The unfortunate few who suffer from the symptoms associated with celiac disease have something to be thankful for this holiday season.
Research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the European Research Council proves tryptophan, an amino acid found abundant in a Thanksgiving classic turkey, has the healing properties to ease gut inflammation.
Both head researchers involved in conducting the study share this exciting discovery for future possible therapies to aid those with Crohn’s and celiac disease by incorporating foods rich in tryptophan and probiotics.
Self heal your gut with proper diet
Many people never considered maintaining a healthy gut microbiota to be so important to keeping healthy and facilitating so many important metabolic functions in our bodies until recently. Researcher’s Heather Galipeau and Elena Verdu remind us of the importance of sticking to a specific diet to control inflammation and heal the destruction of the upper gut lining commonplace in celiac averse patients.
Verdu explains further, “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.” Since following a gluten free diet can be difficult for most, especially in times of heightened stress, Galipeau and Verdu found a new way to assist in repairing our digestive systems.
Elena Verdu, who holds the title of the Canada Research Chair in Nutrition, Inflammation and Microbiota highlights the importance of adding foods rich in tryptophan to our diet. “Tryptophan is necessary for many functions in the body and can be broken down by bacteria in the gut, producing bioactive molecules (called “metabolites”) that interact with receptors in the gut lining which control inflammation. One of these receptors is the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR,) and suboptimal activation of this receptor has been implicated in chronic intestinal inflammation, including inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”
The nutritionists’ case study
Verdu and Galipeau discovered the healing potential of introducing tryptophan to our gut microbiota in the following study. When studying mice with the presence of the celiac gene they discovered after they introduced two strains of lactobacilli that facilitate the breakdown of tryptophan and effectively activate the AhR receptors in the gut responsible for controlling inflammation, the healthier their gut microbiota ended up being overall.
What does this mean for treatment in humans dealing with celiac disease?
We believe introducing tryptophan along with probiotics that activate healthy metabolites that protect our gut from uncomfortable inflammation could lead to advanced therapies for those suffering from Crohn’s and celiac to self-heal from the damage gluten has wrought on their sensitive digestive tracts.
The controlled study also featured three different groups of people. The three groups consisted of those with celiac disease, folks on a 2 year long gluten-free diet, and completely healthy patients with no signs of gut damage due to complications related to celiac. The results revealed 3 key findings:
- Celiac patients have lower bacterial metabolism of tryptophan and could not properly stimulate AhR pathways that protect the gut from becoming too inflamed from ingested gluten irritants.
- Folks on the 2 year gluten free diet had reported slightly higher levels of metabolites that stimulate AhR paths to protect their digestive system.
- Healthy patients had no problems with inflammation and introducing helpful bacteria and tryptophan only aided in digestive regularity.
If you’re a vegetarian and want to skip the turkey but enjoy the myriad benefits tryptophan has to offer try introducing these foods instead.
Some of us have dietary restrictions or we abstain from meat for environmental or personal reasons regarding the grotesque nature of the meat industry. Steering away from the turkey this year is more than ok and if you’re a socially conscious eater try adding any of the following foods to your diet today, they’re still high in the helpful amino acid tryptophan!
- Pumpkin seeds
Vegans can rejoice since that Tofurkey is still packed with healthy amino acids that will protect your gut post glorious Thanksgiving feast enjoyed safely with your friends and family.
This study adds another crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding how to heal and facilitate a healthy gut to aid in our digestive and intestinal systems. A healthy diet can improve our cognitive functions and prevent life-altering diseases such as celiac, Crohn’s, and colitis that have the potential to turn into more diabolical health issues later in life much harder to treat like colon cancer.
Check with your doctor or nutritionist to see if introducing tryptophan and probiotics can help you enjoy the best food holiday around this year. We hope you enjoy your feast safely and comfortably this Thanksgiving season.