Some fruits may improve gluten tolerance when eaten with cereals

Some evidence suggests consumption of specific enzymes that degrade the proline and glutamine amino acids that make up gluten proteins may help those with coeliac disease. New research carried out at New Zealand’s Riddet Institute has trialled the use of fruit-borne proteases to help break down gluten proteins consumed at the same time.

A stuff.co.nz media report relating to the new research states that, to-date, most of the gluten-specific enzymes used to explore this potential therapy have been of microbial origin. While many are still under development, no viable enzyme therapies are yet available.

The Riddet Institute researchers suggest fruit-borne proteases are a possible alternative to enzymes of microbial origin. In animal trials, they have found green kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), containing the cysteine protease actinidin, broke down gluten proteins into smaller fragments within the gut. It is hoped this action degrades the proteins so they no longer stimulate an immune response in the body.

While further research is required, the study authors believe consumption of fruit containing proline-specific proteases, such as kiwifruit, may prove to be a practical alternative or supplement to a strict gluten free diet for those with coeliac disease.

Reference: Jayawardana et al. 2019 Trends in Food Science & Technology. Vol. 94, Pp 91-97. DOI. 10.1016/j.tifs.2019.10.003