Determining a safe level of gluten intake


Source: The Australian Coeliac – June 2021

Although the only known treatment for coeliac disease is to remove all traces of gluten from the diet, in Europe (and the USA) the use of the term Gluten Free is specified as containing no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. On the other hand, in Australia and New Zealand foods carrying the ‘gluten-free’ label may not contain any detectable gluten.

It is therefore surprising that there have been very few high-quality controlled studies to determine what dose of gluten actually causes harm.

In Australia, a review in 2015 determined that there was inadequate high quality controlled data and Queensland’s Wesley Medical Research is undertaking a new study aiming to define the minimum amount of gluten required to activate the immune response and the associated symptoms in patients with coeliac disease.

Participants will be ‘challenged’ with small amounts of gluten to define at what level their immune system becomes activated in response to oral gluten intake.

The results are expected within 12 months from commencement and will help guide Coeliac Australia’s position on a ‘safe’ level of gluten for those with coeliac disease.