Gluten sensitivity may affect 6-10% of the UK population.
A new study using bread and pasta has shown how two biologically active gluten molecules (named exorphins A5 and C5) are released during digestion and can be absorbed into the blood, potentially affecting the brain and nervous system. As these exorphins have also been found in the spinal fluid of people with autism and schizophrenia, there is speculation that gluten molecules can pass through the intestinal lining into the blood and cross the blood-brain barrier. If proven, this would have profound implications on the treatment and management of people with mental health problems.
How digesting bread and pasta could be affecting our brains
New research reveals the molecules released when real samples of bread and pasta are digested in vitro.
By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten 2/7/15 (Elsevier.com)
Bread and pasta are cast as the villains in many diets; the Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet are well-known carb-cutters (and just three of more than 100 diets listed by WebMD). One of the big talking points when it comes to carbs is gluten, the cause of celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and the more recently discovered non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Research has focused on how pure gluten is broken down into disease-causing molecules that potentially have drug-like effects. However, until now, no studies have shown how digesting real bread and pasta can produce these molecules. A new study published in the journal Food Research International shows for the first time that these biologically active molecules are released by digesting bread and pasta. It also shows how they could survive digestion and pass through the gut lining into the blood.
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