A recent study that one of our TrulyGlutenFree Facebook family alerted us to (thanks Jan!), gives more weight to my earlier notions that gluten-sensitives – not necessarily coeliacs – can react to more than just the proteins in grains.
In this study, the researchers were thinking in gluten terms specifically about coeliac disease (as always) and found that many of their subjects reacted just as much to non-protein fractions of wheat as they did to the proteins like 33 mer gliadin, the one looked for in mainstream medicine to confer a coeliac diagnosis. For them, they concluded that since people reacted just as much to the non-proteins as they did to the proteins that mainstream medicine doesn’t need to test both.
However, what if some people ONLY react to the non-protein fragments of wheat, or indeed of other grains? Might that be a different type of reaction? Quite possibly. I would say that this research confirms the possibility that people can react to things other than gliadins and proteins in grains, as I have always suspected from casework. This is precisely why in all the TrulyGlutenFree supplement work I was so at pains to ensure there were no grains used at all rather than sticking to the usual ‘no gluten proteins found in the finished product’, which is what is tested for. I have always thought some people are reacting to the starches, for a start. The researchers felt that people may be cross-reacting to the other non-protein fractions as the structure between those and the proteins are so similar (this is why we have Cyrex 4!). It is not inconceivable that if people can cross-react from protein to non-proteins, they can be reacting to starches, is it?
Obviously, I am musing here based on these results and a lot more needs to be done on it, but this goes some way to explaining for me why some people will react to the starches from grains even when a product (food or toiletry, note) says it is ‘gluten free’. We have to remember that the designation ‘gluten free’ simply means less than 20ppm of gliadin – and this is just one of the protein and non-protein fractions people could be reacting in some way to. That’s why I set up ‘truly’ gluten free – where we avoid all the grains and dairy, the main cross-reactive food!
Interesting… you can read the whole study here: