Can you get sick from just handling or breathing in gluten? Read to find out.
It’s important to first understand the different conditions:
A wheat allergy (allergic to the protein gliadin in wheat) symptoms happen within 20 minutes of consuming wheat.
Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity: same symptoms as Celiac disease but no genetics/autoimmune reaction.
Celiac disease: genetic condition involving an autoimmune reaction.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis: a form of Celiac Disease that affects the skin which is the biggest organ of our body. It develops due to gluten ingestion and should clear up when gluten is removed.
There is also wheat-allergic atopic dermatitis which is IgE mediated. Studies have shown that in this instance people can react to just touching wheat.
Scientifically the molecule in gluten called a dalton is too big to be absorbed through the skin where it can enter through the gut-blood barrier. The molecular weight of gluten is over 500 daltons…too big to fit through the skin barrier.
However anything you put on your head or body CAN enter through open sores/wounds. It can also run into your mouth and you can swallow it. You can also not wash your hands and eat food…cross contaminating yourself. It can also get stuck under your nails and if you’re a nail biter…
There was a study done with two farmers who handled bags of wheat. Both developed Villous atrophy from the air born flour when the bags of wheat were thrown around. You can read the study here
So at the end of the day, you need to do what makes your comfortable and safe. If you feel you are reacting to anything topically, rather remove it.
Take my FREE masterclass on Cross contamination to learn more.