Combining turkey amino acid with probiotics may help heal gluten damage

Tryptophan, the amino acid most commonly associated with turkey, may be a surprising source of relief for celiac disease sufferers, assuming it is combined with certain probiotics. The findings come from McMaster University where researchers report that this combination may help patients recover from gluten-related damage and improve their response to a gluten-free diet.

Celiac disease is a condition in which one's body isn't able to process gluten without the protein triggering a damaging, painful response. Over time, gluten consumption will result in the destruction of one's upper gut lining, leading to nutritional deficiencies, pain, and other problems. The solution is removing gluten from one's diet, but that does little to heal the existing damage.

According to the new study, tryptophan and probiotics may offer something of a solution to this problem, the combination of which was found (using mouse models) to ultimately activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) pathway. This, in turn, was found to reduce gluten-triggered inflammation and improve the response to a gluten-free diet.

The study's lead researcher Professor Elena Verdu explained, "The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, which is difficult to follow, and doesn't always lead to complete recovery of the gut or symptom resolution."

Tryptophan may be a new avenue for treatment to help support those with celiac disease, though more research is needed. Future studies may explore whether giving celiac disease sufferers supplemental tryptophan and certain probiotics may trigger the AhR pathway to improve response to a gluten-free diet.