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Could Changing Gut Bacteria Prevent Celiac Disease?

Celiac.com 11/20/2015 - A Canadian researcher has discovered what might be a big step toward preventing celiac disease. Dr. Elena Verdú, an associate professor at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University, has found that bacteria in the gut may contribute to the body's response to gluten. 

Image: CC--Hobvias SudoneighmIf her discovery pans out, it may be possible to treat, or even prevent, celiac disease by changing the the type of bacteria in the gut. "By changing the type of bacteria in the gut, we could change the inflammatory response to gluten," says Verdú.

So far, researchers have been unable to explain why 30 per cent of people have genes that can cause celiac disease, but only 2 to 5 per cent actually develop it. Also a mystery is why the disease develops at any age. Higher rates of celiac disease are being driven not just be better testing and awareness, but also by external triggers.

According to Dr. Decker Butzner, a Calgary-based pediatric gastroenterologist, there are another triggering factor which we've never understood…[t]here is an environmental trigger."

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Researchers have known for some time that people with celiac disease have different types of gut bacteria than those without celiac disease, but they didn't whether the changes in gut bacteria were caused by celiac disease, or the other way around.

Verdú's study, which found that the inflammatory response to gluten was impacted by gut microbiota, is the first study to show that it is the gut microbes are likely triggering celiac disease.

The study appears in the American Journal of Pathology.

Read more at TheSpec.com.

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5 Responses:

 
Mark
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said this on
24 Nov 2015 6:28:52 AM PDT
Reading the linked article reveals this discouraging assertion:
"Its results won't help those who already have celiac disease."

 
Pippy
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said this on
24 Nov 2015 7:22:43 AM PDT
This is exciting research!

 
Terry Lynch
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said this on
24 Nov 2015 10:45:26 AM PDT
This is an interesting subject as I have already seen how certain gut bacteria can either greatly benefit or greatly slow peristalsis through either allowing tryptophan to be absorbed and converted into serotonin or instead cause malabsorption and breakdown of tryptophan. So proper enteric bacterial population is very important and I have found only one really great source which is Wallaby Kefir which contains several serotogenic varieties.
On another subject I define Celiac patients as poor digesters of protein. Therefore, achlorhydria (a lack of stomach acid) couild indeed be the first domino in the ultimate indigestion of the gliaden protein , and a stomach with a low pH keeps other bacterial interlopers that do not belong from invading the intestine, a very important function, plus stomach acid enables Pepsin activation, the first step in complex protein breakdown of gliaden, and that acidity initiates brush border and pancreatic enzymes such as prolyl endopeptidase to further cleave the Gliadin protein that initiates Celiac response.
I think this bacterial role is a valid point. There are symbiotic bacteria in the human gut which must be encouraged, while the bad dysbiotic bacteria need to be prevented such as those found in Small Intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and the stomach acid and later basic bicarbonate and digestive enzymes from the pancreas also plays an important role in segregating those bacteria......thanks

 
Janet
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said this on
25 Nov 2015 4:53:01 PM PDT
Fascinating. I technically don't have celiac disease. I had a positive blood test, but negative biopsy. However, in college , I had a terrible time with repeated bouts of strep throat and sinusitis, and took numerous courses of antibiotics. I now wonder if that changed my gut bacteria and started me down the road of gluten intolerance.

 
jane
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said this on
21 Mar 2016 9:25:47 AM PDT
My son was hospitalized for a week and was on constant IV antibiotics during that time. About 8 months after he was discharged I was concerned that he was not gaining weight. Blood work and endoscopy w/biopsy confirmed celiac disease. My son is 17 years old, 6' 3 1/2" and weighs 145 lbs. I believe the week of constant IV antibiotics triggered his celiac disease.




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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.