Pill May Allow “Gluten Indulgence” for Celiac Sufferers

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Shainhouse_180715A scientist from the University of Alberta may have found a way to improve the quality of life for people living with celiac disease—an auto-immune dysfunction that makes the small intestine hypersensitive to gluten, making it difficult to digest food.

Hoon Sunwoo, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the university, has found a promising solution to temporarily protect those who are medically unable to consume gluten with no risks involved.

Sunwoo has spent the last 10 years developing a pill so that celiac sufferers can enjoy a pizza and beer, or other gluten products, without the resulting consequences of stomach cramps, bloating, gastro-discomfort, headaches, or intestinal damage.

The pill is made from egg yolk antibodies that coat the gluten, allowing it to harmlessly pass through the body. By doing so, affected individuals avoid the risk of painful symptoms and intestinal damage.

Celiacs are to take the pill a few minutes before eating or drinking, and for the following two hours they could enjoy the foods that normally make them sick.

“This is not treating the celiac disease or curing celiac disease,” said Sunwoo in an interview with Edmonton AM host Tim Adams. “It’s just to try to help them improve their quality of life so when they want to socialize with peers or friends [they can].”

Sunwoo warns that the pill is not a long-term solution, so celiac disease sufferers must still adhere to a strict gluten-free lifestyle.

While the pill is still in its preliminary trial stages, it is expected to begin clinical efficacy trials in 2016.

Source for Today’s Article:
CBC News, “Gluten pill may allow celiac disease sufferers to enjoy pizza, beer,” CBC web site July 15, 2015; http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/gluten-pill-may-allow-celiac-disease-sufferers-to-enjoy-pizza-beer-1.3153262.


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Leah Shainhouse, R.D.

About the Author, Browse Leah's Articles

Leah Shainhouse is a Registered Dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario and a member of the Dietitians of Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Honors, in Nutritional Sciences from the University of British Columbia and went on to complete her dietetic training and Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Leah has a strong desire to help shape the lives of individuals through a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys working with people to help... Read Full Bio »