
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Flatulence,
  • Diarrhea.

The symptoms of a general food allergy or a wheat allergy in particular aren’t always clearly defined. Many patients only experience light itching around the mouth and no other symptoms. In extreme cases, even the slightest quantity of allergens can cause severe symptoms. The most serious symptom is an anaphylactic shock. It is very rare, but is possible with any allergy. It can lead to circulatory failures and, in the worst case, death.

Generally, many of the aforementioned symptoms experienced after consuming wheat can indicate celiac's disease. In this case, the only therapy is to pursue a strictly gluten-free diet. However, it only has to be observed when diagnosed by a doctor.

Diagnosing wheat allergies

Only a doctor can prove a patient has a wheat allergy definitively. An allergist will investigate the patient’s medical history thoroughly and carry out blood and skin tests (prick test, IgE-antibody tests). The diagnosis can be finalized with a special diet.

Treating wheat allergies

To treat a wheat allergy, a change of diet is required. When a doctor diagnoses a wheat allergy, the patient needs to avoid wheat and other related cereals such as spelt, green spelt, emmer, einkorn wheat and kamut. The ingredients list on packaged foods is helpful: the presence of wheat as an ingredient must be disclosed and highlighted to the eye. The German Allergy and Asthma Association warns patients that they should replace wheat flour with spelt flour because their allergens are almost identical.

The German Allergy and Asthma Association also warns more generally that gluten-free foods aren’t always suitable for people with wheat allergies. The wheat starch use can contain the allergens in wheat proteins. Because of this, we exclude this from Frusano products. All of Frusano’s gluten-free products are also suitable for people with wheat allergies: