Bacteria, the root of a genetic issue

In Allergy, Celiac Disease, Gluten Free on October 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm

The Wall Street Journal published an article today titled “One Theory Behind Adult-Onset Celiac disease: Gut Bacteria.”  The article focuses on the cause of Celiac disease being triggered in adults, and discusses how bacteria in the stomach could be the root of the problem.

The article, written by Katherine Hobson said, “A person might be born with a genetic predisposition to Celiac disease, but that for years those genes aren’t expressed. Then the gut bacteria changes, perhaps as a result of infection, surgery or antibiotics, triggering the expression of those genes.” The article explains that Celiac disease is not a condition that most people are born with and can develop at any age and at any time.

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The disease is taking its toll greatly on those over 20 years of age and well into their 70s.  It has been proposed for years that Celiac disease, the intolerance to the wheat protein gluten, was a genetic issue that we now know can be triggered later in life.  However, we are now learning that it may not only be a gene that is causing the onset of the disease, but a product of the environments that people are living in. The main cause of all of the autoimmune issues that are developed by celiac is being labeled as bacteria, a common one referred to as small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, or another bacteria known as h pylori. The causes of this disease are numerous, but the development or triggering or Celiac disease by “gut bacteria” seems to be the latest development.  Doctors appear to be discovering by clinical trials that by testing a person at a younger age with the blood test for celiac can be re-tested five to 10 years later, and a significant number of people will have been affected by the disease by way of bacteria. Infection or antibiotics in the elderly make them very susceptible to the disease.  People living with the disease are hopeful that by identifying this problem of the bacteria it will be possible to develop a medication to counteract the symptoms caused by ingesting gluten.



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