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Found 28 results

  1. Celiac.com 10/21/2016 - Researchers at Boston University's Henry M. Golden School of Dental Medicine have identified a metabolic enzyme that alerts the body to invading bacteria, which may lead to new treatments for celiac disease. A research team that set out to isolate and identify the enzymes and evaluate their potential as novel enzyme therapeutics for celiac disease, reports that the enzymes exhibit exceptionally high gluten-degrading enzyme activities, and are "naturally associated with bacteria that colonize the oral cavity." Rothia bacteria, found in human saliva, can break down gluten compounds that cause an exaggerated immune response and that are typically resistant to the digestive enzymes that mammals produce. The team was able to isolate a new class of gluten-degrading enzymes from Rothia mucilaginosa, an oral microbial colonizer. The Rothia enzymes in question belong to the same class as food-grade Bacillus enzymes. The researchers noted that "B. subtilis is food safe and has been consumed for decades, e.g. in a product called natto, a Japanese fermented soy bean dish." B. subtilis and its products have been safely consumed by humans for many hundreds of years, with very few problems reported. They add that the "…food-grade status of B. subtilis, and the already widely consumed natto products, open new avenues for potential therapeutic applications of the subtilisin enzymes." The Rothia subtilisins and two subtilisins from Bacillus licheniformis, subtilisin A and the food-grade Nattokinase, efficiently degraded the immunogenic gliadin-derived 33-mer peptide and the immunodominant epitopes recognized by the R5 and G12 antibodies. This study identified as promising new candidates for enzyme therapeutics in celiac disease. Based on these results, the research team concludes that gluten-degrading Rothia and food-grade Bacillus subtilisins are the "preferred therapy of choice for celiac disease," and that their exceptional enzymatic activity, along with their connection to natural human microbial colonizers, make them "worthy of further exploration for clinical applications in celiac disease and potentially other gluten-intolerance disorders." Their study appears in the American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.
  2. Celiac.com 10/05/2016 - So, you're one of the millions of people with celiac disease, one of those folks who has to avoid gluten and eat a gluten-free diet. Maybe you'd like to be able to safely eat out. Maybe you'd like to safely eat some bread. Imagine a day a few years from now when you take a pill containing enzymes from a carnivorous plant, which allows your gut to fully break down gluten. You take the pill and sit down to that pizza and beer you've been missing for so long. Is such a day really somewhere in the near future? U of C researcher David Schriemer thinks so. "The idea here is that you would take it like Beano," Schreimer said. The enzymes are the product of diligent and meticulous collection by a team of dedicated scientists. They are responsible for carefully extracting the minute amount of digestive liquid in the bottom of each plant within an array of over 1,000 pitcher plants. Each pitcher plant holds just 0.5 millilitres of liquid. To collect enough for their study, Schreimer and his colleagues enlisted the help of three retired women in B.C.'s Lower Mainland who "had a fascination" for carnivorous sundews, Venus flytraps and pitcher plants. These women dedicated an entire greenhouse of roughly 1,000 individual pitchers, each about the size of a thumb, Schreimer said. The University of Calgary researchers supplied those women with vials of fruit flies to stimulate the plants, and the women tapped off small amounts of fluids on a regular basis. After six months, they had collected six litres, enough for the researchers to complete their studies. So, can the enzyme deliver? "We've taken it all the way through to animal trials at this point, and it seems to work," says Schreimer. The next step is trials on humans, followed by commercial development. Stay tuned for these and other results on the development of new drugs and treatment options for celiac disease. Source: cbc.ca
  3. Celiac.com 12/03/2008 - Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide used as a binder in many gluten-free products. In the production of xanthan gum, sucrose or glucose is fermented by a bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris. After a four-day fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a corn-based growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. When added to a liquid medium, a slippery, sticky gum is formed, and this substance works well in holding baked goods together, or keeping separate liquid ingredients in suspension in salad dressings and sauces. While the above description doesn't make it sound very appetizing, what's the problem with xanthan? Some people develop an allergy to xanthan, with gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Even consumption of a very minor amount can lead to days and days of recovery and many trips to the bathroom. Hmm. Sound like anything we've heard before? And that's the problem. Experiencing a xanthan reaction can make you question your gluten-free diet, make you think you were accidentally exposed to gluten, or mystify you completely. A xanthan reaction can also precipitate migraine headaches, skin itchiness, and for those exposed to large amounts, such as bakery workers, nose and throat irritation. Symptoms of xanthan sensitivity become more prevalent with increasing exposure, so that can be one important clue. If you've suddenly started baking alot, or become addicted to a new brand of gluten-free cookies, and you start to have increased gastrointestinal symptoms, you may want to consider ruling out an adverse reaction to xanthan gum. What's a body to do? Guar gum makes a good substitute, and it is also less expensive. How did I become aware of this? Well, actually I have known about this for quite awhile, but since xanthan gum is in so many gluten-free products, I thought that sensitivity to xanthan must be a rare and isolated occurrence. Then two things happened to change my mind. I began baking a lot of gluten-free products for a business venture, and suddenly started having some gastro-intestinal problems, after being healthy for so long. I didn't have the severe pain of a gluten reaction, but otherwise my symptoms were eerily similar, particularly the bloating. I had already decided to lay off the baking (and tasting) as much as I could, and had narrowed the possibilities down to either tapioca starch or xanthan gum. Then, a student in one of my cooking classes let me know that she had a severe allergy to xanthan, and described her symptoms. They were identical, except in severity. I reformulated my recipes using only guar gum for my next stretch of gluten-free baking, and I had no problem at all. I certainly hope that I do not develop a reaction to Guar gum, which is the ground carbohydrate storage portion of the guar bean. I have not seen reports of allergy or sensitivity to guar gum, but will do a little more research for my own knowledge, which I will share in the future. By no means am I advocating that all people following a gluten-free diet give up products made with Xanthan gum. But, if you do not feel that the diet is helping you, and are still symptomatic, a sensitivity to Xanthan gum is one possibility that needs to be ruled out.
  4. Celiac.com 11/16/2009 - Could unknown benefits from one of the oldest parasites of the human digestive tract hold the key to cure for celiac disease? Australian scientists think so. Encouraged by successful treatments of Crohn's and ulcerative colitis by American researchers using a pig whipworm (Trichuris sues), a team of Australian researchers is recruiting volunteers with celiac disease for trials using human hookworm (Necator americanus). The researchers have undertaken a similar preliminary study using a human hookworm in Crohn's patients. Researchers hypothesize that the disappearance of intestinal parasites from humans in developed countries may be responsible for the upsurge in many diseases including Celiac Disease, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, asthma and hay fever. Using a small group of healthy people with celiac disease, the investigators will look to see if human hookworm interferes with the human immune reaction to gluten. Parasites survive partly by interfering with the host's immune response. The mechanisms they use to accomplish this are similar to those required by a person to regulate against the so-called autoimmune disorders, wherein the body begins to fight against itself. The investigators suspect that when parasites are excluded from the environment, some individuals become sufficiently self-reactive to develop an autoimmune disease. Using a small group of healthy people with celiac disease, the investigators will test if a human hookworm, Necator americanus, inhibits immune responsiveness to gluten. Specifically, they will examine whether hookworm infection will change the immune processes and suppress gluten sensitivity in people with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a good model for studying Crohn's disease because both involve similar immune changes. However, celiac patients are usually healthier overall, and, importantly, are not taking powerful immune suppressive drugs, and the provocative antigens (molecules that engage the immune system and provoke the disease) are well known and can be administered or cut out at will. In addition to directly benefitting celiac disease sufferers, this study may provide potential guidance in the use of hookworms to control inflammatory bowel disease. The study is open to people with proven celiac disease who reside in Brisbane, Australia. Those who enroll will be required to avoid gluten for six months. The blinded study will compare disease activity and immunity after a controlled break from the gluten-free diet in celiac patients, before and after hookworm infection. The team will use conventional and experimental methods to examine the disease severity and the immune system of celiac subjects before and after being inoculated with N. americanus. They will then compare immunity levels of the study subjects against those of matched, celiac control subjects (not infected with hookworm), before and after eating four pieces of standard white bread each day for three to five days. The initial study group will be small. The researchers will recruit ten subjects for each arm of the study, for a total of twenty. Initially, ten larvae will be placed on the skin under a light dressing for thirty minutes, followed by five more after twelve weeks. The researchers intend to asses whether the hookworm infection will change the immune processes and suppress gluten sensitivity in people with celiac disease. Outcomes to be measured will be those that reflect the activity of celiac disease. Stay tuned to see if hookworm therapy will be coming to a gastroenterologist near you! Tell us what you think. Would you sign up? Comment below. Source: ClinicalTrials.gov
  5. Celiac.com 12/05/2014 - To remain healthy, people with serious gluten intolerance, especially people with celiac disease, must avoid foods containing gluten from wheat, barley, and rye. Accordingly, gluten detection is of high interest for the food safety of celiac patients. The FDA recently approved guidelines mandating that all products labeled as “gluten-free” contain less than 20ppm (20mg/kg) of gluten, but just how do products labeled as “gluten-free” actually measure up to this standard? Researchers H.J. Lee, Z. Anderson, and D. Ryu recently set outto assess the concentrations of gluten in foods labeled "gluten free" available in the United States. For their study, they collected seventy-eight samples of foods labeled “gluten-free,” and analyzed the samples using a gliadin competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. They then calculated gluten content based on the assumption of the same ratio between gliadin and glutenin, testing gluten levels down to 10ppm (10mg/kg). They found that forty-eight (61.5%) of the 78 samples labeled gluten-free contained less than 10ppm (10 mg/kg) gluten. Another 14 (17.9%) of the 78 samples contained less than 20ppm (20mg/kg) gluten, in accordance with the guidelines established by the Codex Alimentarius for gluten-free labeling. However, 16 samples, over 20%, contained gluten levels above 20 mg/kg, ranging from 20.3 to as high as 60.3 mg/kg. Breakfast cereal was the main culprit, with five of eight breakfast cereal samples showing gluten contents above 20ppm (20 mg/kg). The study does not name specific brands tested, nor do they indicate whether tested brands are themselves monitored by independent labs. Still, the results, while generally encouraging, show that more progress is needed to make sure that all products labeled as “gluten-free” meet the FDA guidelines. Until that time, it’s a matter of “caveat emptor,” or “buyer beware,” for consumers of gluten-free foods. Source: J Food Prot. 2014 Oct;77(10):1830-3. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-149.
  6. 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. If 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." 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.
  7. Celiac.com 07/17/2014 - Italian researchers are claiming a major scientific and potentially commercial breakthrough that could lead to a revolution in the food available to people with celiac disease. The researchers, all at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Food and the Environment, University of Foggia are claiming that their revolutionary new method will enable the manufacture of wheat products safe for people with celiac disease. The method method involves modifying the gluten proteins in standard wheat so that it will not trigger an adverse gluten reaction in people with celiac disease. They claim that their method enables the production of celiac safe and gluten-friendly foods containing “all the dough and baked products made with flour from commonly obtained wheat.” A patent has been made by Prof. Aldo Di Luccia and Prof. Carmen Lamacchia, and CNR researcher Dr. Carmela Gianfrani. The application was filed in Italy with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office at the Ministry of Economic Development, on 2 October 2012. An application for extension according to the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was filed on 29 April 2013. Both researchers have earned a very positive evaluation by the award of the higher threshold of the so-called "scientific credibility". Specifically, they claim that their method induces changes in gluten proteins, which break the chain of chemical combinations that trigger the so-called "intolerance" changes, thus avoiding the inflammatory process that interferes with nutrient absorption, and causes lesions and bowel dysfunction. Source: University of Foggia
  8. Celiac.com 12/07/2015 - Could population changes in smoking habits help explain the change in incidence and prevalence of celiac disease? Could lower rates of cigarette smoking be contributing to higher rates of celiac disease? It is pretty well documented that cigarette smokers have lower natural rates of celiac disease than the non-smoking population, which implies that tobacco might offer some measure of prevention with regard to celiac disease. Now, a gastroenterologist is asking whether a reduction in public smoking levels might be associated with a rise in rates of celiac disease. In a letter to the editors of the American Journal of Gastroenterology regarding the study "Incidence and prevalence of celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis in the UK over two decades: population-based study" by West et al., Dr. S. Veldhuyzen van Zanten, MD, PhD, of the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, wonders whether lower rates of cigarette smoking in the preceding decades "might help explain the study findings." Data from several studies regarding reduced celiac rates in cigarette smokers offer support for Dr. van Zanten’s line of thinking; including data that show a new diagnosis of celiac disease is made significantly less frequently in smokers than in non-smokers. Interestingly, there also is some evidence that cigarette smoking might actually mask the clinical manifestations of celiac disease rather than prevent its occurrence. Either way, Dr. van Zanten's hypothesis would cast some interesting light on celiac disease if proven correct. The good news is that Dr. van Zanten’s hypothesis is easy to test. Because Canada has such a large health care database, they can easily compare rates of smoking and celiac diagnosis, and adjust for necessary factors to give a better picture of any possible connection. Sources: Am J Gastroenterol. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.345 West J , Fleming KM , Tata LJ et al. Incidence and prevalence of celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis in the UK over two decades: population-based study . Am J Gastroenterol 2014 ; 109 : 757 – 68 Snook JA , Dwyer L , Lee-Elliott C et al. Adult coeliac disease and cigarette smoking . Gut 1996 ; 39 : 60 – 2 . Lear JT , English JSC . Adult coeliac disease, dermetitis herpetiformis and cigarette smoking. Gut 1997 ; 40 : 289 . van Zanten SJOV . Case Report: Recurrent diarrhea and weight loss associated with cessation of smoking in a patient with undiagnosed celiac disease . Gut 2001 ; 49 : 588. Office for National Statistics UK. Smoking prevalence among adults has declined by half since 1974. Part of General Lifestyle Survey, 2011. Released: 28 March 2013. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ghs/general-lifestyle-survey/2011/sty-smoking-report.html
  9. Celiac.com 09/25/2015 - Are anti-GMO campaigners blocking gluten-free wheat that could help people with celiac disease? There's an interesting blog post by Daniel Norero in Biology Fortified. The blog post claims that a type of GM wheat that may improve the quality of life for celiac patients has faced opposition from anti-GMO campaigners who oppose approval and commercialization of the product. Certainly, producing a variety of gluten-free wheat offers one alternative to avoiding gluten. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a baking-quality gluten-free wheat strain using conventional techniques such as selection and hybridization. That reality led a team of Spanish scientists, headed by Dr. Francisco Barro, to use RNA interference (RNAi) to deactivate or delete the genes in wheat that produce the gliadin proteins. By 2011, the team had created four strains of wheat with particularly low amounts of gliadins, which produced in people with celiac disease a reaction up to 95% less toxic than the one produced by standard wheat. Two of those wheat strains, E82 and D793, showed gliadin reductions of about 96% and 97% respectively. For people with celiac disease, this would equate to a safe maximum daily consumption of bread up to 43.6 and 66.9 grams per day. The blog entry goes on to say that, despite the opportunity presented by this GM crop to improve the quality of life of celiac patients, problems have arisen at the approval and commercialization stages, largely due to opposition from Spanish and European anti-GMO activists. Norero then quotes from blog post by Jose Miguel Mulet, a Spanish plant scientist from CSIC: "How can it be that a technology created with Spanish public funds end up in the hands of a private American company? Because of the aberrant anti-GMO European law. No European or Spanish company is interested in commercially developing this wheat due to obstacles in the authorization process…The result: licensing rights have been acquired by the…Dow Agrosciences, given that the authorization process in the United States is much easier." Norero makes an interesting read. It's certainly possible that some type of genetic modification could benefit people with celiac disease. However, it's unclear how a wheat with a 95-97% reduction in gluten toxicity would relate to the current 20ppm total gluten allowed by U.S. law, or exactly what the nature of the alleged benefits for celiacs might be. What do you think? Should genetically modified wheat be permitted if it's helpful to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Or no, should there be no GMO wheat, no matter the claimed benefits?
  10. Celiac.com 08/12/2015 - There are numerous pills, enzymes, and other products in development that are all designed to provide moderate protection against accidental gluten exposure to people with celiac disease to gluten-intolerance. Can a new pill, which uses egg yolk antibodies to coat gluten, allowing it to pass from the body without harm, find a place on the crowded roster of contenders? Driven by a desire to provide relief for people with celiac disease, Hoon Sunwoo, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has spent the last 10 years working on the proprietary pill. If Hoon has his way, people with celiac disease may soon be able to enjoy bread, pasta and other gluten products without suffering headaches, digestion problems and severe intestinal damage that come with the adverse gluten reactions of celiac disease. The pill works by using egg yolk antibodies to coat the gluten and allow it to pass from the body without doing any damage. While not a cure, Sunwoo's pill, now under development at the University of Alberta, may allow those people to join friends for a beer and pizza. Sunwoo makes it very clear that his pill is not a cure or long-term treatment solution, and the people with the disease should still follow a strict gluten-free diet. The pill is designed to be eaten by a person with celiac disease five minutes before eating or drinking, and would provide protection from an adverse gluten reaction for the next one or two hours. The pill completed safety clinical trials two months ago and is expected to begin efficacy clinical trials next year. Read more at CBC.CA.
  11. Celiac.com 09/25/2014 - Nine out of ten wheat crops around the globe are susceptible to a killer fungus that attacks wheat. The pathogen is Puccinia rust fungus. Puccinia triticina causes 'black rust', P.recondita causes 'brown rust' and P.striiformis causes 'Yellow rust'. Originally named Ug99, but now known as wheat stem rust, the fungus affects wheat, barley and rye stems, leaves and grains, and causes plants to rot and die just a few weeks after infection. Infections can lead up to 20% yield loss exacerbated by dying leaves which fertilize the fungus. The fungus regularly causes serious epidemics in North America, Mexico and South America and is a devastating seasonal disease in India, and a widespread outbreak could destroy flour supplies as we know them. Previous solutions to the problem of wheat stem rust relied on simple crossbreeding. Beginning in the 1940s, breeders began combining rust-sensitive commercial wheat with hardier rust-resistant strains. However, those solutions were only temporary at best, as the rust always managed to find a way around rust-resistant genes after just three or four years. Scientists now use what they say is a more effective method of thwarting rust, wheat breeding, called “pyramiding,” in which multiple rust resistant genes are loaded onto a single wheat strain, potentially keeping rust at bay for decades to come, but pyramiding takes up to 15 years to produce a rust-resistant wheat strain. This means that the vast majority of wheat strains under cultivation could be subject to rust in the mean time. Obviously, not all of the wheat strains susceptible to rust will be affected in any given year, but major outbreaks can and do happen. The possibility that large percentages of the world’s wheat crops could be destroyed by rust are very real, hence the intensity of the efforts to develop rust-resistant strains as quickly as possible. However, if these efforts fail, or lose traction, look for non-wheat crops to fill the gap. That will mean large numbers of people going gluten-free for reasons having nothing to do with celiac disease or dietary fads.
  12. Celiac.com 07/16/2009 - A small but significant number of people who suffer from aphthous stomatitis, commonly called canker sores, also suffer from celiac disease, so it makes sense to perform celiac screening these people, according to a recent study that appears in BMC Gastroenterology. Celiac disease is an inherited, immune system disorder in which the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. Reports suggest that canker sores might be the sole symptom for about one in twenty people with celiac disease, according to Dr. Farhad Shahram, of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, and colleagues. Commonly called canker sores, aphthous stomatitis is a painful, open ulcer in the mouth that is white or yellow and surrounded by a bright red area. The sores often recur in times of stress and are associated with viral infections, food allergies and other complaints. The research team looked at 247 people with aphthous stomatitis, who had suffered at least three aphthous lesions in the previous year. Subjects had a median age of 33 years. The team screened blood samples for antibodies and other immune factors connected with celiac disease, and excluded patients with negative results. Subjects with positive blood tests underwent intestinal biopsy. A positive gluten-antibody blood test and abnormal biopsy results constituted gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Of the 247 patients, seven patients showed positive blood tests and submitted for upper GI endoscopy and duodenal biopsy. Two of the seven patients showed endoscopy results compatible with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, while five were normal. However, biopsy results for all seven showed gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Average age for patients with gluten-sensitive enteropathy was 27 years old, and on average suffered from the disease for 4.5 years. Interestingly, none of the seven celiac disease patients responded to conventional mouth ulcer medications, including topical corticosteroids, tetracycline, and colchicine. Four of the seven patients with celiac disease adopted a gluten-free diet, and all four showed substantial improvement within 2 to 6 months. As a result of the study, doctors should consider the possibility of celiac disease/gluten-sensitive enteropathy when treating patients for aphthous stomatitis patients, especially those who show a lack of response to conventional treatment, which may be another indicator of celiac disease risk. BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:44
  13. Celiac.com 09/16/2009 - People with certain genetic markers may be more likely to develop adverse gut-reactions, which may help trigger the development of other immune problems, such as Type 1 diabetes, according to Dr. Fraser Scott, a member of the research team and a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. In a recent study of 42 Ottawa-area young adults with Type 1 diabetes researchers analyzed white blood cells, looking for a response to partially-digested wheat proteins. They found that people with certain genes are more likely to develop an over-reaction to wheat in the gut. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks the pancreas, the organ that regulates blood sugar. No such response was seen in another 22 diabetics in the study, nor in a separate control group of non-diabetics. The gastrointestinal tract is home to the largest variety of immune cells in the human body. In healthy people, the presence of food molecules in the gut does not spark an immune response against food molecules, Scott said. However, if the normal process breaks down, the gut can become inflamed or damaged. Celiac disease is one example of such a breakdown. Folks with Type 1 diabetes suffer higher rates of celiac disease than non-diabetics. One hypothesis for this is that certain immune cells may be stimulated by food triggers and migrate to the pancreas, where they damage insulin-producing cells, Scott said. The human gut is one of the main places where the human body interacts with its environment, including food, chemicals, bacteria and toxins. “It important to understand the role the gastrointestinal tract plays in this disease and other autoimmune diseases,” says Scott. “There are probably a large number of people who have diabetes risk genes, but only a small proportion of them develop Type 1 diabetes. These people have difficulty handling what is present in the environment.” Previous research has shown a gluten-free diet to reduce rates of diabetes in animal models. However, that does not mean that parents who want to keep their children from developing diabetes should adopt a gluten-free diet, says Scott. The genetic risk for diabetes is very complex, he adds. First, it's not easy to know for certain who will contract diabetes; 9 out of 10 people who develop Type 1 diabetes don’t have a relative with Type 1, Scott said. In the mean time, the Ottawa study touches on a very important part of the diabetes mystery. A number of scientists have suspected a link between diet, the gut and Type 1 diabetes for about 20 years now, Scott said. This is one of the first studies to affirm this connection in human cells. For Scott, the fact that 22 diabetics in the Ottawa study did not show a reaction to wheat protein means only that the condition is far more complicated than clinicians can conceive at present. In theory, there are myriad ways in which people may come to develop diabetes, and, says Scott, each may have developed by a separate route. Source: Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  14. Celiac.com 02/27/2014 - For many people with celiac disease, one of the numerous downsides of the condition is the constant threat of an adverse reaction triggered by accidental gluten consumption. Because reactions to gluten ingestion can be severe for some celiac patients, many clinicians are looking to see if anything can be done to lessen the effects gluten reactions in celiac patients once they have started. A team of researchers sought to provide at least one possible answer by looking into the safety and efficacy of Aspergillus niger prolyl endoprotease (AN-PEP) to lessen effects gluten reactions in celiac patients. The researchers included G.J. Tack, J.M. van de Water, M.J. Bruins, E.M Kooy-Winkelaar, J. van Bergen, P. Bonnet, A.C. Vreugdenhil, I. Korponay-Szabo, L. Edens, B.M. von Blomberg, M.W. Schreurs, C.J. Mulder, and F. Koning. They are all affiliated with the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, VU University Medical Centre, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For their study, the team enrolled 16 adults with celiac disease as confirmed by positive blood test and biopsy-confirmed subtotal or total villous atrophy. All patients were following a strict gluten-free diet, and showed normalized antibodies and mucosal healing classified as Marsh 0 or I. In their randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study, the team had patients consume wheat toast, totaling about 7 grams of gluten per day, with AN-PEP for a two-week safety phase. After a two-week washout period with adherence of the usual gluten-free diet, 14 patients were randomized to receive gluten with either AN-PEP or placebo for there two-week efficacy phase. Baseline measurements included complaints, quality-of-life, serum antibodies, immuno-phenotyping of T-cells and duodenal mucosa immuno-histology. The team collected both serum samples and quality of life questionnaires during and after the safety, washout and efficacy phase. They conducted duodenal biopsies after both safety and efficacy phases. The primary endpoint was a change in histological evaluation according to the modified Marsh classification. None of the sixteen adults in the study suffered serious adverse events, and no patients withdrew during the trial. Overall scores for the gastrointestinal subcategory of the celiac disease quality (CDQ) remains fairly high throughout the study, indicating that AN-PEP was well tolerated. Through the efficacy phase, CDQ scores for patients consuming gluten with placebo or gluten with AN-PEP remained largely unchanged, and researchers observed no differences between the groups. Moreover, neither the placebo group nor the AN-PEP group developed significant antibody titers, and IgA-EM concentrations remained negative for both groups. The team excluded two patients from entering the efficacy phase because their mucosa showed an increase of two Marsh steps after the safety phase, even though their serum antibodies remained undetectable. A total of 14 patients were considered histologically stable on gluten with AN-PEP. Also after the efficacy phase, the team saw no significant deterioration in immunohistological and flow cytometric values between the group consuming placebo compared to the group receiving AN-PEP. Furthermore, compared to baseline, after two weeks of gluten four out of seven patients on placebo showed increased IgA-tTG deposit staining. In the seven patients receiving AN-PEP, one patient showed increased and one showed decreased IgA-tTG deposits. AN-PEP appears to be well tolerated. However, the primary endpoint was not met due to lack of clinical deterioration upon placebo, impeding an effect of AN-PEP. Source: World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Sep 21;19(35):5837-47. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i35.5837.
  15. Celiac.com 02/10/2008 - Researchers have found a 10mer durum wheat peptide capable of shifting a Th1 gluten-intolerant T cell response to a Th2 gluten-tolerant T cell response in intestinal T cell cultures derived from celiac disease children and incubated with deamidated gliadin peptides. Durum wheat peptides could potentially treat celiac disease by causing celiac disease associated T cells to react tolerantly to gluten. In the study, incubation of the T cell cultures with deamidated gliadin peptides resulted in a significant increase in T cell proliferation and interferon-gamma release. Simultaneous exposure to duram wheat peptides totally abolished the cell proliferation and cytokine release while maintaining an elevated release of interleukin-10 (IL-10). The workings of the immune system are too complex to discuss here in detail. Basically when a "pre-helper" CD4-type T cell is presented with an epitope from an antigen (gliadin), the T cell becomes activated and responds to the stimulus by becoming either a type 1 or type 2 helper T cell which in turn releases different subsets of cytokines. The Th1 path promotes mucosal tissue destruction in celiac disease while the Th2 path initiates proliferation of gluten and tTGase antibodies. Th1 and Th2 cytokines each have properties which act in a feedback loop to suppress, limit, and regulate each other's cytokine secretions, i.e. Th1 cytokines suppress Th2 cytokine secretion and vice vesa. Overactivity of either a Th1 or a Th2 response can result in an autoimmune condition. Researchers theorize that balancing Th1/Th2 response can ameliorate and control symptoms and disease progression in at least some autoimmune diseases. Th1 response includes release of the cytokine interferon-gamma which differentiates and activates macrophages. Th2 response can include the release of IL-10, a cytokine which suppresses inflammation and promotes antigen tolerance. Various molecules have been demonstrated to shift Th1/Th2 response in various autoimmune disorders. In the durum wheat study, the presence of the durum wheat peptide in the gliadin peptide incubated celiac intestinal T cell culture increased Th2 IL-10 release and stopped T cell proliferation and Th1 interferon-gamma release. Hence, this durum wheat peptide may be useful as a celiac disease therapy. How effective this treatment may be is unknown at this time. Below is an example of sodium benzoate being used to shift Th1 to Th2 response in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis which improved symptoms and disease progression when fed to the mice orally. This suggests that the durum wheat peptide could potentially treat celiac disease by simply being administered as an oral supplement. However, if a probiotic bacteria could be genetically engineered to continuously secrete a form of this durum wheat peptide in the gut, this could result in essentially a "cure" for celiac disease if the durum wheat peptide proves effective. ---------- Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):415-23. A 10-residue peptide from durum wheat promotes a shift from a Th1-type response toward a Th2-type response in celiac disease. Silano M, Di Benedetto R, Maialetti F, De Vincenzi A, Calcaterra R, Trecca A, De Vincenzi M. Division of Food Science, Human Nutrition and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/2/415 ---------- J Immunol. 2007 Jul 1;179(1):275-83. Sodium benzoate, a food additive and a metabolite of cinnamon, modifies T cells at multiple steps and inhibits adoptive transfer of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Brahmachari S, Pahan K. Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, 1735 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. http://www.jimmunol.org/cgi/content/abstract/179/1/275 * * *
  16. Celiac.com 03/10/2014 - A new blood test under development by researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute can rapidly and accurately diagnose celiac disease without the prolonged gluten exposure needed for current tests. The new blood test is supposedly accurate after only three days of gluten consumption, not the several weeks or months traditionally required to make a diagnosis using intestinal biopsies. Researchers from the Melbourne institute, with colleagues from biotechnology company ImmusanT in Boston, US, led a study of the blood test in 48 participants, the results of which were published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology. Furthermore, says Dr Jason Tye-Din, gastroenterologist and head of celiac research at Hall, preliminary results show that the new diagnostic test can accurately detect celiac disease within 24 hours. Dr Tye-Din said that the blood test built on fundamental research discoveries the team had made about coeliac disease. "This 'cytokine release' test measures the T cell response to gluten after three days of consumption, and a positive response is highly predictive of coeliac disease," he said. "With this test, we were able to detect a T cell response in the majority of study participants known to have coeliac disease and importantly, the test was negative in all of the patients who did not have coeliac disease, even though they followed a gluten-free diet and thought gluten was the cause of their symptoms." The researchers hope larger studies will confirm its role as a widely used tool for diagnosing coeliac disease. Source: Medicalxpress.com.
  17. Celiac.com 02/03/2014 - It shouldn't be a surprise that there are celebrities who are jumping on the bandwagon of the "gluten-free" diet for no reason other than it seems to be a fashionable trend. I don't doubt that there are some celebrities who have actually found benefit and may sincerely suffer from Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance, or worse, celiac disease. For the most part though, I am convinced they have decided to use the gluten-free diet as a method of avoiding pastas, breads, pizzas, and excess carbohydrates in order to lose weight. As we all know, adhering to a gluten-free diet is a mandatory thing for people with celiac disease or intolerance to gluten. It is a prescribed diet that helps those afflicted with the disease live a better quality of life, a healthier life, and therefore a more productive life. Thanks to the gluten-free diet's following by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Victoria Beckham, it has also been linked to people who use it to simply "lose weight" and "look good." In fact, Miss Cyrus recently used the gluten-free diet as a defense when she was questioned as to whether her ultra-slim figure was actually the ill-effects of a possible eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia (After all, if looking so thin that people assume you have an eating disorder doesn't mean that the gluten-free diet works on weight loss, then what does? Just another example of how Americans tend to look at nutrition for its face-value instead of health. But I digress…). There are definitely advantages to getting celebrity buy-in to the gluten-free-lifestyle. In fact, it is very possible that in a way, celebrities have shed light on the existence of such a thing called the "gluten-free diet" in a way the medical community just cannot. By association with a celebrity, the term "gluten-free" has made its way into common nomenclature found in groceries, restaurants, bakeries and even households. So, how can this be a bad thing for people who medically NEED to follow a gluten-free diet? Very simply, by a celebrity's choosing to promote the gluten-free diet as a weight-loss plan or weight maintenance program, they do harm by trivializing the importance of the lifestyle for so many Americans who suffer from celiac disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance, or even wheat allergies. When they promote it as a lifestyle CHOICE associated with the maintenance of their size zero frames, there is the great possibility that the general public will misinterpret the "diet" as a fad or trend much like Atkins, Sonoma, or any other diet-of-the-day. Therefore, the people you trust to prepare or serve your food (servers, chefs, bakers, or even friends and family) might be less apt to be overly cautious when preparing and serving your gluten-free meal. There is an inherent danger in leading the general public to believe that this is a diet of CHOICE and not necessity for so many… up to 6%... of the American population. It's not that most people aren't trying to provide gluten-free meals to those of us who require them--it's just that there is a danger that our servers, chefs, and friends become less concerned with trying to meet the completely gluten-free standard that someone who medically needs the diet is aiming to achieve. After all, it is very unlikely that someone who follows the diet to be on-trend with Miley or Gwyneth is ever going to call someone out on using malt flavoring in a dessert, or the wheat-laden seasoning blend used in a sauce--because it doesn't affect them in the same way. Then again…maybe they'll gain a pound overnight and they WILL call them out for using hidden gluten. We can only hope.
  18. Celiac.com 01/01/2014 - By enabling researchers to link antibodies with certain diseases, a new method could help uncover and confirm environmental triggers for diseases such as celiac and autism. The researchers have two goals, according to professor Patrick Daugherty, a researcher with the department of chemical engineering and the Center for BioEngineering at University of California, Santa Barbara. First, they want to create diagnostic tests for diseases for which there are currently no blood tests. Next, they want to figure out what causes the diseases. The process works by mining an individual’s immunological memory—a veritable catalog of the pathogens and antigens encountered by his or her immune system Every time we encounter a pathogen, our bodies mounts an immune response in the form of antibodies that are specific for given antigens; molecular, microbial, chemical, etc. Each time our bodies mount this response, they form “memory cells” that are activated by subsequent encounters with that specific antigen. Responses can vary, from minor reactions to serious autoimmune diseases in which the body turns against its own tissues and its immune system responds by destroying them, such as in the case of Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. People with celiac disease, for example, will have certain antibodies in their blood that bind to specific peptides—short chains of amino acids—present in wheat, barley, and rye. These peptides are the gluten that trigger adverse reactions in certain people. In the same way that a lock is meant to take only one key, these antibodies will only attach to specific sequences of amino acids that make up the peptides. The researchers want to figure out which antibodies are linked to specific diseases. “People with celiac disease have two particular antibody types in their blood, which have proved to be enormously useful for diagnosis,” says Daugherty. Source: UC Santa Barbara
  19. Celiac.com 05/28/2009 - Dr. MariaPorpora and her fellow researchers in Italy studied a woman backin 2003 who had chronic abdominal and pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia(pain while having sex), and dysmenorrhea (menstruation pain similar tocramps). When she came in to Dr. Porpora’s clinic, she also haddiarrheaand had lost five kilograms in the last six months. Her painwas so bad that she completely avoided having sex. She measured the severity ofher pain on a one to ten scale, with one being low and ten being high: Dysmenorrhea: 10 Chronic pelvic pain: 7 Dysapareunia: 10 Shealso had a “normal cervix, a mobile, anteveted mildly enlarge uteruscaused by myomata (benign tumors), and the absence of adnexal masses(lumps in tissue near the uterus, usually in the ovary or fallopiantube).” The doctors werejustifiably confused, and even performed surgery tohelp relieve the pain, however, after six months her symptoms returned. She wasonly partially responsive to their “analgesic, antispasmodic, andantidepressant” drugs. She had no obvious gynecologic disorder. During subsequent examinations the doctors discovered an issue related to malabsorption, and the patient was tested forgluten antibodies. The results were positive, and the woman was put on a gluten-free diet. After one year on a gluten freediet the woman’s pain disappeared, along with her other symptoms offatigue, depression, and general intestinal issues. Accordingto this article, 40% of cases of pelvic pain in women have no known cause, even if they have been diagnosed with irritable bowelsyndrome or inflammatory bowel diseases. According to the doctors: “Celiac disease should betaken into consideration when a patient presents with unexplainedpelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, or deep dyspareunia if these symptoms areassociated with bowel disorders, even in the absence of a knownintestinal disease.” Reference: Obstetrics and gynecology 2002;99(5 Pt 2):937-9.
  20. Celiac.com 05/10/2013 - Many people struggle daily with skin problems. Everyone wants clear, healthy, radiant skin, but only few are willing to go the extra mile to achieve this. Out of the people who combine a healthy diet with skin care products for clearer skin, there are still some that just can't get it to clear up. Recent studies are showing that many skin issues such as blemishes, eczema, or acne are caused by food allergies, and the top allergen in question? Gluten! Gluten can be found in roughly eighty percent of the proteins which grains contain. It is found in every day foods such as pizza, pasta, cereal, and even beer. Luckily in today's modern world we have many alternative foods, which are labeled gluten-free. Only a fraction of our population suffers a severe gluten-triggered autoimmune condition known as celiac disease. Many others are just intolerant or sensitive. The connection between gluten and our skin is its allergic response. Anytime our bodies have any sort of allergy the natural response is always inflammation. Inflammation can show itself in a number of ways on the skin. A few examples of allergic response are acne, eczema, or dermatitis. Along with the skin allergy, people with gluten sensitivity may experience some of many digestive issues that prevent our body from absorbing essential nutrients. It can be hard to diagnose a gluten allergy or sensitivity and many people have to remove gluten from their diet to see if their condition improves. If they do improve, they must continue to live a gluten free lifestyle to maintain healthy, radiant skin. More and more grocery stores are beginning to carry gluten free products, making it a little easier for those with a gluten intolerance. So maybe if you can't figure out why your skin looks the way it looks, it might be time to try a gluten elimination diet! Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suki-kramer/is-glutenfree-the-answer-_b_2906979.html
  21. Celiac.com 08/24/2012 - Tired of the standard choices for gluten-free pasta? If researchers at the University of Brazil have their way, you may soon be enlivening your current gluten-free choices with pasta made from the flour of green bananas. The researchers included Renata Puppin Zandonadi, PhD, Raquel Braz Assunção Botelho, PhD, Lenora Gandolfi, PhD, Janini Selva Ginani, MSc, Flávio Martins Montenegro, MSc, and Riccardo Pratesi, PhD. According to an article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the team found a way to make pasta out of green banana flour. The flour is completely gluten-free, and the pasta compares favorably with pasta made from whole wheat, according to taste test results. Currently, green bananas are regarded an undesirable product, with low commercial value, and limited industrial use. In an effort to change that reality, the researchers set out to develop and analyze a gluten-free pasta made with green banana flour. When they tested their finished product, they found "no significant difference between the modified pasta and standard samples in terms of appearance, aroma, flavor, and overall quality," study researcher Renata Puppin Zandonadi, PhD, of the University of Brazil, said in a statement. For the study, researchers had 50 people without celiac disease, and 25 with celiac disease, taste whole wheat pasta made with eggs, and compare it with pasta made from green banana flour, egg whites, gums and water. Both the test group with celiac disease and the group without celiac disease reported that the banana flour pasta tasted better overall than the whole wheat pasta. If the project pans out, it could be a win-win-win, offering banana growers and pasta product makers a way to expand their markets, and offering consumers of gluten-free pasta a new and delicious alternative. What do you think about the idea of gluten-free pasta made from green bananas? Share your comments below. Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  22. Celiac.com 07/25/2012 - While a great deal of progress has been made with gluten-free food over the last ten years, many celiacs still feel that they are 'missing out' on gluten-containing foods. Fadi Aramouni, professor of food science at Kansas State University is working to change this through extensive research and testing on sorghum, as well as other wheat alternatives. Sorghum is an appealing alternative to wheat because it is already widely produced in the United States (it is primarily used as feed). The problem is that sorghum is different from wheat, and requires different processing methods to yield food products that are comparable to their wheat counterparts. Aramouni and his team of students and researchers began their search for a non-gluten wheat substitute by carefully inspecting the six varieties of sorghum that are grown in Kansas. Qualities such as grain hardness, dough quality, stretching and rolling qualities, protein, carbohydrates and fiber content as well as taste and look of the finished product were all considered. According to Aramouni, this stage of their research yielded an important discovery: the milling stage dramatically alters the properties of sorghum flour. Different particle sizes yield different results, so the consistency and taste of sorghum-based foods can be modulated before they are even prepared or cooked. In addition to the taste and consistency, Aramouni's team also found that particle size alters sorghum's glycemic index, so it is possible that a very specific milling practice could make products healthier, perhaps even compared to other gluten-free wheat alternatives like corn and rice. Along with the grain science and industry department at Kansas State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Manhattan, Kansas, Aramouni and his team have developed a variety of sorghum-based tortillas, waffle ice cream cones, breads and Belgian waffles. Time and many taste tests will tell whether Aramouni's research will pay off in the form of more appetizing gluten-free products, but at the very least he and his team are helping us understand that is not just about what grains you use, but how they are processed. Source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/research-with-gluten-alternatives-shows-promise-for-kansas-sorghum-farmers-and-consumers
  23. Celiac.com 01/06/2012 - The same ultrasound technology that helps doctors and expectant parents to view a developing baby might soon literally mean a better gluten-free bun in the oven. That's because engineers researching how ultrasound could be used to improve industrial baking have received a UK government grant of £500,000 (about $725,000 U.S. dollars) to commercialize their technology. The grant from the Technology Strategy Board will support the 25-month project,which will be led by food ingredient manufacturer Macphie of Glenbervie and involve Piezo Composite Transducers, Mono Bakery Equipment and Fosters Bakery. The engineers, based at Heriot-Watt University, say their technique reduces processing time and improves energy usage, reduces wastage and improves the texture of gluten-free products. They declined to give details about the exact nature of their technology, and how it worked. However, they did say that ultrasonic waves helped baking dough to regulate its energy and mass balance, which prevents air pockets from forming and helped protect the structure of the dough against collapse. Research leader Dr Carmen Torres-Sánchez said that the technology would allow bakers to create products that met current demand for specific ingredients, but which would be much more aesthetically or texturally attractive. For example, she said, ‘[t]here is a lot of pressure on bakers to reduce salt content and that can affect production, causing an imbalance in osmotic pressure so that the dough becomes very sticky…without gluten, products can collapse and look bad. We can use this technology to tailor the texture of products.’ The lab has researched and developed the technique through several feasibility studies. It is based on methods usually used to control the porosity of industrial materials such as foaming polymer. ‘The big question now is how to scale up the technology,’ said Torres-Sánchez. ‘We’ve been doing semi-continuous batches; now we need to use it continuously, producing up to 1,000 loaves in 30 minutes.’ The team also needs to further examine whether the technique can save energy proportionally as it is scaled up. Torres-Sánchez hopes the project will give rise to ovens and other bakery equipment with built-in ultrasonic technology that can easily be controlled as products are baked. Source: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/production-engineering/news/ultrasound-could-improve-the-efficiency-of-industrial-baking/1010813.article
  24. Celiac.com 05/28/2010 - Celiac disease research is linking Irritable Bowel Syndrome with gluten intolerance and doctors are recommending IBS sufferers, especially those with diarrhea-predominant IBS, to get tested for gluten issues or celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. The source of this being gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, often affecting the entire body and manifesting various physical and mental symptoms, and a gluten-free diet is the simple treatment for this disease. New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that people with IBS are four times more likely to have celiac disease than those without IBS. Doctors, often uneducated about celiac disease or improperly taught that its symptoms are dramatic, don’t associate the common symptoms of IBS, stomachaches, bloating, fatigue, and diarrhea, with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. In the January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the American College of Gastroenterology began recommending that doctors screen patients who manifest symptoms of IBS for celiac disease as well. The diagnosis is easy to test for. Simple blood tests detect the disease over ninety percent of the time. The diagnosis is then confirmed by an upper endoscopy. A small, flexible tube is slipped into the mouth of the sedated patient, down his esophagus and stomach and into the first part of the small intestine, where biopsies are taken and then examined for changes seen in celiac disease. After a correct diagnosis is made, people with IBS who are also celiac can begin the rapid road to recovery with a gluten-free diet. As people become more aware of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, gluten-free foods and gluten-free cooking become more and more available. There are now many delicious gluten-free recipes available for favorite foods and desserts such as gluten-free pizza, gluten-free muffins, and gluten-free cupcakes. Adults and children alike who are gluten intolerant can still enjoy a gluten-free balanced diet with a variety of gluten-free choices. In the U.S., a slightly increased rate of celiac diagnosis among adults has already lead to increased support. Gluten-free foods and gluten-free recipes are more readily available than ever. The Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) assists in the mutually beneficial relationship between people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance and restaurants, resulting in an increase in the number of restaurants which can provide service to people following a gluten-free diet while increasing their patronage. Participating restaurants are able to provide gluten-free meals. As more and more people are diagnosed with gluten intolerance, their list of participating restaurants will surely grow. However, the U.S. remains behind in celiac awareness. This probably has something to do with the fact that celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease that the government doesn’t support with research grants. Centers such as Dr. Green’s Celiac Disease Research Center are one-hundred percent dependent on charitable donations or university funds. Even though diagnosis is slightly up for celiac adults, this isn’t enough to raise awareness and bring relief for the three million people who suffer from celiac disease, nearly ninety-seven percent of whom don’t even know the cause of their painful symptoms. With increased diagnosis, we will surely see increased support, and soon the celiac community will be able to enjoy the same quality of life and food and cooking options which is enjoyed by, for instance, the lactose-intolerant community. If you have been diagnosed with IBS or have similar symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor today to get tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It may just bring you the relief you’ve been looking for all these years.
  25. Celiac.com 03/22/2010 - The main cause for gluten intolerance continues to puzzle scientists, but pathogenesis theories include both genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers, like a virus or infection. For the first time, scientists working with the Academy of Finland’s Research Program on Nutrition, Food, and Health have found genes in the body that are associated both with the immune system and with the body's ability to properly digest gluten in the intestinal tract. Gluten intolerance arises from an autoimmune reaction in the small intestine to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Academy Research Fellow Paivi Saavalainen, a veteran researcher in hereditary risk factors for gluten intolerance, says that "some of the genes we have identified are linked with human immune defense against viruses. This may indicate that virus infections may be connected in some way with the onset of gluten intolerance.” Data shows that rates of celiac disease in America have increased more than 400% since World War II. Meanwhile, a Finnish scientist internationally known for his gluten research says that the number of people in Finland who suffer from gluten intolerance has doubled over the last two decades. Since the early 1980s, the percentage of Finns with gluten intolerance has risen from about 1 percent of adults to about 2 percent, according to Professor Markku Mäki, head of a research project in the Academy of Finland's Research Program on Nutrition, Food and Health. "We've already seen a similar trend emerge earlier on where allergies and certain autoimmune disorders are concerned. Screening has shown that gluten intolerance occurs in 1.5 per cent of Finnish children and 2.7 per cent of the elderly. The higher figure for older people is explained by the fact that the condition becomes more frequent with age," says Mäki. For the immune study, when researchers scanned the genetic maps of more than 9400 celiac patients, they found areas of immune system disturbance. Their evidence also indicated that genes connected with the inability to digest gluten were also connected with other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Saavalainen and his team have succeeded in localizing risk genes in both individual patients and entire families, which adds weight to the notion that gluten intolerance is inherited. The researchers are hoping to use the genetic information to craft better screening tests for gluten intolerance, as up to 75% of people with gluten intolerance remain undiagnosed due to mild or atypical symptoms, and many with condition may unwittingly suffer damage to their intestinal villi. Professor Maki points out that many present first with iron deficient, or folic acid deficient, anemia. Source: Academy of Finland
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