Health & Wellbeing

Egg yolk extract could allow people with celiac disease to eat gluten

Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim
Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim
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Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim
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Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim

If you or someone you know has celiac disease, then you'll know how much it can limit one's diet. Because people with the autoimmune condition have a negative reaction to the gluten in grains such as wheat, rye or barley, that means they can't consume many baked goods, pastas, liquors, or any number of processed foods that use wheat as a binding agent. Soon, however, they may be able to eat whatever they want – if they take a new egg-based supplement first.

The supplement was developed by associate professor Hoon Sunwoo and retired professor Jeong Sim, at Canada's University of Alberta.

Utilizing a compound derived from the yolks of chicken eggs, it binds with gluten in the stomach. This keeps a class of proteins known as gliadin, which is the "problem" component of gluten, from damaging the absorptive surface of the small intestine.

As a result, sufferers of celiac disease (or other forms of gluten intolerance) should be spared the usual symptoms that occur when they consume gluten – these can include headaches, fatigue, bloating and anemia.

Before that can happen, however, the supplement will need to be put through an efficacy trial which is due to take place within a year. It is hoped that a consumer product could subsequently be available in Canada within three years, with a rollout in the US and Europe to follow.

The university has partnered with the UK-based Vetanda Group to commercialize the supplement.

Source: University of Alberta

5 comments
minivini
Yes please!?!?
Scion
Wow. That would be cool. I think the cautious celiac would continue to avoid gluten but being able to reasonably engage in normal social eating with others would be a massive benefit. So many innocuous things contain gluten: sauces, crumb coatings and spice mixes for example. Swallowing a pill prior to ordering and eating dinner at a restaurant would be like magic. Great for those who are not celiac too: we won't have to worry that we are inadvertently poisoning our friends by shouting them to dinner.
IngaDavida
Good idea! I wish they would make something like this for allium (onion/garlic) sufferers too!
AGO
Ok, so you took care of gluten (gliadin), now how about the glycemic index of most breads and the high carbohydrate content? Half an answer to a whole problem.
Bob
Look up the number of diseases that are related to the eating of gluten and you will be totally amazed. Celiac disease symptoms are immediate but gluten sensitivity is difficult to diagnose since the diseases and symptoms can take years to develop but are quite debilitating. Many autoimmune diseases, migraines, muscle and joint pain, allergies, anxiety, autism, ADHD, skin disorders and many others. The connection with gluten has only been recognized in the past five years and much more study is needed. Going gluten free is not a fad but a medical necessity for many people.