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Is Triticum Monococcum (Einkorn) a Safe Wheat for those with Celiac Disease?

Celiac.com 10/30/2006 - Triticum monococcum wheat is also known as Einkorn wheat and small spelt, but do not confuse it with common spelt which is not the same thing. Einkorn is the oldest and most primitive cultivated wheat, and recent studies have shown that it appears to lack gliadin toxicity and may be a safe wheat alternative for those with celiac disease. In the most recent study the researchers conclude that data show a lack of toxicity of triticum monococcum gliadin in an in vitro organ culture system, suggesting new dietary opportunities for celiac patients. If this is the case it appears that this grain is non-toxic to those with celiac disease.

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov;41(11):1305-11.
Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac
disease patients.
Pizzuti D, Buda A, DOdorico A, DInca R, Chiarelli S, Curioni A, Martines D.

Abstract:
Objective. The treatment of celiac disease is based on lifelong withdrawal of foods containing gluten. Unfortunately, compliance with a gluten-free diet has proved poor in many patients (mainly due to its low palatability), emphasizing the need for cereal varieties that are not toxic for celiac patients. In evolutionary terms, Triticum monococcum is the oldest and most primitive cultivated wheat. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of T. monococcum on small intestinal mucosa, using an in vitro organ culture system.
Material and methods. Distal duodenum biopsies of 12 treated celiac patients and 17 control subjects were cultured for 24?h with T. aestivum (bread) gliadin (1?mg/ml) or with T. monococcum gliadin (1?mg/ml). Biopsies cultured with medium alone served as controls. Each biopsy was used for conventional histological examination and for immunohistochemical detection of CD3?+?intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) and HLA-DR. Secreted cytokine protein interferon-? (IFN–?) was measured in the culture supernatant using an enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay.
Results. Significant morphological changes, HLA-DR overexpression in the crypt epithelium and an increased number of CD3?+?IELs, found after bread gliadin exposure, were not observed in celiac biopsies cultured with T. monococcum gliadin. In contrast, with bread gliadin, there was no significant IFN-? response after culture with monococcum gliadin. Similarly, biopsies from normal controls did not respond to bread or monococcum gliadin stimulation.
Conclusions. These data show a lack of toxicity of T. monococcum gliadin in an in vitro organ culture system, suggesting new dietary opportunities for celiac patients.

Note: Celiac.com strongly advises against celiacs including these grains in their diet until more testing and research is done to verify their safety.

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Einkorn Breadmaking Sites:

Cereal Chem. 73 (2):208-214
Breadmaking Quality of Einkorn Wheat (Triticum monococcum ssp. monococcum).
http://www.aaccnet.org/cerealchemistry/backissues/1996/73_208.pdf

Cereal Chem. 76 (5): Pub. no. C-1999-0804-01R
Einkorn Characterization for Bread and Cookie Production in Relation to
Protein Subunit Composition.
http://www.aaccnet.org/cerealchemistry/abstracts/1999/0804-01r.asp

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2 Responses:

 
Stan Ness
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said this on
06 May 2010 11:00:41 PM PST
Einkorn has not yet been proven to be safe for celiacs. I’ve seen peer reviewed articles advocating both sides of that question. It may be safe for people with gluten or wheat “sensitivities” but celiac patients should be extremely cautious and consult a physician before trying einkorn. Also, there are hundreds of different types of einkorn, each with a unique set of gluten and gliadin proteins. With any luck, one will be found that everyone can eat safely.

 
HALLU
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said this on
15 May 2014 9:31:19 PM PST
There is only ONE "Triticum Monococcum", but since it's a landrace plant, it adapts extremely quickly to different environments and hence produces a great variety of different Einkorn grains, depending on your location and climate.

Einkorn is as Safe of a grain as you will get, especially after re-stablishing a healthy intestinal flora after your modern-wheat onslaught !




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