Science Natural News site

Science Natural NewsScience Natural News search resultsThis looks like a good website for accessing studies on various foods, medicines etc. I have not read any of these sourdough-related links, but shall begin. Generally, there is little substantive ‘scientific’ research on real foods, cuisines, basic things like bread, wine, beer, cheese, soups and so forth, so even these studies might fall short.

For example, posted last year at some point was a link to studies done in Italy showing that even sourdough white breads, over time, are healthier than commercial yeast ‘whole wheat’ breads. But buried in the fine print is the fact that they used a rather strange combination of ingredients, featuring alot of beans if I remember correctly, as part of their starter culture, something which hardly any normal bakers would do. Why didn’t they just use a typical sourdough starter culture? I don’t know, but it probably has something to do with being able to control things, both in a positive way in order to get consistent results, but also just to be different, aka ‘scientific’, so that ordinary mortals cannot be put on a par with ‘the experts’.

Another problem is that the modern method tends to like to drill down to particulate details, or find individual quanta or compounds which they can then isolate, synthesise, patent and market. But reality – especially on the microbial level – always works with symbiotic, diverse populations. You don’t find single-strain cultures in nature (like we put into modern bread using single-strain commercial yeast for example), although you do find ones with dominant elements of course such as mold growing on the surface of a badly managed sauerkraut culture, or across the surface of an old piece of cheese. Even those latter populations, however, only come into existence as such as part of a cornucopia of variables, which themselves comprise no end of diverse microbial populations. I believe there are 700 types of bacteria, not to mention fungus and yeasts, that live in a healthy human mouth alone comprising population so of many millions, and that’s just the mouth. ( )  The gut, which contains more neural activity than the brain (search for ‘enteric brain’), contains zillions of times more microbial cultures whose chemical reactions – and organismic agenda – greatly effect and in some cases actually manage such neural activity, which is why some have claimed, not without reason, that a good case could be made for saying that human being have been grown by microbes in order to more creatively express their underlying intelligence, i.e. we are a product of their intelligence rather than their merely being some sort of parasitical host in our physical bodies.

Anyway, hopefully there are some good studies and articles in this website.

For example, I did a search on sourdough rye + celiac and this came up top of the list [ excerpt]:

Safety for patients with celiac disease of baked goods made of wheat flour hydrolyzed during food processing.

Publication: Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association
Publication Date: 2011
Study Author(s): Greco, Luigi;Gobbetti, Marco;Auricchio, Renata;Di Mase, Raffaella;Landolfo, Francesca;Paparo, Francesco;Di Cagno, Raffaella;De Angelis, Maria;Rizzello, Carlo Giuseppe;Cassone, Angela;Terrone, Gaetano;Timpone, Laura;D’Aniello, Martina;Maglio, Maria;Troncone, Riccardo;Auricchio, Salvatore;
Institution: Department of Pediatrics and European Laboratory for the Study of Food Induced Diseases, University of Naples, Federico II, Naples, Italy.
Shortcut link to this study:
BACKGROUND & AIMS : Celiac disease (CD) is characterized by an inflammatory response towheat gluten, rye, and barley proteins. Fermentation of wheat flour with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases decreases the concentration of Gluten. We evaluated the safety of daily administration of baked goods made from this hydrolyzed form of wheat flour to patients with CD.METHODS : Patients were randomly assigned to consumption of 200 g per day of natural flour baked goods (NFBG) (80,127 ppm gluten; n = 6), extensively hydrolyzed flour baked goods (S1BG) (2480 ppm residual gluten; n = 2), or fully hydrolyzed baked goods (S2BG) (8 ppm residual gluten; n = 5) for 60 days.RESULTS : Two of the 6 patients who consumed NFBG discontinued the challenge because of symptoms; all had increased levels of anti-tissue TRANSGLUTAMINASE (tTG) antibodies and small bowel deterioration. The 2 patients who ate the S1BG goods had no clinical complaints but developed subtotal Atrophy. The 5 patients who ate the S2BG had no clinical complaints; their levels of anti-tTG antibodies did not increase, and their Marsh grades of small intestinal mucosa did not change.

CONCLUSIONS : A 60-day diet of baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour, manufactured with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases, was not toxic to patients with CD. A combined analysis of serologic, morphometric, and immunohistochemical parameters is the most accurate method to assess new therapies for this disorder.

PMID: 20951830
This extract/summary does not explain the exact constituents and method of sourdough process or type of breads, but it does generally support the conclusions of other studies I have seen, namely that proper natural fermentation significantly decreases, if not outright eliminates, many of the problem ingredients that provoke celiac reactions. Or put another way: natural slow (‘sourdough’) fermentation alters the chemical/cellular structure of gluten protein in grain flours such that many of the difficulties encountered by people in digesting them are lessened or entirely alleviated.
That said, I don’t like the small number of people used for this study, but that is typical. There isn’t much money for this sort of research.