People with gluten sensitivity are required to avoid all food items containing a gluten protein complex, which means eliminating every food item that contains wheat. It is extremely difficult to maintain such a strict diet regime, especially when traveling or going out for dinner with friends or spouses. Often, such conditions cause unintentional ingestion of gluten. Scientists have found a new gluten intolerance treatment method that can prevent the health problems caused by such cases of intentional or accidental exposure to gluten.
The new treatment encompasses of the Aspergillus niger-derived prolyl endoprotease (AN-PEP) enzyme that functions to prohibit the intestinal absorption of gluten. It is proposed that administration of the enzyme pills can allow people with gluten allergy to eat small amounts of gluten without experiencing any symptoms of discomfort viz. bloating, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
The study was presented by Dr. Julia König from the School of Medical Sciences, University of Örebro, Sweden, at the Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2017.
Earlier reports on the role of AN-PEP in breaking down gluten upon intragastric infusion led Dr. König and her team to conduct a thorough study regarding the same (in real-time conditions). The team checked the ability of AN-PEP in preventing an expected gluten-specific allergic response in 18 gluten-sensitive individuals. These individuals volunteered to participate in the study by consuming gluten-rich food (porridge with wheat cookies).
As per EurekAlert, the researchers tested the therapeutic efficiency of AN-PEP in low and high doses against placebo-controlled gluten-sensitive individuals. The levels of residual gluten present in the stomach and small intestine of these individuals were measured. It was found that the percentage of gluten in high AN-PEP dose group was reduced by 81 percent, while in the low AN-PEP dose group it was reduced by 87 percent.
The researchers further emphasized that AN-PEP was not tested on celiac disease patients due to the severity of symptoms associated with ingestion of even extremely small amounts of gluten, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Furthermore, they also emphasized that the treatment does not intend to encourage gluten-sensitive people to eat gluten-based food items on a regular basis. Rather, it is meant to be used in the event of emergency or occasional unintentional gluten ingestion.