The Checkup: Researchers Say They’re ThisClose to a Pill for Celiac Sufferers

A big development on the gluten-free front.

• Just as the lactose intolerant have Lactaid pills, celiac sufferers may one day (soon?!) have a pill that allows them to eat gluten worry-free, researchers say. They’ve been working on engineering a naturally occurring enzyme that would break down gluten peptides into teeny tiny particles that might be more easily digested by celiac sufferers. Reports Science Daily: “The new enzyme (called KumaMax) broke down more than 95 percent of a gluten peptide implicated in celiac disease in acidic conditions like those in the stomach. ‘These combined properties make the engineered [enzyme] a promising candidate as an oral therapeutic for celiac disease,’ say the researchers.” Of course, there’s still work to be done to see if the remaining 5 percent of the gluten peptide is still too much for those with celiac disease to handle. But that’s a question for further research—and, I’m assuming, a bit more laboratory tinkering.

• Hey parents, here’s another reason why you should sit down to family dinner: new research found that family meals encourage kids to eat more fruits and veggies. More here.

• For those who’ve ever wondered, here’s why you look terrible when you’re exhausted. (Yes, there’s a scientific reason for it.)