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New Pill Could Make Pizza and Beer Safe for Gluten-Free Diners

It's not magic; it uses egg yolk antibodies.


Thanks to science, those suffering from celiac disease — or severe gluten intolerance — may not have to endure a life totally devoid of the delicious foods laden with gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. According to the CBC, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a pill that could allow those suffering from the disease to eat all the fun stuff in life like pizza and pastries without having to deal with side affects like headaches, digestion issues, and even intestinal damage.

Users would take the pill about five minutes before they plan to eat or drink something with gluten

Unlike Lactaid, which introduces an enzyme that helps those with lactose intolerance break down the milk sugar (which many people are unable to digest), this pill works by using egg yolk antibodies to "coat the gluten" in foods. Instead of digesting the gluten, the pill makes it so gluten can "pass from the body without doing any damage." Users would take the pill about five minutes before they plan to eat or drink something with gluten, and they would be able to enjoy themselves for an hour or two without any consequences.

Hoon Sunwoo — an associate professor at the university — says that he was inspired to create the pill when he couldn't go out for a beer with his friend who has celiac disease. Sun is quick to note that the pill is "not treating the celiac disease or curing the celiac disease," but it aims to help celiac sufferers "improve their quality of life when they want to socialize with peers or friends." Or when they just really want a good doughnut. The pill — which Sunwoo emphasizes is not a long-term solution to the disease — is expected to start another round of clinical trials next year.

There are a number of companies that want to make life easier for those with celiac disease. Last year, startup 6SenorLabs announced that it is working on a portable device called Canary that can test foods for gluten so that those suffering from celiac disease know which foods are actually safe to eat. Shortly before that, New York City-based chef Mark Ladner (Del Posto) announced that he plans to open a gluten-free pasta chain called Pasta Flyer.

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