Wheat allergy is an allergic reaction in our body to foods containing wheat. It is triggered by eating wheat, and also in some cases, by inhaling wheat flour.
Wheat Allergy Symptoms
If you suffer from wheat allergy your symptoms are likely to appear within minutes to a couple of hours after consuming something with wheat in it and can range from mild to life-threatening. They may include:
- Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
- Swelling, itching, or irritation in the mouth and throat
- Nasal congestion
- Itching & watering of eyes
- Cough, wheezing, tightness in chest with difficulty in breathing (Bakers Asthma)
- Abdominal cramps, nausea, or vomiting
For some people, wheat allergy may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis in addition to the other symptoms. This is a medical emergency. Call your local emergency number (112 for India) if someone shows these symptoms:
- Swelling or tightness of the throat with trouble swallowing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Severe difficulty breathing
- Difficulty talking or loss of voice
- Pale, blue skin color
- Dizziness or fainting
Some people with wheat allergy develop symptoms only if they exercise within a few hours after eating wheat. Exercise-induced changes in your body either trigger an allergic reaction or worsen an immune system response to a wheat protein. The condition usually gets life-threatening unless treated immediately.
Wheat Allergy Causes
Wheat allergy occurs when a person’s immune system recognizes proteins in wheat as foreign and mounts an allergic response. You can develop allergy to any of the four classes of wheat proteins – albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten.
Wheat allergy sometimes is confused with celiac disease, but these conditions differ. Wheat allergy occurs when your body produces antibodies to proteins found in wheat. In celiac disease, only one of the proteins in wheat – gluten, which is found in other grains like spelt (a form of wheat), barley, triticale, rye and oats too, causes a different kind of abnormal immune system reaction.
It is good practice to check the nutritional label of each food before consuming to see if it contains wheat or any other grains that have wheat proteins.
Sources Of Wheat Proteins
While some food sources of wheat proteins are obvious, such as bread, but wheat proteins – gluten in particular – can be found in many prepared foods. Foods that may include wheat proteins are:
- Breads and bread crumbs
- Cakes, muffins and cookies
- Breakfast cereals
- Couscous (crushed wheat)
- Farina (starch)
- Semolina (sooji)
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Soy sauce
- Meat products, such as hot dogs
- Dairy products, such as ice cream
- Natural flavorings
- Gelatinized starch
- Vegetable gum/berries
- Wheat (flour, bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, starch)
- Beer, ale, malted milk
Medication may be necessary to manage the allergic reaction if you accidentally eat wheat.
Wreaths and garlands may also include wheat or wheat products as decorations. Some children’s play doughs also have wheat in them. Other non-food items such as shampoos and conditioners, lotions, and cosmetics may too. You’re not going to eat them, but ask your doctor if you need to avoid touching them.
Wheat Allergy Diagnosis
To find out if you’re allergic to wheat, your doctor will give you a physical examination, ask about your medical history, and do some tests. They may include:
- Skin test. Tiny drops of purified allergen extracts, including extracts for wheat proteins, are pricked onto your skin’s surface (forearm or upper back) to access for signs of an allergic reaction. A red, itchy bump may mean you’re allergic to wheat. Your skin may be itchy and red for a while after the test.
- Blood test. If you can’t have a skin test because of a skin condition or possible interaction with certain medications, your doctor may test your blood for specific allergy-causing antibodies to common allergens, including wheat proteins.
- Food challenge test. You eat food suspected of causing the allergy while a doctor or nurse monitors you for symptoms. You begin with a little bit of the food and slowly increase how much you eat.
Your doctor may also suggest you try the following:
- Food diary. Write down everything you eat and make note of when symptoms develop.
- Elimination diet. You stop eating certain foods, usually those that cause common allergies. Your doctor will explain how to gradually add foods back and note if and when symptoms return.
Your doctor may prescribe you medications:
- Antihistamines may help symptoms of minor wheat allergy. These drugs can be taken if you’ve eaten or been around wheat.
- Epinephrine is an emergency treatment for anaphylaxis. If you’re at risk of having a severe reaction to wheat, you may need to carry two injectable doses of epinephrine (Adrenaclick, EpiPen, others) with you at all times. If you do have this kind of reaction, get medical help right away.
Food Substitutes For Your Wheat Allergy
Avoiding wheat proteins for a while is a good option but that can be a challenge because they’re present in so many things. The first step is to know where you’re likely to find wheat and what you can substitute for it.
Gluten-free isn’t the same as wheat-free
Gluten is only one of the wheat proteins that can cause an allergic reaction. But it’s also present in barley, rye, and oats. Your doctor can let you know if they are safe for you to eat.
Store shelves are packed with numerous products. Dietitians and nutritionists suggest the following wheat-protein-free substitutes in your recipes:
Grains. Substitute wheat, barley, rye or oats with amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, rice or tapioca.
Flour. Many flours contain wheat. But rice flour, potato starch flour, cornflour, or soy flour often work well as substitutes.
Noodles. Choose wheat-free pastas. They can be made from lots of different grains, including quinoa, corn, potato, rice, or beans.
Breadcrumbs. In recipes like casseroles, fried chicken, eggplant parmesan, or meatloaf, substitute shredded parmesan, crumbled wheat-free crackers, or cornmeal.
Thickeners. Bulk up sauces and gravies with cornstarch or rice flour. Pureed tofu can work, too.
Beer. Use apple juice or wine instead.
Homoeopathic Treatment For Wheat allergy
Wheat proteins induce a particular immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated response which leads to various symptoms of wheat allergy. Regardless of what your wheat intolerance reactions are (atopic dermatitis, urticarial, asthma or GI disturbances), they can be treated well with carefully selected homoeopathic medication.
Homoeopathy takes a holistic approach for the treatment of wheat allergy. It takes into account all the signs and symptoms of the patient. These signs and symptoms may or may not be directly related to the immediate problem. Other unrelated unique and individualizing symptoms of the patient often provide a valuable indication for the selection of the right homoeopathic medicine. This is precisely why Homoeopathy is much more effective for the treatment of wheat allergy and for that matter any allergy.
A wide array of homoeopathic remedies are available for wheat allergy. Your intolerance can be handled to a large extent and in many cases entirely with these medications without any side effects.
Few Homoeopathic Remedies for Wheat Allergy
- Bryonia – Very effective for gluten intolerance with increased thirst, severe headache and gastric symptoms.
- Colocynth – Wheat allergy with bloating and crampy pains in the abdomen.
- Natrum Mur – Gluten Intolerance leading to nasal, throat and skin symptoms where patient desires salty foods.
- Pulsatilla – Wheat allergy symptoms with a peculiar absence of thirst.
- Natrum Sulph – Wheat intolerance with bloating, diarrhoea and increased flatulence.
Please consult your Homoeopathic physician for a rapid, gentle and permanent cure for your allergy as you step in the New Year… without any side effects.