Wheat with ‘built‑in defense’ against gluten could make bread safe for people with celiac disease

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Image: Rockwell Nutrition
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Researchers at Washington State University have created a new, genetically distinct variety of wheat that’s safer for people with celiac disease, opening the door for new treatments and healing potential for the staple grain.

For more than 2 million U.S. people who suffer from celiac disease, traditional staples like wheat bread and pasta are off the menu.

With celiac, the body’s immune system reacts when we eat gluten — the protein that gives breads, pasta and cereal their chewy, crunchy texture — causing nausea, cramps, malnutrition and other health problems. There is no treatment for celiac, other than avoiding foods made with wheat or eating an enzyme supplement with every meal.

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[The research team] developed a new genotype of wheat with built‑in enzymes designed to break down the proteins that cause the body’s immune reaction. Their discovery, published in the January issue of Functional and Integrative Genomics, opens the door to new treatments for celiac and for new wheat crops with a built‑in defense against the disease.

Simulating the human body’s digestive tract, scientists tested gluten extracts from the experimental grain and found that it had far fewer levels of the disease-provoking proteins. The enzymes reduced the amount of indigestible gluten by as much as two thirds.

Read full, original article: Healing grain: Scientists develop wheat that fights celiac disease

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