Gluten and Lung Disease
Gluten allergy (type 1) is often identified by skin test as
a cause of respiratory allergy, especially asthma.
Occasionally, gluten is the trigger for anaphylaxis with
asthma. May suggested: People with positive skin
reactions to cereals or dairy products complained of chronic
or recurrent rhinitis and bronchitis more often than the
others allergy to cereals and dairy products may often be
underestimated in adult asthmatics especially when positive
reactions to inhalants are also present.
We believe that delayed patterns of gluten allergy are
important and prevalent causes of lung disease. Wraith
stated: "Food allergy is a very important cause of asthma
but is often overlooked. It is important because it may
cause severe symptoms and asthma still has a high mortality
despite improvements in drug therapy. It is overlooked
because the usual skin tests are often negative and the
history is often not helpful as symptoms appear gradually
hours or days after ingestion of the food."
In Wraith's studies, milk, wheat, egg, yeast,
preservatives, colorings, coffee and cheese were the main
foods implicated. Other manifestations of food allergy are
typical in 65% of the asthmatic patients. In children under
15 years, eczema, gastrointestinal symptoms, rhinitis and
nasal polyps, enuresis, and behavior problems were common.
Older patients had more gastrointestinal symptoms, rhinitis,
arthralgias, and migraine headaches.
Pelikan demonstrated delayed asthmatic responses to food
ingestion and suggested: "The role of food allergy in
patients with bronchial complaints is still underestimated
by physicians because of the dearth of information in this
area. The involvement of foods in patients with allergic
disorders is complex and has various forms. The diagnostic
procedures and confirmation of adverse reactions to foods is
In a study of delayed allergy mechanisms, circulating
immune complexes (IgE and IgG) were demonstrated following
challenges with allergenic foods (egg) and correlated with
respiratory symptoms. Complexes peaked at 24 hours after
food ingestion; 12 of the 14 subjects studied had asthma;
associated problems were eczema, rhinitis, arthralgia,
urticaria, and diarrhea. In a review of 320 children and
young adults with atopic dermatitis 55% had asthma.
With food challenges respiratory symptoms occurred in 236
(42%) including nasal symptoms, shortness of breath,
wheezing, and laryngeal edema. Hendrick and Bird
considered the possibility that food allergy could cause
inflammatory alveolitis. The Heiner syndrome serves as
a model of milk-protein induced pneumonitis associated with
hemosiderosis. They suggested a type 3 mechanism and
reviewed the alveolitis reported in celiac disease.
Brightling et al reported: Chronic cough is a
common reason for presentation to a respiratory clinic. In
up to 20% of cases the cause remains unclear after
investigations. We report one such case where there was
bronchoscopic evidence of lymphocytic airway inflammation in
association with newly diagnosed celiac disease. All
features improved markedly on a gluten free diet, suggesting
a causal relationship between celiac disease, cough, and
Palosuo et al reported on patients who
developed exercise-induced anaphylaxis following the
ingestion of wheat. He reported: All patients had
experienced recurrent episodes of generalized urticaria
during exercise, 17 patients in association with collapse
and 15 patients with an anaphylactic reaction. The symptoms
appeared only when the patients had eaten food containing
wheat before exercise. Wheat allergens were detected and IgE
antibodies from pooled patient sera were bound to wheat
proteins in immunoblotting. The 65-kd allergen was a
previously undescribed wheat protein, showing 61% sequence
identity to gamma-gliadin, whereas the 40-kd allergen had
100% identity to alpha-gliadin. In ELISA, all 18 patients
showed elevated IgE levels to the novel gamma-like gliadin,
and 13 of the patients showed elevated IgE levels to
alpha-gliadin. None of the 54 control subjects with wheat
allergy, urticaria, or coeliac disease had IgE antibodies to
the gamma-like gliadin. During the follow-up on a
gluten-free or wheat-free diet, 3 patients experienced
reactions after having unknowingly eaten wheat before
exercise, but all the other patients who were adhering to
the diet remained symptom-free. This study shows that wheat
is a frequent cause of food-dependent, exercise-induced
anaphylaxis and suggests that the major allergen is a
previously undescribed gamma-like gliadin. We recommend a
gluten-free diet for treatment.
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Not all respiratory diseases are caused by airborne pathogens. If asthma,
bronchitis and/or nose sinus congestion is chronic or attacks occur frequently
in all seasons and are not related to airborne exposure, then consider delayed
pattern food allergy as the cause and do diet revision using the Alpha Nutrition
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