Thursday started a round of question and answers. This is the final round of questions are here and I’m doing my best to answer them.

How much money does the NIH have for celiac disease research? Ok, so celiac disease research funding is hard to find the exact number. It is mentioned in the 2020 fiscal year budge for NIH, but only as it relates to Down’s Syndrome. I also searched for whether there was any research currently being funded by NIH for celiac – currently there are no available grants for studying celiac. Here is the link that I used to search this up.

But I did find in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provided a grant to ImmungoneX for Phase 2b trial of Latiglutenase in February 2020.

The bill regarding funding for 2020 for NIAID specifically says this about celiac disease, “Celiac Disease.—The Committee encourages NIH to devote sufficient, focused research to the study of Celiac disease, including the autoimmune causation underpinning the affliction. Today, the only known treatment for this disease is a gluten-free diet; but, recent public and private sector research has revealed that such a ‘‘treatment’’ is insufficient for many who suffer from Celiac disease. Therefore, the Committee urges NIAID to support new research to better coordinate existing research and focus new research efforts toward causation and ultimately, a cure of this disease. NIAID is encouraged to coordinate with other Institutes and Centers as appropriate and to submit its plan for coordination and execution of this research to the Committee on Appropriations no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act.”

Since the NIAID is dealing with COVID-19, I’m guessing that celiac disease research is on the back burner.

Why does citric acid cause a gluten-like reaction? I’ve never heard about this, so I went looking.

Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits. It is manufactured and used as an acidifier, flavoring, and chelating agent. Chelating helps metals be water soluble and allow them to be excreted from the body.

In doing a search about citric acid and gluten, there is no real scientific research that mentions citric acid, so we have to rely on secondary sources. There are lots of web sites that say citric acid is safe for those with celiac disease.

Gluten Free Living says, “Like dextrose, even if it was made from wheat, citric acid is a highly processed ingredient, and it is considered gluten free.

While the citric acid is safe there is an article that talks about a different type of reaction. Here is one that says, “Citric acid is ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) by the USDA, but there have been reports of citric acid causing canker sores, atopic dermatitis, inflammatory reactions, and stomach upset in some people,” Julson says. “People who are extremely mold or yeast sensitive or allergic/sensitive to corn, beet, or cane sugar/starches may want to avoid citric acid since these items are used in the production of citric acid.”

The reaction you are experiencing might be similar to your gluten reaction, but from everything I’ve read it is unrelated to gluten exposure. One could simply be sensitive to citric acid. I think the litmus test to determine if someone is truly having a problem with citric acid would be to stop eating anything with citric acid for 2-3 days or even a week. Then eat a citrus fruit and see how the body behaves.

Those are all of my questions. I think I ticked all of them off the list. Thank you for the questions, I really appreciate them. It helps me learn things that I never would have thought about to write.

Please remember in this pandemic to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and follow the instructions from your local public health officials regarding additional precautions.

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