By Rachel Sircy
Some food for thought: An ongoing study is looking into whether or not the fermentation that happens when wheat flour bread dough becomes “sourdough” is enough to break down the gluten proteins in the wheat and make the bread safe to eat for celiacs. According to an article in Gluten Free Living, researchers in Europe have been studying the breakdown of gluten in sourdough bread. Celiac test subjects have eaten sourdough wheat bread on several occasions with no tell-tale auto-immune response, which could mean that a sourdough wheat bread might be created which would be safe for celiacs to eat. Right now, it’s not an option, though, so don’t go out and buy yourself a sourdough loaf if you’re gluten sensitive.
The other interesting part of this study has to do with the bacteria used to ferment sourdough, Lactobacillus. Apparently, it is a powerful way to start breaking down the proteins in wheat that are commonly known as gluten. (For anyone not yet aware “gluten” is not really a single substance, but a group of amino acids that are commonly found together and which are lumped under the name “gluten.”) Some researchers believe that they may be able to find a way to create a medication made of lactobacillus, or of something similar, which could actually break down the proteins in gluten in food being consumed by a celiac patient. This would mean that celiacs may someday be able to consume wheat bread and take a capsule to stave off any reaction to it. I wouldn’t start looking for such a product just yet, but perhaps there is a light at the end of our gluten-free tunnel!
(FYI: There are many products on the market today which claim to be able to break down gluten. I actually discussed some of these products in an earlier blog post, but let me repeat what I said before: None of these products are actually safe for celiac patients. Gluten-Ease and other such products are merely for people who believe that they may be sensitive, or who have a mild-sensitivity. They are NOT safe for anyone who has an auto-immune reaction to gluten. They may give some peace of mind to a celiac who thinks that she may have accidentally consumed some gluten, but they do not actually work to stop an immune response from happening.)