Some years have passed since the first time gluten enzyme pills showed up in the news. Alternative treatments to a gluten-free diet have been under research since the first time the condition was diagnosed. It is important to keep researching possible solutions and ways to counter or simply stop celiac disease since technological advances play an essential part in medical research, which may end up in new and effective ways to treat all kinds of chronic conditions. And, it is very likely that sooner or later a definite way to stop celiac disease completely will come up.
But while that solution is developed, a gluten-free diet seems to be the only viable way to treat the disease. It is true that a gluten enzyme pill that allows celiac patients to eat anything without taking into account if their food includes gluten or not would be not only a great success in the market, but also a miracle.
Having a Strict Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten enzyme pills are advertised as a way to aid the digestive process, but they do not replace a strict gluten-free diet. If they do not replace their diet with a strict gluten-free diet (which is the only fully effective treatment known to date) then they cannot be considered as being treated effectively.
Also there are plenty of doubts regarding what produces the symptoms displayed by celiac people, which one of the components of wheat triggers the inflammation of the small intestine, and none of the pills currently sold in the market can completely block the effect of gluten in the digestive system. It happens the same way with those who are gluten sensitive and who have not been diagnosed as celiac patients. This pill does not offer any kind of solution for both cases.
Why Don’t These Pills Have Any Effect on Celiac Patients?
There are pills that help control lactose intolerance, so why can’t celiac patients benefit from a pill? The answer is quite simple: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and not a feeding disorder. Just a small amount of gluten can trigger the autoimmune process in an “invisible” way.
In other similar disorders like lactose intolerance, and is just an accumulation of sugar that cannot be deluded due to the lack of an enzyme called lactase, the immune system has no kind of participation in this process. But when it comes to celiac disease, the entire process is different. Difficulties come when the small intestine is unable to digest gluten, causing a self-defense reaction in the system which is characterized by inflammation and the production of antibodies.
What these gluten enzyme pills do is spread enzymes that help digest gluten by “breaking” the substance but they are not able to reduce all the gluten consumed and therefore guarantee an allergic reaction will not be produced if food with gluten is consumed. Although every day, there are technological advances that allow these pills to be more developed and have a better performance in the bodies of celiac patients, they are not effective enough and do not enable celiac people to break their dietary regime.
The Future of Gluten Enzyme Pills
It is uncertain if it will be possible to develop a pill that can completely stop the effect of gluten in the small intestine. The truth is that right now there are not any pills that can possibly cut off the effect of gluten in celiac people, so currently it is not possible to replace gluten-free diets with magic pills. However, some have been developed in order to complement dietary regimes and have proved to be very helpful. Science does not surrender and every day a new formula is developed and set to be tested, some of them even using saliva and other natural components that are suspected to have some kind of participation in the digestion of gluten.
In view of this, although these pills cannot substitute a gluten-free diet, they offer a wide array of benefits. Among the most relevant advantages found in the use of gluten enzyme pills, these ones can be mentioned:
- Celiac disease causes a lot of problems regarding nutrition, especially when it has been diagnosed recently. As these pills have a single target assisting celiac people, there is a number of nutrients that can be very beneficial for newly diagnosed patients, some of these nutrients are: vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D and iron.
- They are also a very good source of enzymes and minerals, as vitamins and other substances, minerals and enzymes are very important especially for new patients that need to get in control.
- They do help the digestive process to be smoother.
A large percentage of people with celiac disease, have 2 or 3 other issues already developed that are related to autoimmune disorders. Some of these disorders can be affected by components of the pill, for this reason it is very recommended to get a blood test and check for these kind of deficiencies and if the nutrients contained in the pills can help.
It is Important to Read the Small Print
None of these pills state that they are able to take the place of a gluten-free diet, even though they are commercialized as they do. It is not true and they have to state it clearly somewhere in their labels. Also, these pills need to be tested in order to be sold but they have not had any kind of major study and if they have, they have not been tested for a long-term suppression of symptoms.
It is very clear that if a pill that is effective enough to neutralize the effects of gluten in a celiac person is developed, they will be prescribed worldwide and the medical industry would be earning millions of dollars. But that also raises the following questions: Would it be more money than the amount they produce per year with gluten-free food? Is that a reason why a cure for celiac disease has not been discovered yet?