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Dietary Supplementation with Probiotics may be Beneficial in Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 04/28/2008 - A life-long gluten-free diet is currently the only treatment for celiac disease. However, many foods thought to be gluten-free actually contain small amounts of gluten, making it difficult to maintain a truly gluten-free diet.

Gluten is made up of glutenin and gliadin proteins. Gliadin is only partially digested in the small intestine and the resulting peptides are responsible for the inflammation and intestinal tissue damage in people with celiac disease. Because probiotic bacteria have been shown to digest gluten proteins to harmless peptides, supplementation with probiotics may be beneficial for people with celiac disease.

To begin testing this hypothesis, researchers in Finland added probiotic bacteria to cultures of intestinal epithelial cells (cells that line the intestine) to determine their effect on gliadin-induced cellular damage. Gliadin-induced damage to intestinal epithelial cells includes increased permeability of the epithelial layer, alteration of tight junctions between cells (which controls the passage of materials across the intestinal wall), and structural changes such as “ruffling” of the cell edges. Two probiotic bacterial species were evaluated: Lactobacillus fermentum and Bifidobacterium lactis.

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In this study, B. lactis was able to inhibit permeability caused by gliadin. Additionally, both B. lactis and L. fermentum were able to protect against cell ruffling and alterations in tight junctions. The bacteria alone (without gliadin) did not cause any significant changes to the intestinal epithelial cells.

Researchers concluded that Bifidobacterium lactis may be a useful addition to a gluten-free diet. Supplementation with this probiotic appears to be able to reduce the damage caused by eating gluten-contaminated foods and may even accelerate healing after initiating a gluten-free diet. It is important to note the researchers do not suggest that supplementation with probiotics could take the place of  a gluten-free diet in the treatment of celiac disease.

Lindfors et al.
Live probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis bacteria inhibit the toxic effects induced by wheat gliadin in epithelial cell culture - Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Apr 16.

 

 

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13 Responses:

 
Steven Stusek
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said this on
28 Apr 2008 7:15:51 PM PST
Very readable, concise.

 
Mary Ford
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said this on
01 May 2008 8:41:52 AM PST
This echoes what a nutritionist friend had suggested. She said I needed not just the yogurt with bacteria, but the live cultures, kept refrigerated, from health food stores.

 
Mary Kretzmann
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said this on
01 May 2008 11:42:45 AM PST
Very helpful. I have also found it to be true. Ive' been gluten free for 6 years, and I found that probiotics helped in the healing process.
Originally I used Primal Defense...And a couple of years ago I switched to home made kefir...that helped me enormously. The best web site is Dom's insite - Search google for 'real Kefir' and you will find it.

The kefir helped me finally get over my corn sensitivity - which I believe came from a damaged gut from the gluten....

 
Justin Credible
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said this on
01 May 2008 1:17:19 PM PST
Great article. I purchased 2 years worth of Acidophilus/Bifidus and can't wait to see how I react (staying on gluten-free diet of course).

 
Diane Hewitt
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said this on
02 May 2008 2:36:59 AM PST
I have found this to be very true. I drink a cup of Kefir (plain) every day and find that it is even better than yogurt in aiding my digestion.

 
Leslie Bragg
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said this on
12 May 2008 2:20:56 PM PST
Excellent article. Would love to see more info on this topic. I have been taking Healthy Trinity for two months with amazing results. I have had celiac for 9 years with limited healing of intestinal damage on gluten-free diet, I also have DH and am considered a highly sensitive celiac. Since I started the probiotics, my lab work is normal, I no longer have dangerously low levels of B12 and Folic acid. I'm absorbing nutrients again.

 
Ammar
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said this on
13 May 2008 8:35:32 PM PST
Its a very helpful article - I was diagnosed a celiac since 1994 and I'm very curious about Bifidobacterium lactis.

 
Julia Flynn
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said this on
27 May 2008 5:12:37 AM PST
I have found a probiotic/enzyme that works very well. It's called Digestive Enzymes and it's a powder mixed with water that dissolves and absorbs immediately. I couldn't live without it some days! This with Aloe juice is a life saver.

 
Tami
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said this on
04 Mar 2010 11:52:35 AM PST
Can you tell me which brand name? I've searched under "digestive enzymes" and bring up many brands with this same title.

Thank you so much!!

 
Tricia
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said this on
16 Jun 2008 4:47:19 PM PST
I was just diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April. I am going to try this.

 
Jill
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said this on
01 May 2009 8:44:45 AM PST
I'm including a link to the abstract on the Pub Med website. Always nice to read the original:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18422736

 
Jill
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said this on
27 Jul 2009 8:40:04 AM PST
Does anyone have a brand name probiotics that are safe for celiacs?

 
maria
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said this on
28 Oct 2009 9:42:35 PM PST
Very helpful.




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