Coeliac Disease can be debilitating to those that have it and is a significant food safety issue for all food businesses. The problem is the protein called gluten, which causes severe auto immune reactions in some people. These reactions can range from discomfort to bloating to flatulence to loss of parts of the bowel to malnutrition to potential death.
This is the reason that gluten free food is now considered to be mainstream, and can be seen everywhere in supermarkets in places like restaurants, aged care centres and cafes.
Food businesses must have controls in place to ensure that they meet the Food Standards Code requirement that there be no gluten present in a food if there is a claim that it is gluten free.
So the discovery of a new molecule may be a god send not only for those with Coeliac Disease but for the whole food industry as well.
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada, have found that the molecule, elafin, is significantly lower in those with Coeliac disease than those without it. The researchers at Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute published the results of this study inThe American Journal of Gastroenterology – April edition.
The study has found that Elafin reduces the enzymatic reaction that makes the peptides derived from gluten toxic. This significantly reduces the impact that gluten has on those with Coeliac Disease.
Elena Verdu, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, said; “People who have to strictly avoid gluten for life often find this very difficult due to these hidden sources. There is a great need for a therapy that will protect patients with coeliac disease from accidental contaminations. This would add flexibility to a restrictive lifelong diet, and increase patients’ quality of life and potentially accelerate the healing of coeliac lesions.”
Although this research was focused on coeliac disease, there is potential for the results to be helpful in other conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome
Written by Rachelle Williams – the Green Food Safety Coach