What is gluten allergy and how it is diagnosed

The gluten is a protein found in amorphous seed many cereals, such as wheat, barley, rye or spelled, among others. Gluten is comprised of gliadin and glutenin, and accounts for 80 percent of the wheat protein. It is used in many food products for its thickening power as it is sticky and stringy.

For many people it is a big unknown but for others it is a protein that turns on their power: they cannot include it in their diet because their intake harms them. Usually people who suffer from any health problems are associated with celiac gluten, although a small part of the population is allergic to this protein.

Gluten allergy is not equal with celiac disease

Many people confuse celiac disease or gluten intolerance with allergy to this substance. The body’s reaction is different: in the case of allergies, the immune system produces antibodies against a normally harmless substance but that the body recognizes as harmful.


The gluten allergy is an inappropriate response of the body to a substance that tolerates most people and is mediated by a particular type of immunoglobulin, a substance responsible for defending the body, called IgE. This immunoglobulin recognized as foreign and dangerous to gluten allergy, joins him and through different immunological mechanisms and the involvement of other cells, triggers a rapid and intense reaction in our body in order to prevent aggression.


Gluten allergy is a problem that often arises in childhood as in all food allergies. It usually manifests with the introduction of gluten in the diet that our country is usually about seven to ten months of life, as confirmed by Dr. Luis Angel Echeverria Zudaire, vice president of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Symptoms of gluten allergy

From the ingestion of gluten, until the appearance of the symptoms usually occur between 30 minutes and two hours. Normally appearing skin symptoms are rashes, hives and swelling of the lips and eyelids and gastrointestinal symptoms such as severe pain and nausea. Dr. Echeverria said the signs “are usually skin, and sometimes serious digestive, respiratory. It was diagnosed with the usual methods of study of allergy, i.e. allergy skin tests and specific tests for allergy”.

In other children may see a box very intense vomiting and diarrhea, acute, which may even lead to dehydration and collapse. Another less common manifestation is called anaphylaxis induced by exercise mediated food, according to experts, to happen it is necessary grain intake and subsequent exercise or exertion, which gives rise to the appearance of skin lesions occasionally accompanied breathlessness and fatigue, respiratory distress and can lead to death in extreme cases.


The allergic reaction is rare and rare in adults and occurs almost immediately after ingestion, the clinic can be severe, reaching produce anaphylactic shock with uncontrollable vomiting (uncontrolled), unconsciousness, dehydration and watery diarrhea.


Diagnosing gluten allergy

The diagnosis and management of allergy to gluten should be performed by a specialist in pediatric allergy, through history, as there is a clear relationship between the intake of gluten and the appearance of symptoms. In individuals with gluten allergy tests to confirm the diagnosis are skin tests, called Prick and / or the presence of specific antibodies against IgE class gluten.


In borderline cases are used conduct a stress test that involves taking monitored, preferably in a hospital, the gluten, in small amounts and progressively increasing, in order to trigger the manifestations of allergy.


Dr. Echeverria draws attention to the progress in the development of molecular biology “which is allowing us to get through genetic engineering products that will facilitate the diagnosis of allergic diseases”.

Treatment of gluten allergy

In principle, the treatment is based as in the case of celiac disease, gluten in avoidance as wheat, barley or rye. Dr. Luis Angel Echeverria Zudaire, Vice President of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology, explains that the patient may evolve toward tolerance as with most food allergies, especially in the case of milk allergy and the egg-evolve toward tolerance.

Leave a Reply