Celiac disease is a rare and life-long autoimmune condition triggered by eating foods that contain gluten. Autoimmune responses occur when the body’s immune system mounts an attack on its own tissues. Those diagnosed are genetically predisposed, and have reached a gluten threshold in their diet that stimulated the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine which, over time, could lead to nutrient malabsorption. Symptoms include anemia, skin rash, abdominal bloating, and weight loss. The most effective way to manage celiac disease is to avoid gluten in your diet.
Also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance is when the ingestion of gluten causes the body to have a stress response that does not involve the immune system. This often results in gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea, but does not lead to intestinal tissue damage. Often, people with gluten intolerance do not have sufficient enzymes in their bodies to digest the amount of gluten consumed, and these symptoms can be avoided by supplementing digestive enzymes, or reducing the gluten in your diet below your intolerance level.
Like most allergies, wheat allergy causes the immune system to respond to a food protein it considers dangerous to the body. This immune response is often temporary and does not cause lasting harm to the small intestine, unless it produces anaphylaxis. Those who have wheat allergies can be affected by a number of proteins that are found in wheat, including gluten. Unlike celiac disease, wheat allergies can be outgrown. Symptoms include skin rash, nasal congestion, headache, difficulty breathing, cramps, nausea or vomiting, and can be avoided with a wheat-free diet.