On 1/11/13 I went to Nutrition and Health Live, a fantastic conference with lots of time for networking and a wide range of talks with high calibre speakers. One of my top talks was on Wheat Allergy/Intolerance and here are my take home points:
There are 4 main types of wheat issues:
- Wheat Allergy
- Fermentation Issues (Fodmap)
- Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)
- Coeliac Disease
An actual wheat allergy (where there is an immunological reaction) is rare with only 0.4% of adults and 0.21% children being diagnosed with one.
There are over 100 proteins in wheat, people could be reaction to anyone of them. Wheat also contains gluten, gliadins, amylase inhibitors and is a Fodmap (containing fructans), all of these can cause problems in some people.
If you have a wheat problem you also need to test/cut out: spelt, triticale (a wheat and rye hybrid), Kamut and Freekah (wheat picked early).
Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity:
Sapone, 2012 added this category to the spectrum of gluten related disorders. In 2013 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggested the incidence to be 0.548%, not very high!
Extra symptoms of gluten sensitivity reported by Volta and De Georga include a foggy mi, eczema, headaches, joint/muscle pain, leg/arm numbness. Showing there can be intestinal and non intestinal symptoms.
It is possible that those with NCGS may have latent coeliac disease and be diagnosed with this later on.
There are several reasons why people may suffer with wheat related conditions, IBS being just one of these and there are many things in wheat that people can react to. The important thing is to test it out with an elimination and reintroduction challenge and ensure the diet is well balanced after the removal of wheat.