Genetics of Wheat Allergy

Bread wheat is the most widely grown crop worldwide. It has a high nutritional value and can be processed into many foods, however, it is an increasingly recognized trigger for immune mediated food allergies.

Reactions can be caused by eating wheat, or in some cases, by inhaling wheat flour. The allergy occurs when your body produces antibodies to the proteins found in wheat. Avoiding wheat is the primary treatment. Children have a higher prevalence of food allergy to wheat compared to adults, especially if wheat was introduced after 6 months of age. The increased prevalence in children compared to adults can be explained by the fact that most people outgrow their allergy by the age of 16 years.4

Signs and symptoms of the allergic reaction occurs within minutes to hours and they include: Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat, hives, nasal congestion, headache, difficulty breathing, cramps, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and anaphylaxis

Some foods that may contain wheat include: Breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, breakfast cereals, pasta, couscous, semolina, crackers, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce, meat products, such as hot dogs, dairy products, such as ice cream, natural flavorings, modified food starch, vegetable gum.

Food allergies come about due to a genetic susceptibility combined with environmental factors. The genetic component of food allergies, is estimated to be 60 to 87%. Genes such as IL-18, HLA-DQA1 and RBFOX1, have been shown to be associated with wheat allergy.

Related to:
Food allergies, IgE mediated reactions, WDEIA