Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Possible New Useful Tool for Those Who Can't Tolerate Wheat

A new enzyme may provide relief for the 2 million Americans with celiac disease, a condition in which an immune response to wheat gluten and other proteins in rye and barley inhibits the absorption of nutrients and leads to diarrhea and malnutrition.
The enzyme, prolyl endoprotease (PEP), is derived from a common fungus, Aspergillus niger (AN), and was originally developed for use in commercial food processing.
It turns out that PEP also quickly breaks down whole gluten molecules, almost completely, along with T cell stimulatory peptides, which cause celiac disease. The enzyme also works especially well in the human stomach environment.
More Promising Than an Earlier Enzyme
PEP works 60 times faster than another enzyme previously touted as a possible treatment for celiac disease. The previous enzyme also had trouble in the human stomach, as it was not effective in acidic conditions and was inactivated by pepsin, found in the stomach.
Currently, the only way to avoid the symptoms of celiac disease is to avoid wheat, barley and rye, which are all widespread in the U.S. diet. After clinical trials, an oral supplement of the PEP enzyme may provide relief for those with the condition.
American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology May 11, 2006
EurekAlert June 30, 2006

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