Celiac disease/Wheat allergies

My mother-in-law has Celiac Disease, and as a result we used to be concerned that our son could have allergies to wheat as well. He is now 16 months and doesn't seem to have any problems with wheat at this time.

However, my mother-in-law recently told me that anyone with 'O' type blood should not eat wheat! Is there any truth to this, and if so, why should wheat be avoided? I am very concerned, as both my son and I have type 'o' blood. Thank you for any help that you may be able to give us!

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Joanne,

Nowhere in my readings have I ever seen a link between type O blood and celiac disease. That does not mean there isn't one, just that it is not information that is readily available if it is. Perhaps those with the disease have type O blood more often, but you can be sure that if it were the case that all people with type O blood could not eat wheat, it would be a well know fact.

Celiac disease is not an allergy to wheat. It is caused by a non-allergic reaction to gluten, the protein found in wheat, and some other grains like rye and barley. Celiac disease, like allergies can be, are of a genetic origin. The disease is thought to be due to an abnormal or deficient enzyme in the mucosal cell, a defect in immunity, or a defect in the mucosal cell membrane. Gliadin, a component of the protein gluten, causes atrophy of the villi that line the intestine, and causes abnormal growth of the mucosal glands. This can lead to malabsorption of many nutrients. Eating gluten will cause these changes leading to the following symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal pain and distention, weight loss, and other malabsorption syndromes.

The onset of the disease is insidious, unlike an allergic reaction which is more immediate. It begins in early childhood and may be seen when cereals or other sources of gluten are introduced into a baby's diet. It seems like your son has not inherited the disease as indicated by his ability to eat wheat products without a problem. If he should develop chronic diarrhea than you should consult with your pediatrician, letting him know that a close relative has celiac disease. Treatment of basically a gluten-free diet for a lifetime.

Thanks for your interesting question. I will keep my eyes opened for any word on a connection between the blood type O and wheat sensitivities. Also, I would appreciate it if you find out anything, if you would let me know.

Thank you for writing.

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