(RxWiki News) A team of scientists in Italy have found a way to break down gluten in baked goods in order to make it nontoxic for people with celiac disease, or gluten allergy.
Celiac disease is a genetic disease in which people show an allergic immune response to gluten, a protein present in products containing wheat, barley and rye. Some individuals show no symptoms, while others experience digestive problems, abdominal cramps, fatigue and body aches. An estimated three million people in the United States have celiac disease.
A recent study lead by Luigi Greco, MD, PhD of the University of Naples, Italy found that baked goods made with hydrolyzed wheat flour are not dangerous for celiac sufferers. "Hydrolyzed" refers to any protein that is broken down by the means of acids or enzymes.
Dr. Greco and his team fermented the wheat with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases. Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins, while lactobacilli are a type of lactic acid.
This marks the first time a product made with wheat flour has proved non-toxic for a patient with the disease when given to them for two months. This is an important milestone because gluten is not only present in foods, it can also be found in medicines and vitamins.
Baked goods made with this type of hydrolysis process proved to be nontoxic and celiac patients reported no complaints whatsoever after ingesting them. However, further trials will be done to ensure that this technology is a feasible option to create new diet options for those needing to be gluten-free.