Allergy or Celiac Disease?

By definition, an allergy is our body’s negative response to a substance that enters our body, most commonly through food intake or our respiratory system. One of the most common kinds of food allergy is wheat allergy.

Preventing celiac disease

Wheat allergy is often mixed up with celiac disease (also known as “gluten intolerance.”) Celiac disease is caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Celiac disease damages the small intestine, causing long-term digestive problems and difficulty absorbing important nutrients.

Wheat allergy also stems from an immune response. It may include gluten proteins, but it can also be a reaction to other proteins found in wheat. It does not damage the intestine. Rather, it involves the release of histamine into the body that can cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, and headache.

Like celiac, wheat allergy can also cause tiredness and digestive problems. Both celiac and wheat allergy can also cause skin rashes but the rashes tend to be of differing natures. Celiac can cause dermatitis herpetiformis which is itchy and blistering. Wheat allergy does not generally lead to blisters but can cause eczema or hives.


Those that suffer from a wheat allergy should double check the packaging of food when grocery shopping or eating out. Note that wheat can be found in foods you may not suspect including some brands of lunch meat, salad dressing, ice cream, and hot dogs.

Those with celiac must specifically watch out for gluten which includes but is not limited to items that contain wheat. That means foods with barley, rye, and oats should be vetted carefully, too.

For further education, click here to learn about celiac disease or click here to read about wheat allergy. To explore food allergy treatment options through oral allergy drops, contact AllergyEasy.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.