Wheat is among the most common triggers of food allergy and sensitivity. People suffering from reactions to wheat or its constituent proteins gluten and gliadin often suffer from diarrhea, stomach pain, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. A condition called celiac disease is also characterized by intolerance to gluten and gliadin, found in wheat, rye, barley, oats; similar proteins are also found in buckwheat (a grass seed) and millet. Not all people experiencing reactions to wheat and other gluten/gliadin foods have celiac disease. Patients with celiac disease experience diarrhea, foul-smelling, greasy stools, and weight loss, due to multiple vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. They also have damaged small intestine tissue folds (known as jejunoileal fold pattern reversal) caused by exposure to wheat proteins. The liver is also damaged in celiac disease. A recent report in the Journal of Pediatrics states that one out of every 33 children in the United States may have this disease.
Celiac disease has also been linked to Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus, schizophrenia, thyroid problems, and hives. Women with celiac disease are at a higher risk for experiencing reproductive problems, including infertility, miscarriage, and low-weight-infant births. Celiac disease is also implicated in bone loss and osteoporosis. In one recent study, 86 newly diagnosed celiac disease patients were placed on a gluten-free diet for one year. These patients, including postmenopausal women, showed a significant improvement in bone mineral density and bone metabolism compared to the control group that did not undergo the elimination diet.