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Celiac Disease Research
Honors Experience
Dan Geiser
Nov 8th-Dec 2nd
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a life-long genetically based auto-immune disease
triggered by gluten from the diet
It is said to cause painful, “inflammation of the proximal small intestine in
response to ingested gluten from wheat, rye, and barley (Escott).”
Auto-immune responses can occur at any age or at any time. Sometimes
people that have Celiac’s don’t experience symptoms until later in life (Van
Therefore a very elusive disease
Between 1-100 to 1-130 people have it or go undiagnosed (Van Walleghen).
What’s going on
– Bodies own cells attack itself
• Upon gliadin and glutenin release
(gluten proteins)
– T-Cells responsible for all
immune responses attack
inappropriately at intestinal
absorption sites.
• This causes villous atrophy
(unintended villi growth –
• Inflammation
• Decreased villi numbers
• Decreased absorptive power due
to elongated crypts causing
Main antigen presenter for CD: Tissue
- In high quantities in tissue and blood
this would be the main calling card for
CD diagnosis
Structure of Gluten
33-mer – made from gliadins and
“Structurally, it is relatively poorly
digested due to high level of proline
and glutamine residues (Guandalini).”
Main amino acid sequences that cause
damage in wheat (
– Pro-Ser-Gln-Gln
– Gln-Gln-Gln-Pro
Can be highly resistant to break down
in the intestines
– No Proteolytic Cleavage: No
activation so the structure sits in
the gut
– Might contribute with the Immune
response that Celiac suffers
Signs and Symptoms
Only 0.5%-1.0% of the United States Population has CD (Fellstone)
Asymptomatic – Sometimes does not show symptoms or shows later in life
- Can be spurred on by environmental factors (Van Walleghen)
• Diarrhea
• Flatulence
• Bloating like IBS
• Steatorrhea – Excess of fat in feces
• Weight Loss
• Stomatitis – inflammation of the mouth and lips
• Anemia
Pain experienced is relatively individual – “For me I know when I eat something
that has gluten immediately. Afterwards it takes me at least five days or less to
recover. It takes all of the energy out of me (Van Walleghen).”
Celiac Awareness
• Mainstream Diet and Condition
– “Contains gluten” on food labels in
many countries has become
mandatory (Fellstone).
- FDA labeling mandatory for all
allergies in food production
Mandatory allergen clean outs
– 1st gluten-free diet appeared in
1963 by Willem-Karel Dicke
• Proved certain types of flour
can cause CD relapse
- “Gluten-free products are easier
to find due to fad diets. In the
past finding reliable products was
hard (Van Walleghen).”
Celiac Awareness Cont.
• Things to look out
Products must contain gluten level
of less than or equal to 20
Level at which wont cause damage to
Depends on how much you eat though!
(Van Walleghen)
Not all products are 100% glutenfree
Do research- Check if production facility
uses the same equipment for making GF
products and GC products
In restaurants have cooks switch
Cross-contamination can occur if not!
Making CD Sufferers Lives
• Gluten-Free Beer
Breweries such as “Bard’s Brewery”
has been making sensory pleasing
sorghum-based beer. This beer is both
please to CD suffers and nonsufferers.
Gluten-Free Bread
Possible– but has it’s sensory flaws
for good looking bread. One flaw
present is that gluten-free flower is
wheat based. This unavoidable flaw
can affect the health of those with CD
Thoughts of using gluten-imitating
ingredients in bread is/are highly
Use of many gluten-free flours will provide
the visoelastic function of real gluten in
Gluten Tests You Can Buy
• Tests for gliadin content, crosscontamination etc.
• $100 or less
• User error possible? (Van Walleghen)
Why Do I Care?
Undergrad research opportunities within Dietetics programs are few and far
– This project was/is a chance to learn about a popular health problem and topic
while making a product in which those with CD can enjoy
• Gluten-Free Beer
The field of Food Science and the food industry is always looking for
innovations of already existing products.
– Finding new ways to make products better in terms of nutrition and taste
– Expanding the availability of a product to other people
– Market products in different ways
• By doing research on CD and making Gluten-Free Beer I’m doing all of these things
Passion and Education Combo
– Brewing and Nutrition intertwine within this project. Taking my passion and
education and combining them makes a great experience!
Why I Care Cont.
• Food For All
– I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the same food and drink
as everybody else. Food/Drink is just as much an experience as it is
sustenance and everybody should take part in that social gathering.
• i.e. – Beer should be made available to those with gluten intolerances. The
beer should be acceptable in taste and quality and be able to be enjoyed by
all. This way everyone (gluten stricken or not) can enjoy a beer!
• Possible Career Move?
– Brewing is a huge passion of mine. If I can create innovative products
hopefully others will take notice and want to invest in me. I hope one
day to work in a brewery and make great beer!
Escott-Stump, Sylvia. "Celiac Disease." Nutrition and Diagnosis-related
Care. Seventh ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams
& Wilkins, 2008. 414-19. Print.
Fellstone, Diane S. Gluten Properties, Modifications and Dietary
Intolerance. New York: Nova Science, 2011. Print.
Guandalini, Stefano, and Mala Setty. "Celiac Disease." University of
Chicago - Gastroenterology Section (2008): 707-12. Pub Med. Web. 10 Oct.
• Lafiandra, D., S. Masci, and R. D'Ovidio. "Effects of Rye and Barley
on Coeliac Disease." The Gluten Proteins. Cambridge, UK: Royal
Society of Chemistry, 2004. 398-401. Print.
Van Walleghen, Emily, Dr. "Van Walleghen Celiac Disease Interview."
Personal interview. 31 Oct. 2014.