A Protein By Any Other Name
Gluten or Gliadin? Celiac or Coeliac? What's a gluten anyway?
You may have noticed that gluten seems to go by a bunch of names. One reason for all the terms floating around is that gluten is actually a complex structure made of many different parts. The simplest explanation is that gluten is the name we use for a mixture of proteins. The word gluten itself comes from the Latin word for glue due to its viscoelastic properties.
Gluten vs Gliadin
A type of molecules that make up gluten are called prolamines, a kind of protein that works as a storage unit for a plant. Our bodies have no problems with the prolamines in corn and sorghum, but they do have a problem with the ones in wheat (called gliadin), barley (called hordein), and rye (called secalin). This trio is part of the look very, very similar to an immune system and so they all get labelled as a threat. One of the reasons celiac patients are often warned off oats is because some oats have plant storage proteins that are similar to gliadin as well and cause our immune system to react as well.
Celiac vs. Coeliac
Simply, celiac is used in the US and Coeliac is used in the UK and Europe and they are both pronounced the same way. They come from an attempt to translate an Ancient Greek word, Koiliakos, into English. Since it was first used by the physician Aretaeus around 2000 years ago, one is not really more correct than the other. Medically speaking, the universal term in Celiac.