A gluten allergy is not the same as a wheat allergy, although there is some overlap between the two. The main difference between these two allergies is that those who are allergic to gluten cannot consume products containing the protein glutenin, whereas those who are allergic to wheat must abstain from wheat products alone.
Gluten is one of several proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. It is elastic in nature, has a chewy consistency, and is the substance that holds bread dough and other baked goods together. Scientists still don’t understand why some individuals’ bodies attack the glutenin protein by producing gluten-specific IgE antibodies. However, gluten intolerance is relatively common in both children and adults. A person with a gluten allergy or intolerance may suffer from a variety of potential symptoms, which can be more or less severe, and may include fatigue, mouth sores, tightness in children, weight loss, constipation, and flatulence among others. People with gluten intolerance are advised to limit or abstain from gluten consumption, by eliminating all gluten-containing products (including wheat) from their diet.
People with wheat allergies suffer from adverse reactions to one or more of the proteins found specifically in wheat. Allergy to wheat, which is most often caused by a reaction to albumin and globulin proteins, can occur in any individual and does not depend on heredity. An allergic reaction to wheat can be caused by ingesting or inhaling wheat products, resulting in a number of symptoms, including hives, eczema, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, asthma, and more. In more extreme cases it can also lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Diagnosing a wheat allergy can be difficult because wheat is often eaten with other products. However, once the diagnosis is made, the only effective treatment is to avoid all products containing wheat and barley.