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Gluten Intolerance Defined

Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. If a person has a gluten intolerance, this protein can cause digestive problems such as gassiness, abdominal pain or diarrhea.

Gluten intolerance is sometimes confused with Celiac disease, or thought of as a food allergy. While avoiding particular foods is a treatment strategy for all three, these are not the same conditions.

Food intolerances such as gluten involve the digestive system. With a food allergy, the immune system overreacts to a particular food causing symptoms that are potentially serious or even live threatening. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine.

Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, and Food Allergy: How are they different?