For years, gluten intolerance has stopped millions of people enjoying some of the most delicious foods around, but scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada think they've found a way to treat the disorder.
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They have created a natural supplement pill, based on yolks from chicken eggs, that stops sufferers absorbing gliadin – the component of gluten they have difficulty digesting. Normally, the gliadin damages the absorptive surface of the small intestine.
“This supplement binds with gluten in the stomach and help to neutralize it, therefore providing defence to the small intestine, limiting the damage gliadin causes,” explained Hoon Sunwoo, a lead researcher in the study.
“It is our hope that this supplement will improve the quality of life for those who have coeliac disease and gluten intolerance.”
Symptoms of gluten intolerance, also known as coeliac disease, include anaemia, headaches, bloating and fatigue. It affects around one in every 100 people in the UK, and means they can't indulge in foods like bread, pizza and pasta. They also can't drink beer, which is known to be Britain's favourite drink.
Coming to a pharmacy near you
The next step for Sunwoo and his team of researchers is to put the pill through an efficacy trial, which they hope will get under way within the next year.
They have teamed up with IGY and Vetanda Group through an agreement with TEC Edmonton to bring the supplement to market if the results are positive.
If all goes according to plan, it could be made available in three years time, and not just in Canada, but around the world.