Apparently scientists are working on a new pill that will allow Coeliacs to eat gluten. Too good to be true? More than likely.
I think most of us that are suffering from Coeliac, or a gluten intolerance dream about having a pill that can make us feel normal, even if just for a few hours. To be able to go out with friends and not have to scrutinise the menu and interrogate the chefs to make sure you can eat safely, or go for a take away without worrying about possible cross contamination, or to just eat one last chocolate eclair.
For years anyone suffering with lactose intolerance has been able to take lactase enzymes, which allow suffers to eat lactose and be able to properly digest it, unlike if they ate it without the pill, all they have to do is take it before eating and they can eat that giant ice cream sundae thats been starring at them, but there is nothing similar for gluten.
Well now their could be. Dr Hoon Sunwoo of the University of Alberta has been working on a pill for the last 10 years after seeing how Coeliac affected a friend, the pill apparently works by taking antibodies from egg yolk which coats gluten as it passes into the intestine protecting the sufferer from gluten side affects. This miracle pill has passed safety clinical trials and is expected to begin the next stage of trials next year. But what are the possible pros and cons? These are the first ones that come to mind for us.Pros/Possible Pros
- Allow consumption of gluten - I'm sure thats what we all want!
- Go out with friends without worrying about cross contamination - well that ties in with the one above really
- Prevents intestinal damage - bye bye flattened villi
- It's likely it will have to be taken 15 mins to 2 hours before gluten consumption - lactase enzymes are taken 15 mins to 1 hour before consumption of lactose so these will likely be similar
- The worry of it waring off before you eat - So you took your pill before you left for the restaurant, your meals delaying, its over an hour gone now....will it still work or are you going to be seeing a lot of you best friend, the toilet?
- Are their any side effects to the pill? - something we won't know until all testing and trials are complete
- No good for vegans - you're following a vegan diet, but these contain egg yolk enzymes, I get the feeling these won't be suitable for vegans
- Not a long term solution - I don't know about anyone else but I wouldn't like to be taking them every few hours so I can always eat gluten, which also leads to the idea of...
- Will we become resistant to them over time?
- It prevents damage to intestine but will it stop any of the other effects gluten has on some people? - I'm fatigued enough as it is without adding gluten fatigue back in too
- Will people with egg allergies be able to take them? - they do contain part of the yolk afterall
There are a lot of questions to answer about the pill and still a lot of research to be conducted before the public will get their hands on it, it is likely at the moment that Canada will get it by 2018, with United States applying for approval after that, UK and everywhere else will no doubt follow after this.
The question is would you take this pill when it is available? I'm not sure what I would do yet, I don't like medication and my anxious side makes me nervous of trying it (I still have a stack of lactase enzymes from when I couldn't tolerate lactose that I didn't even try!) so I'm likely to stick to just eating gluten free, but on a brave day who knows, maybe for a special occasion, I may try it out. What would you do? Let us know in the comments!