A Clemson University researcher is using state-of-the-art facilities at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center (REC) to help develop a new wheat variety that’s safe for people who suffer from celiac disease to eat.
Sachin Rustgi, an assistant professor for molecular breeding, altered the wheat genome to create the new variety, which has a built-in defense against celiac disease. Rustgi uses laboratories provided by Clemson’s Advanced Plant Technology Program (APT) to conduct his research.
“This program provides a unique environment for researchers,” Rustgi said. “Being a member of the program has allowed me to communicate with other researchers working in diverse fields of biological sciences which greatly benefits a multidisciplinary project such as this.”
The new wheat variety contains two enzymes: one from barley that attacks gluten, the protein that gives breads, pasta and cereal a chewy, crunchy texture; and another from the bacterium Flavobacterium meningosepticum.
These enzymes, called glutenases, break down gluten in the human digestive system and reduce the amount of indigestible gluten peptides by two-thirds. Peptides perform important biological functions, such as regulating activity in cells.
“Food made from wheat with glutenases in its grains means people with celiac don’t have to rely on dietary supplements at every meal,” Rustgi said.
“By packing the remedy to wheat allergies and gluten intolerance right into the grain, we’re giving consumers a simpler, lower-cost therapy. We’re also reducing the danger from cross-contamination with regular wheat, as the enzymes in our wheat will break down that gluten as well.”
This new wheat variety is still in the research stage. Once it’s available to the public, Rustgi said he plans to educate growers and the public about this new variety by giving presentations at the Pee Dee REC Field Day. He also will work with Jonathan Windham, a Clemson Cooperative Extension Service associate, to provide educational materials.
The goal of the APT Program — part of Clemson’s Institute of Translational Genomics — is to improve agriculture in South Carolina one field at a time by employing translational, problem-solving science to advance crop agriculture in the state.
The program is a key part of an overall effort at Clemson to optimize plants for production in South Carolina and the Southeast for all agricultural stakeholders — from large-scale producers to small-scale landowners who work with heirloom varieties for restaurants, brewers and more. The program is headquartered at the Pee Dee REC, with members found throughout South Carolina.
Research conducted as part of the APT program includes: biological and genetic diversity, bioenergy and alternative fuels, Extension research and resources, genetics and genomics, nutrition, plant hazards and technology.
Celiac disease affects more than 3 million people in the United States. There is no cure for celiac, so people diagnosed with this disease either avoid foods that contain wheat or take an enzyme supplement with every meal.
Rustgi brought this research project with him when he came to Clemson from Washington State University in 2016. In addition to his position at the Pee Dee REC, Rustgi also is a faculty scholar in the Clemson School of Heath Research and adjunct assistant professor with the Washington State University crop and soil sciences department.
Other Clemson professors who assisted in this research are Hong Luo of genetics and biochemistry and Nishanth Tharayil of plant and environmental sciences. Luo and Tharayil helped analyze the altered wheat in Clemson’s Multi-User Analytical Lab (MUAL) and Metabolic Core Facility.
“Charles Rice of biological sciences, who is a veterinarian and an immunologist, will be helping us to take this research to another level,” Rustgi said.
Outside researchers involved with this project are: Claudia Osorio, a scientist at the Center for Nutritional Agro-Aquacultural Genomics in Chile; Jaime Mejias with Chile’s Institute for Agricultural Investigation; Nuan Wen of Washington State University; Bao Liu, a scientist at the Northeast Normal University in China; and Stephen Reinbothe, a scientist at Université Grenoble-Alpes in France.
Speech Delays and Special Diets: Do They Help with SLP?
About 9 months ago, I found out that I cannot tolerate eating gluten or dairy. The news was devastating at the time. Most of my favorite foods contain both gluten and dairy!! How could this be?? Well, turns out the foods that you are allergic or intolerant to a food are often the foods you like the most because your body releases endorphins when you eat them to fight them off, but it also gives you a little bit of a high. So all these years I’ve been pigging out on gluten and dairy and destroying my gut!
I followed the doctor’s orders and got rid of the gluten and dairy and starting feeling so much better! I also started taking thyroid medication due to hypothyroid symptoms as well. I started learning more about my health and about nutrition and came across the paleo diet. I tried it for 30 days and now I’m hooked! I’m amazed at how many of my medical problems seem to have disappeared since going paleo. I always just assumed I had unlucky genes and was just destined to suffer from these things the rest of my life, things like asthma, frequent respiratory infections, dry/sensitive skin, digestive sensitivity, etc. My husband also went paleo with me and started losing weight for the first time in a long time despite trying several other diets. Check out these registered behavioral technician jobs.
So I got to thinking,
If cutting out foods like grains, sugar, and processed foods can do this much for my health, could it be possible that it could help our children with speech delays or language delays as well? Do special diets help children with speech delays?
I started looking for research.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any studies about the effects of changing a child’s diet on speech and language development in particular. It seems that we require more research to be done in this area! However, even though there is currently no research which specifically links diet with speech delays or language delays, there is much information that supports why changing your child’s diet could help improve his ability to learn and develop better speech and language skills. Keep in mind, these suggestions have not specifically been backed by research so there are no guarantees that this would work for your child. These are merely ideas if you are searching for other ways you can help your child.
Undetected Food Sensitivities and Speech Delays
Many people have food sensitivities that are not discovered until they get severe enough to be noticed or warrant testing. However, a 2004 study indicated that children with undetected food sensitivities or allergies may be at a higher risk for frequent ear infections, which often causes speech delays and language delays.
Source: Aydogan, B. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, June 2004; vol 130: pp 747-750.
Diet Changes and Autism
James Adams of the University of Arizona reviewed 150 studies about diet changes and autism. He found that the studies showed that changing the child’s diet improved the child’s condition in many cases. Here is the data he put together:
Source: Adams, J. B. (2013). Summary of dietary, nutritional, and medical treatments for autism based on over150 published research studies. Informally published manuscript, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Retrieved from http://www.laurapower.com/AutismTreatment 2013.pdf
Making Dietary Changes for Your Child with Speech Delays
If you would like to change your child’s diet to see if it impacts his/her speech/language development, there are many different ways to do this. Richard Layton, MD, a doctor who has more than 30 years of experience in pediatrics and integrated medicine, suggests taking a step-by-step approach to making dietary changes to help children with speech and language delays. Here is what he wrote for Advance Magazine:
“Biomedical interventions can help not only children with autism, but those with expressive and/or receptive language disorders, associated sensory integration (SI) issues, and allergies/hypersensitivities. Through the assessment of diet, environmental pollutants, SI, possible allergy testing and immunotherapy, it is possible to treat developmental delays through a biomedical approach.
Parents could begin by evaluating their child’s diet and noting reactions and improvements. An initial recommendation would be to avoid all casein (milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream) for one month, followed by a more restrictive gluten-free diet (no wheat, oat, barley, rye, spelt) over the course of a three-month period. A helpful book for implementing these dietary restrictions is Special Diets for Special Kids, by Lisa Lewis, PhD (Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, 1998).
In addition to a casein-free, gluten-free diet, some children respond well to a soy-free diet and others to a preservative-free diet. Additionally, one might experiment with a corn-free diet. The key is to take a stepwise approach by starting with casein, gluten and then considering soy, preservatives and corn as foods that could harm a child’s development and behavior.
Environmental pollution is also a major contributor to the rise in children with behavioral and developmentally impairments. The fact that allergies, breast cancer and diabetes have also increased make the chemical issue even more convincing. It is important for parents and doctors to evaluate the patient’s environment and eliminate any pollutants that may be contributing to a child’s developmental delays.”