French scientists have found that Elafin, a human protein with anti-inflammatory properties, may be helpful in stopping gluten-related problems.
According to NutraIngredients-USA.com, researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have shown that Elafin is less abundant in patients with celiac disease than in healthy people.
Their research also found that Elafin can block the action of enzymes in the gut that prevent people who have celiac disease from breaking down gluten in wheat products — which is why sufferers must eat gluten-free foods.
Elafin is able to interact with enzymes responsible for the abnormal breakdown of gluten and reduces gluten toxicity, they said.
The scientists were also able to develop a way to deliver the missing Elafin in celiac patients with help of a harmless probiotic bacterium that is often present in food — Lactococcus lactis — that could pave the way to new therapies for celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
In the study, the scientists gave the bacterium to gluten-intolerant mice and found the Elafin delivered by the probiotic decreases significantly the inflammatory reaction.
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease that occurs in individuals genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance because they do not harbor the enzymes required to degrade gluten during digestion.