In a very recent study, March 1, 2010, an article entitled “Bifidobacteria inhibit the inflammatory response induced by gliadins in intestinal epithelial cells via modifications of toxic peptide generation during digestion” was published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemisty [2010 Mar 1;109(4):801-7.].
The Spanish researchers utilized different strains of Bifidobacterium, a friendly probiotc found in healthy intestines, to counteract the inflammatory effects of gliadin on intestinal epithelia [cells]. This was an in vitro study meaning that it was done in the laboratory, not in live human or animal subjects.
There are several classic pro-inflammatory markers that the body of a gluten intolerant patient typically produces when exposed to gliadin. However, in this particular study, when cell cultures were inoculated with bifidobacteria first, these inflammatory markers were produced in a much diminished amount. In fact one marker was not produced at all!
This confirms something we’ve been discussing recently and that is the importance of restoring balance to those trillions of microorganisms called the microbiota or probiotics that are responsible for much of the actions of our immune system. And recall that the vast majority, estimated 80%, of our immune system is housed in the gut.
It is my intention with patients to not only diagnose those who shouldn’t be eating gluten but also to restore the health of the intestines of all patients. It is not just the gluten intolerant who suffer from unhealthy intestines. In fact, I believe that it is likely that those people who seems to “develop” a gluten intolerance with age may very well do so as a result of the dwindling health of their GI tract.
So normalizing the function of the GI tract could not only ensure the more optimal health of the gluten intolerant patient, but it might prevent its development in others.
Recall that the immune system is the only defense one has against hostile organisms, toxins, and the like. Ensuring that the immune system is strong and optimally functioning is mandatory for good health. This study confirms that theory well.
It truly only makes sense that supporting the immune system would make the body better to fend out toxic chemicals, which is what gluten is to many.
So please do eliminate gluten from your diet if appropriate, but also get an evaluation of your probiotic population and support that critical population of “good guys” with a human strain of probiotics that suit you best based on the results of your test.
I hope you find this helpful. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
To your good health,