Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. Celiac disease occurs in the digestive system when people cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found primarily in wheat.
"This is the first time that a wheat flour-derived product is shown to not be toxic after being given to celiac patients for 60 days," said Luigi Greco, MD, PhD, of the University of Napes, Italy, and lead author of the study. "Our findings support further research that explores therapies that could reduce the toxicity of gluten for celiac patients beyond the standard gluten-free diet."
Gluten is also primarily found in barley and rye, but may be in everyday products such as soy sauce and salad dressing, as well as some medications and vitamins. Celiac disease was, until recently, thought to be a rare disease. However, recent research has shown that as many as three million people in the U.S. may have celiac disease.
In this study, doctors evaluated the safety of daily administration of baked goods made from a hydrolyzed form of wheat flour to patients with celiac disease. The doctors fermented wheat flour with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases; this process decreases the concentration of gluten.