Gluten-free study calls for volunteers

Scientists are investigating if following a gluten-free diet is beneficial to health.

One hundred volunteers are being sought for a seven-week study to examine if eliminating wheat makes us feel less bloated and more energised.

The impact it has on the organisms that regulate health in our gut will also be assessed in the research led by experts from the University of Aberdeen.

The study, which is funded by a grant of £100,000 from the Scottish Funding Council and Technology Strategy Board and supported by a gluten-free food company, will help inform health guidelines and the food industry about the potential impact of a gluten-free diet.

Dr Alex Johnstone from the University’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health said: “Gluten-free diets are prescribed for people diagnosed with coeliac disease, in which the gut has an inflammatory response to wheat.

“But more and more individuals are choosing to remove wheat from their daily intake because of the positive impact they believe it has on their sense of well-being.  Anecdotally, individuals report they experience less bloating and higher levels of energy.

“There is very little scientific data to give evidence of these potential health benefits, and this is what our study will aim to provide.”

Volunteers in the study will consume their regular diet for a week, then follow a gluten-free plan for three weeks, before returning to their normal diet for a further three weeks.

Throughout the gluten-free phase, gluten-free substitutes will be provided including pasta and breads.

They will be asked to keep a food diary and attend the Rowett Institute in Bucksburn once every 3 weeks to have blood, faecal and breath samples taken.

Dr Karen Scott from the Rowett Institute said: “The people we want to recruit are healthy individuals who are not currently eating a gluten-free diet.

“The data we acquire will allow us to assess the impact removing wheat has on the composition of a person’s gut bacteria, how this relates to their overall health, their energy levels and sense of general well-being, in comparison to when they eat their regular diet.

“Our research will provide valuable information to enhance understanding of a gluten-free lifestyle. This will inform the growing number of food producers developing products that are ‘free from’ certain ingredients. It could also have implications for health guidelines in the future.”

Those wishing to volunteer for the study should contact Efsevia Nikokavoura on 01224 438667 or by email on .

For more information on volunteering for this study visit: