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    Jefferson Adams

    AN-PEP Shows Promise in Breaking Down Gluten in Stomach

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Can an enzyme help celiac patients reduce or eliminate symptoms from accidental gluten ingestion?


    Caption: Photo: CC--Pascal

    Celiac.com 06/26/2017 - Designed to reduce or eliminate symptoms of gluten contamination in gluten-sensitive individuals, the product known as AN-PEP, marketed in the U.S. as Tolerase G, is a prolyl endoprotease enzyme, derived from Aspergillus niger, that has shown promise in breaking down gluten proteins.

    The latest news comes in the form of a small study that shows the enzyme to be effective in the stomach itself, where harshly acidic conditions render many enzymes ineffective.

    Speaking to an audience at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2017, lead investigator Julia König, PhD, of Sweden's Örebro University, said that the enzyme was special, because…[t]here are a lot of enzymes on the market, but this functions in the stomach where the pH is acidic. Often enzymes don't work in this environment."

    König was also quick to caution that "you cannot use this enzyme to treat or prevent celiac disease." The enzyme is not intended to replace a gluten-free diet for celiac patients.

    The enzyme is designed to provide some protection against cross-contamination for people with gluten-sensitivity by breaking down modest amounts of gluten to reduce or prevent adverse immune reaction.

    A previous study showed that AN-PEP breaks down gluten after an intra-gastrically infused liquid meal in healthy volunteers (Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015;42:273-285).

    In the latest randomized placebo-controlled crossover study, Dr König and her colleagues assessed the ability of AN-PEP to degrade gluten after a normal meal in people with gluten sensitivity.

    The research team looked at 18 people with self-reported gluten sensitivity, and with no confirmation of celiac disease. On three separate visits, investigators collected gastric and duodenal aspirates with a multilumen nasoduodenal-feeding catheter.

    Participants then consumed a porridge containing gluten, approximately 0.5 g, in the form of two crumbled wheat cookies. They also consumed a tablet containing AN-PEP at either 160,000 PPi or 80,000 PPi), or placebo. Investigators collected stomach and duodenal aspirates over the following 3 hours.

    In both the high- and low-dose AN-PEP groups, gluten concentrations in the stomach and in the duodenum were substantially lower than in the placebo group.

    This study shows that AN-PEP does break down gluten in the stomach, where many enzymes fail. If successfully tested and commercially released, AN-PEP could help people with gluten sensitivity, including those with celiac disease, to reduce or eliminate symptoms associated with casual gluten contamination.

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    The key words; "You cannot use this enzyme to treat or prevent celiac disease" supports the old adage that "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Wheat is now known as the "silent killer". According to Dr. W. Davis wheat contains: Gliadin protein triggers intestinal permeability; Amylopectin A responsible for elevated blood sugars; Agglutinin which blocks holecystokinin or CCK, that can lead to bile stasis. It is no surprise that diabetes, celiac, gluten sensitive enteritis & herpetiformis dermatitis are on the rise. The end result of gluten associated disease "fear" is that 1/3 of American adults are trying to eliminate it from their diets. World stockpiles of corn and wheat are at record highs. The grain-stuffed silo bags are reportedly taller than a man, often longer than a soccer field. Additionally, the incidence of celiac disease has increased more than fourfold in the past sixty years. What happened over those past 60 years? How is it that an individual who consumed wheat, barley and rye since the 1950´s suddenly developed celiac disease along with thousands of other people in 2009? What were the circumstances that occurred that brought about this new "magic wheat"?

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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