Dr. Murray and the rest of the team took blood samples drawn between 1948 and 1954 and checked them for signs of celiac using modern tests. They then compared the results to blood samples they recently tested from a similar group of people. The results were published in 2009 in Gastroenterology.
Two very important fact were discovered:
1. Celiac is five times more common today than it was 60 years ago.
2. Undiagnosed celiac was associated with a nearly four-fold increase in death of all causes.
Why the increase in celiac?
In the video, Dr. Murray seems puzzled about how to account for the increase in celiac. Let’s see if we can make an intelligent guess as to what’s behind the increase.
Clue #1: As Dr. Murray states, “obviously, human genes haven’t changed, but something has changed in our environment to make this disease more common.”
Clue #2: According to the Mayo Clinic Website, “Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. ” (emphasis mine)
Clue #3: The way bread products are prepared has changed a great deal in the years since the original samples were taken.
Most bread today is produced in in factories and purchased in supermarkets, not local bakeries. It contains a wide variety of preservatives and additives. More importantly, today’s bread rises quickly, for only five or so hours. Traditional sourdough bread is left to rise for about 12-48 hours, during which time the gluten and anti-nutrients decrease significantly.
Might the 5-fold increase in the incidence of celiac be due to changes in the way modern bread is prepared?