Do you have mild gluten intolerance? Are you suffering from full-blown celiac disease? Well, scientists have good news for you – there is hope for people living with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. In recent clinical studies, scientists have eliminated nanoparticles containing gliadin that show promising results in inducing immune tolerance to gluten.
Studies suggest that 1 in 133 Americans, or almost 1% of the population is affected by celiac disease. While data on gluten intolerance is not available, studies suggest an estimated 6% of Americans may be afflicted.
Gluten intolerance is a negative reaction to food with gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. People with gluten intolerance experience discomfort when they eat carbs (with gluten) making meals a sad affair.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten proteins cause damages to the villi of the small intestine, interfering with nutrient absorption from food. Individuals diagnosed with celiac disease must strictly eat a gluten-free diet to get relief from symptoms and to avoid complications in future.
But thanks to the new scientific findings, you may not need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet in future.
The new scientific discovery
People with celiac disease are actually intolerant to gliadin – a protein in gluten – that causes the negative immune response. And gluten is composed of 70% gliadin. So, consistent exposure to gliadin is likely to be disastrous for your intestine over a period of time, as it will lead to leaky gut and chronic inflammation.
Intolerance to gliadin is caused due to a failure of the immune system in regulating the gliadin-specific T lymphocytes, which are faulty white blood cells. But scientists have found a new approach to treatment, wherein the cells can be made to function properly, in clinical trials on mice that had been injected with nanoparticles (referred to as TIMP-GLIA) containing gliadin.
Scientists observed that the celiac disorder mice showed better regulation of gliadin-specific T lymphocytes after injection. They also showed decreased inflammation and tissue damage, and improved signs of gluten tolerance.
Will this treatment work for humans?
Following the promising clinical trials on mice, research is on to see if it works for humans with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. A prominent pharmaceutical company has obtained a license to develop similar treatment for humans. Their recent clinical trials have given encouraging results when the tests on mice were replicated on humans. The study revealed that TIMP-GLIA can effectively suppress the immune system’s response to gluten in human beings.
Findings of this research is great news for the medical community as well as the celiac disease patients. People with celiac disease, who are forced to live with it by adopting a strictly gluten-free diet, will definitely welcome this new finding. Researchers see these findings as a way forward to do more studies to see if this immunotherapy method can be used to treat other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
Meanwhile, gluten intolerant people can experiment with gluten-free products and develop new recipes.