Gluten-free will never taste as good as the regular stuff. But if you’ve among the more than 2 million people in the U.S. alone with celiac disease or have some form of gluten intolerance, any safe alternative to your favorite foods was worth the sacrifice in taste and texture.
Well, get ready to eat without consequences again.
Scientists at the University of Alberta have engineered a pill using the yolks of chicken eggs that protects the small intestine from being damaged by the protein gliadin, the problematic part of gluten for celiacs.
“This supplement binds with gluten in the stomach and help to neutralize it, therefore providing defense to the small intestine, limiting the damage gliadin causes,” explains Dr. Hoon Sunwoo, who began his research after learning that a friend of his suffered from celiac disease.
The condition is five times more common now than it was 50 years ago, though there is no clear explanation of why. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include anemia, headaches, bloating and fatigue. And because gluten, most commonly found in wheat, rye and barley, is also frequently used to add texture to other foods, it’s not always obvious what celiacs should avoid.
The pill is undergoing testing in Canada and could be available there within three years, after which it will be submitted to regulatory agencies in the U.S. and abroad.