4 years ago

Gluten sensitivities and the allergist: Threshing the grain from the husks

J. G. Burkhardt, A. Chapa-Rodriguez, S. L. Bahna
“Gluten sensitivity” has become commonplace among the public. Wheat allergy (WA) and celiac disease (CD) are well-defined entities, but are becoming a fraction of individuals following a gluten-free diet. WA has a prevalence of <0.5%. Wheat, specifically its omega-5 gliadin fraction, is the most common allergen implicated in food-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis. CD is a non-IgE hypersensitivity to certain cereal proteins: gluten in wheat, secalin in rye, hordein in barley, and to a lesser extent avenin in oat. It is a rare disease, with an estimated prevalence that varied widely geographically, being higher in Northern Europe and the African Saharawi region than in Southeast Asia. In addition to suggestive symptoms, serologic testing has high diagnostic reliability and biopsy is a confirmatory procedure. CD patients have extra-intestinal autoimmune comorbid conditions more frequently than expected. A third entity is non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which has been created because of the increasing number of subjects who claim a better quality of life or improvement of their variety of symptoms on switching to a gluten-free diet. The phenomenon is being fueled by the media and exploited by the industry. The lack of a specific objective test has been raising substantial controversy about this entity. Allergists and gastroenterologists need to pay attention to the multitudes of individuals who elect to follow a gluten-free diet. Many such subjects might have WA, CD, or another illness. Providing them with appropriate evaluation and specific management would be of great advantages, medically and economically. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/all.13354

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