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The First Direct Test of the Safety of Sorghum for People with Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 12/03/2007 - Along with the increasing rate of celiac disease diagnosis comes a corresponding increase in the need for safe, inexpensive, and appetizing gluten-free foods. Sorghum is inexpensive to grow, has a neutral flavor, and has been assumed to be gluten-free due to its close relationship with maize. Sorghum has been consumed in many parts of the world in foods and beverages such as flat breads, porridge, and beer. However, in the United States, the country that grows most of the world's sorghum, it is used primarily as animal feed.

Researchers tested the safety of sorghum in duodenal biopsies (tissue samples from the small intestine) from 8 celiac patients and 4 patients with other gastrointestinal disorders (i.e., not celiac disease). Biopsies treated with sorghum protein digests showed no increase in proteins involved in the immune response to gluten. By comparison, biopsies of celiac patients treated with gliadin or wheat protein digests showed an increase in these proteins, as expected. The immune response was not induced in biopsies of non-celiac patients, regardless of treatment.

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In the second part of the study, the safety and palatability of sorghum foods were tested in 2 female celiac patients, known to be compliant with a gluten-free diet. The patients ate sorghum in bread, cookies, and cake for 5 days. Antibodies for transglutaminase, known to be elevated after gluten consumption in celiac patients, did not increase in the patients during or after the sorghum challenge. The celiac patients rated the palatability of the foods as good or excellent and reported no increase in gastrointestinal (GI) or non-GI symptoms.

Researchers from Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States carried out this preliminary study. The data indicates that sorghum is highly likely to be safe for consumption by those who are gluten-intolerant. Additional studies are required to determine the long-term safety of sorghum in the diet of celiac patients.

References:
Ciacci, C. et al. (2007) Celiac disease: In vitro and in vivo safety and palatability of wheat-free sorghum food products. Clin. Nutr. 26, 799-805.
U.S. Grains Council Web Site. Sorghum.  Accessed Dec 1, 2007.

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4 Responses:

 
RAYMOND G KARASEVICZ
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
11 Dec 2007 2:15:56 PM PDT
GOOD ARTICLE AND IT CONFIRMS MY BELIEF THAT IT IS SAFE TO CONSUME SORGHUM BASED BEER THAT HAS RECENTLY COME ON THE MARKET.

 
C Lawson
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said this on
12 Dec 2007 6:33:30 AM PDT
Because I am ultra sensitive to gluten, my family and friends consider me a barometer for the testing of how gluten-free a food or personal care item is. I have been using sorghum flour for 3 years and have not had any problems with it and have recommended it to many folks. As in all 'gluten free' foods, be careful of your source and check that there isn't the possibility of cross contamination.

 
tim Walsh
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said this on
12 Dec 2007 9:18:04 AM PDT
This was great.

 
guadalupe
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said this on
12 Dec 2007 10:10:10 AM PDT
It gives excellent information but it doesn't warn about possibilities of cross contamination as often happens with grains.




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Those labs do not look like celiac tests. The first three MIGHT just be measuring total antibody levels of the three different classes, but on the very right it has IgA Serp (Serp cut off?) and I don't know what the Serp is referring to. The first column is the test name, the second column your value, the third column the units of measure, the fourth column the normal range. The first one is a tiny bit low, all the rest in the normal range.

Since this post is going around again, I thought I would add my recent experience at Rudy's. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. I ordered my family's food first put it on a tray and then ordered mine separately. I ordered only chicken and turkey. The staff changed gloves and used a new cutting board and knife. My server washed his hands, wiped down the scale and put my meat separately into a tray. I washed my hands before I ate. I did not eat any of the side and brought my own fruit to go with it. Since I don't get immediate symptoms, I can't tell you if that was enough. But, their meat (except the pork - maybe ) is gluten free. I think I did everything I can to avoid CC and the staff was extremely helpful . This is the only restaurant I have eaten at in 4 months if that tells you anything. I love Rudy's!!!

I got my script from the doc... it's for total IGA and TTG-IGA. Guess that's a good start? It also says "fasting" on the requisition, do I really need to be?

Something that's always weirded me out since I became somewhat non-responsive on repeat biopsies: I don't get colds anymore. Ever. I used to get maybe 5 a year ? standard stuff. Nothing in the past 3 years. I get a lot of sleep these days, but still. My girlfriend gets sick; I do not. Anyone else find their common transient illnesses take a strange turn after diagnosis? I hypothesize having an abnormal/overactive immune system might take down common bugs hard, but I also assume it's far more complicated than that.

Hello, Has anyone ever heard of a celiac diagnosis through an ultrasound? I have a friend who had an ultrasound for diverticulitis issues and the dr said he also had celiac disease. No blood test, no endoscopy. I don't think he wants to make this life change in his diet without knowing for sure.