Can barley actually treat celiac disease?

July 2, 2010

Can barley actually treat celiac disease?


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Despite the recommended life-long exclusion of wheat, barley and rye individuals with celiac disease follow, the actual effects of rye in celiac disease have not been extensively studied.

A group of Finnish investigators set out to observe whether rye secalin* is as harmful as wheat gliadin in the activation of the toxic reactions in vitro in intestinal epithelial cell models. Indeed, the investigators did find that secalin is as harmful as gliadin in that it caused epithelial cell layer permeability, tight junctional protein occludin and ZO-1 distortion and actin reorganization.

The investigators then studied the effects of germinating barley enzyme in the degradation of secalin and gliadin peptides and discovered that all toxic reactions caused by secalin improved.

The study concluded that germinating enzymes from barley might play a role in future treatments of celiac disease and even in the processing of foods safe for individuals with celiac disease.

*(secalin is the protein found in the grain rye)

Read more about the study published in Clinical & Experimental Immunology here.

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