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Allergic to Gluten but not Wheat?

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Hi all, I'm new to this forum, and am trying to find out answers. My normal Google researching is not going well. :)

I was tested in May of this year for food allergies. My naturopath used the IgG Vegetarian food panel from US BioTek. She went over the results with me at the time, it shows gluten as a 3 (which is "moderate" on this test, I don't know the actual numbers). The dr told me then that she normally doesn't worry about an allergy, unless the test is showing well into a 3, and I'm just barely into that range.

I started eating gluten-free at that point, cutting all gluten containing ingredients, including wheat, rye, pasta, etc. However, I really haven't felt that different and it's been extremely hard. I finally pulled out the results and realized that the ONLY thing I'm truly allergic to according to this test is gluten itself. All other grains, including: gliadin, barley, buckwheat, corn, rices, rye and whole wheat are all in the normal range. I'm trying to figure out what exactly gluten is in. If I buy a whole wheat flour and make my own baked goods without adding gluten, for example, can that be considered "gluten free"? I guess I'm struggling to understand how I can be allergic to gluten, but not wheat gliadian or whole wheat, as I didn't realize you could have one without the other.

I should also say that I have an endoscopy scheduled in a few weeks, so have re-introduced breads and haven't felt any different. I don't know if this is because I'm really low on the allergen scale, or if I'm still not even eating what I'm "allergic" to? I seem to have all the symptoms of IBS, honestly.

Help! Thanks!!


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hey vicki

IgG and igG4 testing is not accurate for food intolerances. the high results indicate the foods people have been eating most frequently it is then wrongly interpreted as meaning they represent food intolerances. its possible that you could coincidently be intolerant to those positive foods or you may have no problem with them but i wouldn't change your diet based on those test results alone.

some more info about IgG food intolerance testing and why doctors don't use them.


http://www.eaaci.org/attachments/877_EAACI Task Force Report.pdf

 i don't think its possible to be allergic to gluten, only the individual foods wheat, rye etc. if you believe you may have a food allergy, you can get either a skin prick test or an igE blood test for foods which contain gluten.

you could also ask your GI for blood tests for celiac disease which like the endoscopy you also need to be eating gluten for.

i'm also pretty certain you can't buy wheat flour without gluten in it. since its the protein which is naturally part of those foods not something added afterwards

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Hi Vicki,

Emma has it right.  I suggest you find a real doctor and get standard celiac disease testing done.  The usual screening test is the ttg IgA.  That test doesn't catch all people though so the full celiac disease panel is a better choice.

You should not go gluten-free before all testing complete though.  The testing depends on the antibodies being active in the bloodstream,  You won't get accurate results if you haven't been eating gluten.
If you have been off gluten for more than 2 weeks you should start eating it again before testing.  Eating 1.2 slice of bread for 2 weeks before and endoscopy and 12 weeks before a blood test is the recommended plan by the University of Chicago Celiac Center.

Celiac disease is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disease.  The celiac reactions by the immune system are IgA or IgG type immune cells, not IgE cells.  So the testing for celiac is different from allergy testing.

Something that is confusing to many people is the term gluten.  Gluten is used as a generic term to describe a protein and carbohydrate molecule that is used as energy storage in all grain type plants.  But when we talk about gluten in celiac disease we are only referring to the proteins in wheat, rye, and barley.  So it is really a subset of the grains, not all grains that affects people with celiac disease.

Welcome to the forum Vicki! :)

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  Being " allergic" to " gluten" doesn't mean much. Like gluten-free said, it's a term for many different proteins, many not at all similar.  A bit like telling you you are allergic to "meat".   Very meat?  Beef?  Fish? Chicken?


I am am glad you are seeing a doctor.   He or she will not care much about those other " tests".  Keep eating gluten like the previous posters have said and make sure to discuss with the MD about having several samples taken and looked at for Celiac.  Ask for the Celiac blood test, too.  

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