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Can Corn Trigger Adverse Reactions in Some Celiac Patients?


New research indicates that corn may be a concern for some celiacs.

Celiac.com 12/03/2010 - An interesting finding regarding corn from a research team based in Sweden that studied the effects of both gluten and corn on patients with celiac disease.

The research team included G. Kristjánsson, M. Högman, P. Venge, R. and Hällgren, who are affiliated variously with the Department of Gastroenterology, the Department of Medical Cell Biology, Section of Integrative Physiology, the Laboratory for Inflammation Research, and the Department of Rheumatology at Uppsala University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden.

Specifically, the team sought to better understand the facets of nitric oxide (NO) production induced by rectal gluten challenge and the relationship between nitric oxide production and mucosal granulocyte activation.

The team measured the release of rectal nitric oxide in 13 patients with celiac disease and in 18 control subjects. The team measured levels both before and after rectal wheat gluten challenge.

To collect the gas, the team used a rectal balloon and a newly developed instrument, which allows simultaneous measurements of concentrations of granulocyte mediators in the rectal mucosa. This new technique is called the “mucosal patch technique”.

The technique allowed the team to measure myeloperoxidase (MPO), eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), and histamine.

They found that concentrations of rectal nitric oxide increased in ALL celiac patients after wheat gluten challenge, peaking at 15 hours (average concentrations of 9464 (SEM 2393) parts per billion (ppb), with a range of 250–24982 ppb.

The maximum MPO and ECP increase occurred five hours after challenge. At the fifteen hour mark, the team observed a correlation between mucosal MPO and nitric oxide production.

They then compared their results against measurements taken after corn gluten challenge. Six of the celiac patients showed an increase in nitric oxide production 15 hours after rectal corn gluten challenge, though much smaller than after gluten challenge. The control group showed no increases after either challenge.

The main findings showed that mucosal activation of neutrophils and eosinophils precedes pronounced enhancement of mucosal nitric oxide production after rectal wheat gluten challenge in patients with celiac disease.

The researchers also found that some patients with celiac disease show signs of an inflammatory reaction after rectal corn gluten challenge, shown by increased nitric oxide production and activation of granulocyte markers.

The fact that nearly half of the celiac patients in this small sample showed increases in nitric oxide production after a corn challenge is definitely interesting, and calls out for further study.

Source:

Update by Elaine E. Thompson, Ph.D. submitted 12/03/2010:
In this study the researchers discovered that the cornmeal they tested was contaminated with wheat. Please revise this blog entry to reflect the flaw in the study.

"The manufacturer claimed that their corn product was free from wheat or other cereals. We tested the product at the Swedish National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) and it was found to be contaminated with 82 μg/g (ppm), which is less than the usual allowed amount in a gluten free diet (<200 ppm) according to the Codex Alimentarius Standard for gluten free foods, and far less than what has been found to be a safe amount of gluten contamination when correlated with histology in oral challenge studies. It cannot be excluded that the small amounts of gluten present in the corn preparation induced an inflammatory reaction as the mucosal patch technique is very sensitive. "

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15 Responses:

 
Elaine E. Thompson, Ph.D.
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said this on
03 Dec 2010 9:35:56 AM PST
In this study the researchers discovered that the cornmeal they tested was contaminated with wheat. Please revise this blog entry to reflect the flaw in the study.

"The manufacturer claimed that their corn product was free from wheat or other cereals. We tested the product at the Swedish National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) and it was found to be contaminated with 82 μg/g (ppm), which is less than the usual allowed amount in a gluten free diet (<200 ppm) according to the Codex Alimentarius Standard for gluten free foods, and far less than what has been found to be a safe amount of gluten contamination when correlated with histology in oral challenge studies. It cannot be excluded that the small amounts of gluten present in the corn preparation induced an inflammatory reaction as the mucosal patch technique is very sensitive. "

 
Bob Mencke
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said this on
04 Dec 2010 9:49:33 AM PST
Can we find out if the corn used in the study was GMO?

 
R. J. Herman
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said this on
04 Dec 2010 10:05:49 AM PST
Last year, suspecting I may have a corn allergy, I eliminated it from my diet. When I attempted to add corn back into my diet a couple of months later the reaction was incredibly severe. It was similar to my reaction to gluten; which really baffled me until now when I read this article. Thank you for sharing it. This study certainly warrants further investigation.

 
Yvonne
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said this on
06 Dec 2010 7:00:42 AM PST
I am one of those that react to corn gluten.

 
Esther Schelling
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said this on
07 Dec 2010 5:05:39 PM PST
Yes, Corn is also a no no for me.
Gluten sensitive. Keep up the studies
Thanks

 
Elizabeth Snow
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said this on
07 Dec 2010 6:32:14 PM PST
One factor that was not included was whether or not it was genetically modified corn or not. That is an important factor.

 
Robin
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said this on
23 Dec 2010 4:54:00 AM PST
Just to add to the conversation, my daughter, who was diagnosed with celiac disease this spring, cannot tolerate corn either. She has tried non-GMO popcorn and it did not trouble her at all. So we can only surmise the the GMO corn is the culprit.

 
Jefferson Adams
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said this on
03 Jan 2011 5:01:27 PM PST
@ Elaine: Excellent point. I will include an update. Thank you!

"The manufacturer claimed that their corn product was free from wheat or other cereals. We tested the product at the Swedish National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) and it was found to be contaminated with 82 μg/g (ppm), which is less than the usual allowed amount in a gluten free diet (<200 ppm) according to the Codex Alimentarius Standard for gluten free foods, and far less than what has been found to be a safe amount of gluten contamination when correlated with histology in oral challenge studies. It cannot be excluded that the small amounts of gluten present in the corn preparation induced an inflammatory reaction as the mucosal patch technique is very sensitive. "

 
LaRue
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said this on
18 Jun 2011 6:34:59 PM PST
I have tried some gluten free products that have non organic corn and have had inflammatory reactions. So now I only use Non GMO Organic corn meal, popcorn, etc. and I seem to do okay.

 
Lee Saunders
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said this on
27 Jul 2011 7:01:47 AM PST
I have celiac, am corn sensitive and maintain a GF/corn free diet. Like many my blood tests for CD were negative however my food challenge was positive and my doctor gave me a CD diagnosis based on my reaction to gluten foods. In my discussion with dieticians and scientists there is a non-agreement as to the existence of corn gluten; however you can buy corn gluten in gardening supply stores and the book Omnivors Delimma by Micheal Pollan lists corn gluten as a by product of the GMO corn industry. Based on my response to corn my vote is yes to the existence and detrimental affects of corn (gluten). I have tested but have not noticed a difference in reaction to non-GMO and GMO corn. Since approx 98% of the world's corn is GMO It is extremely difficult for the average person to get real corn in the general food supply. In a recent study it was stated 1/33 children tested positive for CD. Since most processed foods contain GMO corn in the form of additives and or preservatives the presence of corn as a hidden source of Gluten is a major concern. I am convinced this covert presence of corn in processed foods (including GF Foods) is a major contributor to the growing global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancer and other auto-immune disorders and in my work as an ND I remain vigilant for the affects of gluten sensitivity (GS) (including corn) in the well being of all my clients and provide information and mentor-ship for living without these foods. Since many GF foods contain corn it is important to observe those on GF diets who are still consuming corn and still have symptoms of GS that have not completely abated. Thank you all for your informative contributions to this discussion; together we work to inform the world.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
02 Aug 2011 1:14:51 PM PST
Corn gluten does exist--but has always been considered safe for those with celiac disease, although not much research has actually been done on this.

 
Roberto
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said this on
22 Nov 2011 12:04:56 AM PST
Hi, and well done for this great website, is really helpful and makes me feel I am not alone with my problem. I'm 51, live in Italy, the pasta realm, so you can imagine my frustration ... The onset of my intolerance has been very slow, like one big reaction once or twice a year. 5 years ago I started to be regularly sick, and the blood test was showing no signs of the pathology. Excluded gluten and within 5 to 7 days the symptoms regressed almost to normality. Cannot eat corn at all, no popcorn, and not even corn crackers for celiacs, so I guess there is a correlation. Wine is also a problem, as I can only take small quantities, and not on a regular base, like a couple of glasses a week. Keep up the good work.

 
Bethany
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said this on
13 Dec 2011 12:16:57 PM PST
I have celiac and cannot tolerate any kind of gluten. Fresh corn (and other grain) products produce the intestinal response. More processed forms of corn (and other grain) products produce other responses such as dermatitis herpetiformis, acne, anemia, and other responses that are related to nutrient deficiency. All of the studies I have read from scientific research journals seem to imply that ALL forms of gluten can be harmful to those with celiac and gluten sensitivity. I realize that the studies are sparse at this point in time. We are still learning about celiac. But I really think that people need to take ALL grains more seriously and every study I have read supports my views. My body also agrees with me. Remember, if your intestines aren't noticeably reacting it doesn't mean that some other part of your body isn't reacting. You can think I'm crazy if you want, but remember what I've said. It might help you someday.

 
Bethany
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said this on
13 Dec 2011 12:19:13 PM PST
(I probably should have written that the fresher forms produce the intestinal responses IN ME and that the more processed forms produce other responses IN ME. I was not clear on this. Sorry. I do not expect it to be the same with everyone.)

 
Kathy
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said this on
27 May 2013 12:59:47 PM PST
I would like to agree with Bethany, in regard to removing all grains from your diet. As a Nutritional Therapist, I have witnessed reversals of chronic health symptoms when people make a conscious effort to stop eating all grains. There is gluten in corn and many other grains. In studying the anthropology of man and food, chronic diseases began when man began to grow and consume grain. The Paleo and SCD diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) address this public health concern. These are not fad diets. there is science and physiology to reflect its value. I wish you a healing journey with your health.




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