We hear a lot about gluten and coeliac disease but there is a lot more going on that isn’t so well known. Prolamins are one of those lesser known things. Gluten contains gliadin which is the prolamine in wheat which is responsible for coeliac disease. About 1% of the population is known to have coeliac disease but that many more, possibly upward of 7% may be silent coeliacs showing little or no obvious symptoms of the disease.
Gluten comes from the Latin for glue and is the substance – a group of proteins – that is left when the starch in wheat dough is washed away by water. Gluten is the stuff which gives dough its elasticity, allowing it to rise. Although these proteins are insoluble in water, they do dissolve in alcohol.
Gluten is made up of two types of proteins, gliadins and glutanins. The digestive system breaks the gluten proteins down into peptide molecules and it is one type of peptide molecule which causes problems in people with coeliac disease.
Prolamins also referred to as prolamines are found in all grains, gliadin being the prolamin in wheat. Prolamins are the alcohol soluble proteins in grains and break down into peptides which may be the source of grain sensitivities and intolerances.