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Major Breakthrough: Prebiotics and Probiotics Can Reduce Inflammation and Reduce Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Probiotics help celiac disease (photo courtesy of SuperFantastic)

A team of researchers has announced what they are calling a 'pivotal advance' regarding the differential influence of bifidobacteria and gram-negative bacteria on immune responses to inflammatory triggers in celiac disease.

Their study provides strong evidence that various intestinal bacteria in celiac patients can influence inflammation, and that dietary probiotics and prebiotics can help improve the quality of life for patients with celiac and other associated diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and various autoimmune disorders.

To conduct their study, they the team used cultures of human peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as in vitro models. This was possible because blood monocytes constantly replenish intestinal mucosal monocytes, and accurately represent an in vivo situation.

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To duplicate the intestinal environment surrounding celiac disease, researchers exposed cell cultures to Gram-negative bacteria and bifidobacteria they had isolated from celiac patients, both alone and in the presence of disease triggers.

They then assessed the effects on surface marker expression and cytokine production by PBMCs. Gram-negative bacteria induced higher pro-inflammatory cytokines than did bifidobacteria.

The Gram-negative bacteria also up-regulated expression of cell surface markers involved in inflammatory aspects of the disease, while bifidobacteria up-regulated the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Research team still need to confirm the results in clinical trials on people, but the findings offer the first support for new treatment options that may change how celiac disease is treated and possibly prevented.

In the same way the certain foods may contribute to poor health, notes Louis Montaner, D.V.M., M.Sc., D.Phil. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, "others can have positive effects. For people with celiac disease, this opens a line of research into new therapies that may be as accessible as a grocer's shelf."

SOURCE: Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2010;87:765-778. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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10 Responses:

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said this on
10 May 2010 10:23:28 AM PST
Our family takes our probiotics and we love them! Probiotics have made a huge difference in our son's life since it has helped his skin so much with his Eczema.

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said this on
11 May 2010 7:37:24 AM PST
This article has affirmed what I was beginning to believe-that probiotics do help with the digestive system of those with celiac. As a celiac myself I have been eating yogurt with probiotics everyday for over a month now and ever since I started eating them I have not had ONE symptom of celiac. Prior to this I was still having some symptoms EVEN though I was eating gluten-free. Very interesting, maybe the scientists have just turned a corner in coming closer to finding a cure for celiac.

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said this on
07 Jul 2012 11:39:46 AM PST
Doesn't lactose intolerance usually come along with a gluten allergy? It did for me.

Ruth Miller
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said this on
15 Sep 2015 8:08:21 PM PST
It certainly does with celiac disease, not sure about allergies. Now if you have a gluten intolerance then yes it applies.

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said this on
11 May 2010 7:50:21 AM PST
I began taking probiotics before my celiac diagnosis and have always considered that my first step in taking charge of my health. However, I always assumed it was a separate issue from my celiac. Thank you so much for this article. No longer will my probiotic be merely a supplement. It will now be core part of my celiac 'treatment'.

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said this on
30 Aug 2010 1:21:31 PM PST
I have come to the same conclusion - probiotics are a must! Gluten Free is not enough. Here are the steps I've taken and have been symptom free for over 2 years: 1) I found out which foods I'm intolerant too (it's not just gluten) and I've eliminated them from my diet. (I was intolerant to beef, zucchini, cumin and more - I had no idea!). You can try an elimination diet, but I opted for testing which was expensive, but changed my life and worth it. Eliminating these foods prevented flair ups. 2) With flare-up at bay, my body can stop putting out fires and can now focus on healing so I eat foods that will help heal my gut lining. One of the best books out there that outlines a gut-healing diet is Natascha Campbell-MacBride, MD's Gut & Psychology Syndrome. She explains why gluten-free isn't enough and what else we can be doing. Great book! 3) I've gone on an anti-Candida diet. Nasty stuff and you most definitely want it out of your body if you've got it. 4) I've begun taking "therapudic" doses of probiotics. I've also added probiotic rich foods to my diet such as fermented veggies, keifer, yogurt, etc. 5) I eat all-natural or organic foods. My health has been compromised and I don't want to put any additional stressors on myself in the form of unnecessarily having to eliminate chemicals and other artificial ingredients from my body. My body is working hard enough! Any way we can detox and keep new toxins from entering in is a good thing.

Doing all of these things was hard, but it's getting easier as I get more comfortable with it. It did require radical dietary changes, but my health is worth it. Don't expect changes over night either. This is a process that can take months or years. Also, if you tell you doctor this and he/she looks at you with a blank stare, (or worse), don't be discouraged. Doctors are great and I am very thankful for them, but many know very little about nutrition - even some who treat conditions such a celiac. I don't fault or judge them as they've been trained in pharmaceuticals not food, diet and nutrition. Many just don't know! I feel so much better and yet most of my help has been through my own research and efforts including self-experimentation with diet & nutrition.

All the best!

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said this on
02 Nov 2011 9:34:04 PM PST
Could you share where and how you did your testing for food intolerances? I am very interested in doing that. Thanks!

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said this on
05 Sep 2010 9:41:11 AM PST
My mother and brother are confirmed celiacs. I have had significant food challenges to gluten. Besides the typical symptoms, I would also have nasal inflammation and red eyes (leaky gut?) besides digestive problems, stomach and joint pain. For almost two years now I have been taking large doses of bifidobacteria and acidolphilis type bacteria while consuming gluten containing foods. I have had no issue in two years unless I challenge myself and go on/off bacteria. The bacteria has allowed me to have normal diet. The risks however are that no clinical trials have been conducted so one does not know if risk of cancer or related illness has also been lowered. So its your risk if you try the same thing but me bacteria has allowed a normal diet. I take enzymes before I eat.

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said this on
18 Aug 2014 12:12:54 PM PST
Can you write us what exactly you take (brand names ) and the dosage please?!

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said this on
04 Jun 2011 12:53:50 AM PST
Ever since being diagnosed with Chronic Tonsillitis that came after a strange bought of illness three years ago it has been a slow process getting back to feeling "normal." The doctor wanted to remove my tonsils and I just haven't had the money or the fortitude to get it done. Plus it is quite a scary procedure since people have died from it. So I have been reducing/watching my gluten intake and taking probiotics for three months now. I have noticed a difference, especially when I run out of the probiotic and am waiting for the next shipment to arrive. My left tonsil flares up and I am exhausted! This has happened twice now. I am convinced I need to keep taking the probiotic but what about the underlying symptoms that rear its ugly head when I go off of them. I also suffer from arthritis that I take a daily Rx for and I'm only 40! At least I can say I skied, cycled, ran, and have been in wicked great shape...but now I can't do those things anymore. I force myself to run and need to get back into lifting weights again. Walking is the best so long as the weather cooperates along with my schedule, my kids, and the stars know what I mean. I can't wait to get to heaven and get that new body God has promised us! I envision it like being always at the perfect age of 25, at least for me. Cheers!

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