How Enzymes Can Help: A Look at Dairy and Gluten Foods

June 10, 2010

Some individuals have rather specific digestive issues. For example, some populations have difficulty digesting dairy products. In the United States, nearly 10% of the population is considered lactose intolerant. Some populations have even higher incidence of intolerance, such as Native Americans, with rates as high as 80% in adults.

 


Some individuals have rather specific digestive issues. For example, some populations have difficulty digesting dairy products. In the United States, nearly 10% of the population is considered lactose intolerant. Some populations have even higher incidence of intolerance, such as Native Americans, with rates as high as 80% in adults.

 

Lactase, the enzyme that hydrolyzes lactose (milk sugar), is deficient in those who are lactose intolerant. But the problem may be more complex. There are several proteins present in milk that have the potential to cause indigestion and even milk protein allergy. These proteins include caseins, alpha and beta lactoglobulins, immunoglobulins, and albumins, to name the most common. A more comprehensive approach to dairy digestion is an enzyme blend that includes not only lactase but also a powerful blend of protease enzymes to help hydrolyze these proteins.

 

Difficulties digesting gluten also seems to be gaining more attention. Gluten is a complex of the proteins gliadin and glutenin, which are the major proteins in cereal grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is also what gives bread dough its elasticity. Unfortunately, there are individuals that have difficulties digesting gluten-particularly, the gliadin portion. In extreme cases, such as for those with celiac disease, there is an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested gliadin, which may result in damage to the intestinal villi or even worse.

 

Fortunately, the right combination of enzymes appears to help-particularly with hidden gluten in processed foods. A recent study demonstrated that dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV), when combined with acid-stable protease, provided significantly positive results.(1) This combination may be very beneficial for individuals with mild to moderate sensitivity to gluten products.

 

1. Ehren, J., et al. “A Food-Grade Enzyme Preparation with Modest Gluten Detoxification Properties,” PLoS One, published online July21, 2009.