They are somewhat related.
If you take a broader view, it is more common than you might suppose.
There are reasons for understanding the difference between gluten allergy and celiac disease, and we’ll go into them in this article.
The end result is the same though: you must go on a gluten free diet to avoid symptoms.
Specific symptoms, along with the severity of each one, varies from one person to the next. Common complaints are fatigue, brain-fog and stomach upset.
There is no know cause for a gluten allergy, any more than the known cause for any other food allergy.
A gluten allergy could appear early in life, and then disappear as the child grows older, or it could appear later in life, either vanishing some years later, or hanging around for the rest of your life.
If you have a gluten allergy (rather than celiac disease), you can make your own decision as to how severe the symptoms are, and if it is worth avoiding gluten sometimes or always to avoid the symptoms.
Warning: The paragraph above does NOT apply to celiac disease, which is quite different. Read the next section for details.
Gluten Allergy vs. Celiac Disease
Compare this with celiac, which is quite different.
Celiac disease is caused by gluten triggering a genetic disposition. Anyone with celiac disease in their genetic makeup should avoid gluten, even if they do not have symptoms.
More and more, research is showing a whole host of diseases that appear in people with “sub-clinical” celiac disease. In other words, you may not have the classic symptoms of celiac disease, but you may be destroying your health by eating gluten.
This is one of the major differences between gluten allergy and celiac disease.
Gluten Allergy – What To Do About It
If you have a self-diagnosed gluten allergy, the first thing you should do is get tested for celiac disease. A biopsy is not such a good idea, because avoiding gluten heals the guts in celiacs, so a biopsy would give a false negative (indicate there is not celiac disease when if fact there is).
As horrible as it sounds, for best results, you must eat gluten before getting your celiac test.
If your test shows that you have a gluten allergy rather than celiac disease, you have more options.
Your best bet is to go on a complete gluten free diet. This will eliminate symptoms, and make you much healthier. Your gluten allergy may even disappear (but don’t count on it).
Depending on your allergy, you may be OK if you eat some gluten occasionally, or if gluten accidentally slips into your diet. With a gluten allergy, you can decide what your tolerance for gluten is.