What is wheat allergy?

What is wheat allergy?

Wheat allergy is an immune reaction to one or more of the proteins found in wheat. Symptoms usually occur within seconds or minutes of eating a wheat-containing food. Unlike coeliac disease, wheat allergy is not an autoimmune condition.

There are different forms of wheat allergy. Wheat allergy that affects the lungs (respiratory allergy or ‘Bakers Asthma’) may present with general asthma-type symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and breathing problems. Sufferers may also experience sore/ itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and/or a runny nose.

Wheat allergy that affects the gut (classic food allergy) may present as nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Wheat allergy is a rare condition, thought to affect less than 1% of the population. It can be diagnosed by an NHS allergy clinic using a skin prick test and a blood test, alongside a thorough symptom history. Wheat allergy should be treated by following a wheat-free diet.

If you believe that you may be suffering from wheat allergy it’s important that you don’t remove wheat from your diet until you have been tested for coeliac disease, otherwise your coeliac tests may return a false negative result.