Gluten-splitting enzymes - Your thoughts?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Scientists are experimenting with gluten-splitting enzymes.

Will this be a relief for celiacs or should avoidance be the way to go?


edit If we start to use external enzymes, how should our bodies ever start to be able to digest gluten?

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on August 16, 2011
at 11:06 AM

Let's say that the enzymes turn out to be effective and harmless in the long run.

That still leaves us with wheat's phytates, addictive opiate-like properties, and blood-sugar-mangling effects.

So, might the enzymes be a great stop-gap for times when wheat is nearly impossible to avoid (eating out on vacation for instance)? Sure, why not. Though you are correct: persistent use of the enzyme would probably impact a regular wheat eater's ability to digest wheat without the enzyme.

But would they solve any of the other issues that wheat presents with persistent, long-term consumption? Unfortunately, probably not.



on August 16, 2011
at 02:37 PM

I have celiac disease, and if some enzyme could enable me to eat a piece of toast now and again without experiencing debilitating back pain and explosive diarhea (the specific ways celiac expresses itself in my particular case) then you better believe I'd be taking that enzyme! I wouldn't worry about that enzyme destroying my body's ability to digest wheat, because I lack the ability to do that in the first place. And If I did have that ability then I wouldn't bother taking the enzyme.


on August 16, 2011
at 12:08 PM

Why would I want to eat gluten?


on August 16, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Sounds like just another way for Big Pharma and the medical industry to make money off of a prescription drug (you can be sure you won't be able to get this over-the-counter). I haven't eaten anything with gluten for over three years now and don't miss it a bit. If I really crave a piece of bread, I'll splurge on a piece of Udi's GF bread. I don't want to have to take pills/whatever to eat food.



on August 16, 2011
at 04:05 PM

In wheat/barley- or maize/soybean meal-based diets: There was a significant improvement in feed conversion ratio with enzyme supplementation. Birds given an enzyme-supplemented diet gained 86 g while those fed on the unsupplemented diet lost 103 g of their body weight by the end of the experiment. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12737227 similar here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12828215

In systems mimicing the human gut, enzymes exist which seem effective in cutting up gluten http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17494108 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2963796

I believe supplemental enzymes are something that should be investigated. It would be a big deal (for public health generally) if grain toxicity could be eliminated just by taking a pill with your meals. It would be easy to test.

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