Differences between wheat allergy, celiac and non celiac gluten sensitivity are subtle but worth understanding to better manage symptoms and health outcomes.
The most important thing to understand is the possibly serious health outcomes for celiacs if they eat gluten. As far as we know, the same is not true of wheat allergy or non celiac gluten sensitivity, on the other hand it may be too soon to be sure of this. However, our current understanding of celiac disease is that continued ingestion of gluten can lead to very serious health issues such as diabetes, thyroid problems and bowl cancer, to name just a few.
The symptoms of these three conditions are generally similar, although with celiac disease, any organ in the body could be effected in some way. This is probably not the case with non celiac gluten sensitivity, although this condition is much less studied than celiac disease, and there is still much to learn about celiac disease too.
Symptoms of wheat allergy can be as fast as a few minutes or a few hours. It is also possible to have an anaphylactic reaction; this is not generally considered a symptom of celiac disease. Celiac disease can take a few days or even weeks before symptoms become obvious. Non celaic gluten sensitivity is somewhere in between, hours to days. Since every individual is different, this information can only be considered general, and you may have a different experience.
Non celiac gluten sensitivity is considered the correct diagnosis when both celiac disease and wheat allergy have been ruled out. However, celiac disease is diagnosed by detecting celiac-specific antibodies in the blood and/or by doing an intestine biopsy to look for villus atrophy. Both of these classic markers of celiac can be absent in some celiac patients, so celiac is hard to definitively diagnose.
If you find that you have celiac symptoms, wheat allergy symptoms or gluten allergy symptoms, it is probably safest to assume that your long-term health will be far better if you completely eliminate gluten from your diet; and you will feel much better without the short-term symptoms. Being completely gluten-free is very hard for most people where a wheat-based diet predominates, so ruling out celiac disease is helpful so that you know if you can slide on your diet or not.
What is your experience with wheat allergy, celiac or non celiac gluten sensitivity? Please leave a comment.