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Oral Papain Treatment Gluten Digestion

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Is there any truth to the claims that oral papain can breakdown gluten in the digestive track as claimed in the following link?

Has anyone tried this and does it work? Any doctors' expert opinion please?

Wayne in Ohio


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Papain is sometimes used culinarily to help break down proteins (hence you may see it in meat tenderizers or papaya in recipes for meat marinades). I don't know if it has any specific action on gluten itself, but they've been looking for this sort of thing for years, and if something as simple as papain worked, I think we'd have heard far more about it out of the research by now.

Another thing that makes me skeptical is the fact that is discusses the enzyme working in the small intestine. That means that the gluten molecule, as a whole, is traveling through your digestive system - which means your immune system is going to react to it. Not to mention the fact that this would be a chemical reaction like any other - needing time, proper conditions, and proper ratios to be effective and carry to completion - something that still gives the immune system plenty of time to react to the gluten molecules before they have the opportunity to be broken down.

(A thing to note here, that I don't think the site you link to fully takes into consideration... Many food intolerances are caused by the lack of an enzyme in the gut. Low or no quantities of lactase cause lactose intolerance. And symptoms from lactose intolerance occur when the sugar goes undigested higher in the gut, and reaches the microbes living throughout the rest of the intestines (where it is consumed, and by products (like gas) are released by the microbes. This is an ENTIRELY different mechanism than gluten intolerance, which is not specifically an enzyme deficiency, but rather an autoimmune condition where a gluten molecule activiates the immune system to attack the body.)


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