A wheat allergy is a type of food allergy.
Like Celiac Disease, a wheat allergy is a reaction of the immune system to wheat proteins. However, the nature of the reaction is different. In celiac disease, the immune system destroys its own body cells in the presence of gluten. In the case of Wheat Allergy, on the other hand, the immune system overreacts to certain wheat proteins (albumin, globulin, gluten). However, it does not target its own body cells and does not destroy the small intestinal mucous membranes.
Dietary wheat allergy and baker’s asthma - two different types of wheat allergy
Doctors recognize two forms of wheat allergy. Baker's asthma is an allergy to flour dust. Many people who develop bakery asthma (mostly bakers, but also farmers and millers) do not tolerate flour dust that is absorbed through the airways. As far as nutrition is concerned, however, they hardly have to be careful: bread and other cereal products can be consumed by most baker’s asthmatics without any problems.
In addition to baker’s asthma, there is an allergy to wheat constituents that are absorbed with food. This reaction is triggered by different protein components such as wheat albumin, globulin, and gluten.
The symptoms of a Wheat Allergy are:
Swelling of the mouth, nose, eyes and throat
Itching of the mouth, nose, eyes and throat
Inflammatory reactions of the skin (eruptions, hives)
The symptoms of a food allergy in general and a wheat allergy in particular are not always equally pronounced. Some individuals feel only a slight itching in the mouth and have no other symptoms. In the case of a strong allergy, however, the smallest amounts of the allergen are sufficient to cause considerable discomfort. The most serious symptom is an anaphylactic shock. It is very rare, but possible with every allergy. It leads to a circulatory failure and, in the worst case scenario, to death.
In principle, experiencing many of the above-mentioned symptoms after the consumption of wheat may also indicate Celiac Disease. In such cases, the only possible therapy would be a strictly gluten-free diet. However, this should only be observed after a doctor has diagnosed Celiac Disease.
Diagnosing a wheat allergy
Only a physician can provide a definitive diagnosis of a wheat allergy. An allergist will inquire the individual's history in detail and perform skin and blood tests (prick test, IgE antibody examination). With a special diet, the diagnosis can be confirmed.
Therapy for wheat allergies
The therapy for a Wheat Allergy requires an overhaul of the diet. If an allergist has diagnosed you a Wheat Allergy, you must avoid wheat and related cereal varieties such as spelt, green spelt, farro, einkorn wheat, and Khorason wheat (Kamut). When purchasing packaged food, the list of ingredients helps: wheat as an ingredient must be indicated and highlighted. The German Allergy and Asthma Office warns affected people against replacing wheat flour with spelt flour, since the allergens present are nearly identical.
In principle, the German Allergy and Asthma Office also warns that gluten-free foods are not always suitable for those suffering from a Wheat Allergy. The wheat starch used could still contain wheat protein as an allergen. However, we exclude this from Frusano products. All gluten-free Frusano products are also suitable for those with a Wheat Allergy.
Discover our gluten-free products here.