Gluten-friendly wheat dangers for celiac disease

Lana Bandoim's picture

Researchers are trying to develop a new type of wheat that will have less gluten, but doctors are concerned people with celiac disease may be entering a dangerous territory by consuming this type of product. The wheat still contains a small amount of gluten, and it may have a negative impact on people who are severely sensitive to the protein. There are concerns about this designer grain that leave medical experts questioning its safety.

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Carmen Lamacchia, a scientist at the University of Foggia in Italy, is developing wheat with less gluten. She has been able to reduce the gluten content to 80 ppm (parts per million), but this is still higher than the FDA’s recommended 20 ppm. Lamacchia hopes her research will help people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities eat this grain again, yet there are several issues that are being debated.

Dr. Alessio Fasano believes the new wheat will not be embraced by the celiac community because 80 ppm will be viewed as too much gluten. Carmen Lamacchia states that early tests indicate the immune system is not reacting to 80 ppm, so it should be considered safe for celiac disease. However, other experts are not convinced this is a safe grain and hesitate to recommend it. They believe the damage to the intestines may build up over time and would prefer to see more clinical trials before it hits store shelves.

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Carmen Lamacchia is not the first person to tackle the problem of removing gluten from wheat, and research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals scientists have been able to modify the plant to stop it from producing gluten in future generations. They noted that they were still able to make bread despite the elimination of the protein. Scientists continue to work on changing current grains and making them more gluten-friendly.

Read more about celiac disease:
Celiac disease tips for making bread at home
Celiac disease apps help create gluten-free meal plans

Image: Rebecca Siegel/Wikimedia Commons

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Comments

I am not Celiac, but I discovered that I was sensitive to Gluten after doing a 3 month challenge. I have reacted to "Gluten Free" bread. So I know for sure that I would react to 80 ppm of gluten. Lets quit messing with nature.