Enzyme supplement may protect gluten-sensitive patients

Reuters Health Information: Enzyme supplement may protect gluten-sensitive patients

Enzyme supplement may protect gluten-sensitive patients

Last Updated: 2017-05-12

By Megan Brooks

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The enzyme aspergillus niger-derived prolyl endoprotease (AN-PEP) breaks down small amounts of gluten within the digestive system, which may protect gluten-sensitive patients from suffering GI symptoms after unintentional gluten exposure, say researchers from Sweden.

AN-PEP “allows gluten-sensitive patients to feel safer, for example, when they are out with friends at a restaurant and can’t be sure whether something is 100 percent gluten-free,” lead researcher Dr. Julia Konig of the School of Medical Sciences at University of Orebro said in a news release.

“For example, the food might unintentionally get cross contaminated with gluten-containing food during preparation. Or when they buy food at the grocery store that is not specifically labeled as gluten-free, this food might contain trace amounts of gluten,” Dr Konig added at a Digestive Disease Week press briefing, where she presented the results May 7.

“Since even small amounts of gluten can affect gluten-sensitive patients, this supplement can play an important role in addressing the residual gluten that is often the cause of uncomfortable symptoms,” she said.

A previous study has shown that AN-PEP could break down gluten when it was intragastrically infused in a liquid meal through a feeding tube. “Our study is the first to test the ability of AN-PEP to break down gluten in a more normal physiological meal setting in gluten-sensitive subjects,” said Dr. Konig.

In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study, 18 gluten-sensitive patients ate a porridge containing about 0.5 g gluten in the form of two crumbled wheat cookies as well as a tablet containing either a high or low dose of AN-PEP or placebo.

Over the course of three hours, AN-PEP significantly lowered the gluten concentrations in the stomach and in the duodenum compared to the placebo in both high and low doses.

In the stomach, gluten levels in both the high- and low-dose groups were 85% lower than in the placebo group. In the duodenum, gluten levels were reduced by 81% in the high dose group and 87% in the low dose group versus placebo.

“Our results suggest that this enzyme can potentially reduce the side effects that occur when gluten-sensitive individuals accidentally eat a little gluten,” said Dr. Konig.

She cautioned, however, that “we are not suggesting that AN-PEP will give gluten-sensitive individuals the ability to go out and eat large amounts of gluten such as a whole bowl of pasta or an entire pizza.”

The research team also did not test AN-PEP in patients with celiac disease, because even small amounts of gluten can cause long-term harm in these individuals.

AN-PEP is currently available in the United States as a supplement developed by DSM, a Dutch multinational firm that provided the enzyme for the study but did not provide any other support.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2pCGk70

Digestive Disease Week 2017.

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