Research update: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Research update: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Roughly 1 percent of people have celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is seemingly even more common. Research efforts are underway to gain a better understanding of these conditions.

Some of the research is focused on gaining a better understanding of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. And to find reliable tests to show who might be gluten sensitive. 

Other research is aimed at finding ways to genetically modify wheat and other grains to remove gluten.  While this sounds technological, it is based on long-established plant breeding concepts that may serve us better. The tricky part is figuring out how to remove gluten while maintaining its important function of stabilizing dough as it rises.

The area of research getting the most attention is aimed at finding non-dietary ways of treating and preventing celiac and non-celiac sensitivity. Much of this is focused on zonulin. When gluten comes in contact with the intestine, it stimulates zonulin, which triggers the immune system to react to gluten. The idea is to develop a zonulin-blocker preventing it from triggering the immune system. If successful, this would allow someone who is gluten sensitive the ability to relax their diet. 

All of these concepts are being tested actively. As soon as we know anything more definitive, we will let our readers know.