As an author, researcher, and gluten-free advocate, I work to raise awareness for celiac disease and gluten intolerance because with increased awareness comes more research, more diagnoses, and even better treatments. I’d like to give you an example of how the work of just one researcher, Dr. Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, can make a difference:
In Scientific American, Dr. Fasano poses in his article, “Surprises from Celiac Disease,” the question of why some celiacs develop the disease later than others, even though all celiacs share a genetic predisposition to it.
According to Dr. Fasano, the different onset time among celiacs is associated with the microbiome—that is, the community of bacteria or microbes which live in the digestive tract. Dr. Fasano explains that the microbiome varies among different people and even in the same individual over time. Furthermore, Dr. Fasano says these microbes can have an effect on the genes which are active in their host. Therefore, someone genetically predisposed to celiac disease may have been able to handle gluten for a long time, but upon a shifting of the microbiome, and a subsequent activation of the gluten intolerance gene, the symptoms of celiac disease will appear.
Not only do Dr. Fasano’s studies shed light into a question that has been perplexing researchers for some time, but it also opens the door to a treatment for, or even prevention of, celiac disease—good bacteria for the digestive tract, otherwise known as “probiotics.”
I look forward to hearing more from Dr. Fasano about this fascinating topic!
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.