How can we test for Gluten-Free Diet compliance?
Until now, practical methods of monitoring gluten-free diet compliance or isolating an outbreak of gluten-related symptoms have not been available. Gluten-free diet adherence is found to be challenging for many individuals, as it often requires reliance on others- such as members of the food industry- to be well-informed about the nature of gluten exposure and the regulations surrounding gluten-free products.
In a 2016 study, 91% of participants reported gluten exposure occurring at least once a month, with cross-contamination often unsuspected until a reaction had occurred.
It would therefore greatly improve the lives of those who experience gluten-related issues to have a means of monitoring their gluten-free diet compliance, in addition to having a safeguard for cross-contamination such as GluteGuard.
This area of research is advancing rapidly- as tested in a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2012, ‘gluten-derived peptides could be sensitively detected in human faeces in positive correlation with the amount of gluten intake’. To develop an accurate and short-term marker of gluten-free diet compliance, the study enrolled 53 gluten-sensitive patients and 26 healthy patients to complete a gluten challenge. It also demonstrated that, even after ‘treatment with gastric and pancreatic enzymes’, gliadin remained undigested and present in faecal samples.
After the consumption of a gluten-containing diet, all subjects showed gluten excretion in faeces with values exceeding that of gluten-free standards; indicating that, even for healthy individuals, gluten is a protein that is too complex to digest completely.
The capabilities of these new faecal gluten analysis tests provide an ‘accurate and non-invasive method’ of directly and quantitatively assessing gluten exposure. Until now, methods such as self-reporting, food interviews or serological testing have been largely unreliable or invasive. Commercially-available faecal gluten analysis kits are therefore an excellent way for individuals to monitor their gluten-free diet compliance and to alert them for times when an enzyme supplement safeguard could be necessary.
1. Silvester, et. al., 2016, ‘Symptomatic suspected gluten exposure is common among patients with coeliac disease on a gluten-free diet’, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 6, p. 612.
2. Comino, et. al., 2012, ‘Monitoring of gluten-free diet compliance in celiac patients by assessment of gliadin 33-mer equivalent epitopes in feces’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 95, no. 3, pp. 670-677.
3. Comino et. al., 2016, ‘Fecal Gluten Peptides Reveal Limitations of Serological Tests and Food Questionnaires for Monitoring Gluten-Free Diet in Celiac Disease Patients’, The American Journal Of Gastroenterology, 111, 10, pp. 1456-1465.
Contributor – Georgie, Glutagen.