Celiac Disease

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November 10, 2013

Vital Gluten and Increased Gluten Content in Wheat [Updated]

By Brent Westra

Note: This post was originally published on Mayo Clinic's Advancing the Science blog on April 1, 2013 and was updated on December 10, 2013.

Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert Joseph Murray, M.D., discusses a recent article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that studied the possibility that increased gluten content in wheat from wheat breeding has led to the increase of celiac disease seen during the latter part of the twentieth century.

The paper concluded that there has not been a change in the relative quantities of gluten in the different wheat varieties in production in the United States.

The study also discussed possible roles for changes in the per capita consumption of wheat flour and the use of vital gluten, a food additive that can be found in most commercial varieties of bread, as well as in many fast foods.

For more information on celiac disease, visit: mayoclinic.org/celiac-disease

Tags: Joseph Murray, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Study Findings, vital gluten


Peter Olins, PhD

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 10, 2013
Posted by @peterolins, Dec 9, 2013

Brent — The recent review by D. Kasarda helps to dispel the common myth that there have been substantial changes in the gluten levels in wheat (over decades or millennia). While the increase in vital wheat gluten has increased significantly in recent decades, it still constitutes a small fraction of overall gluten consumption in the U.S. Taken together, these observations do not support the conclusion that the recent apparent increase in celiac disease prevalence can be accounted for by changes in gluten consumption.

I wonder if your summary might lead some people to reach the opposite conclusion?

Brent Westra

Posts: 15
Joined: May 11, 2011
Posted by @brentwestra, Dec 10, 2013

Thanks for your comment, Dr. Olins. The Kasarda review is actually the study that Dr. Murray is discussing and it is linked in the first paragraph. The post has been edited for clarity regarding the study’s findings. Thanks for your feedback!

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