What is Peptidase?

What is Peptidase?

Your gluten- and casein-degrading enzyme.

\ ˈpep-tə-ˌdās , -ˌdāz \

Peptidase is an enzyme that breaks down proteins into amino acids. More specifically, peptidase breaks down peptides, which are chains of two or more amino acids, into single amino acids.

Peptidase breaks down: Protein → Peptides → Single Amino Acids

The Protein and Peptidase Process

When protein-rich foods are consumed, gastric enzymes in the stomach begin to dissolve some of the protein material. Once the partially processed protein travels to the small intestines, peptidase, which is released from the pancreas, further breaks down the protein into amino acids.

There are actually many different types of peptidases, and when several work together in the small intestines, single amino acids from long protein chains can be completely freed. Releasing these amino acids promotes normal inflammatory responses as well as regulates the immune system, blood circulation, and oncology.

But in this article, we’re going to look at one specific peptidase called dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV), which has been found to degrade gluten and casein, potentially benefiting people with food sensitivities to these proteins (not to be confused with those with allergies to these proteins, such as those suffering from celiac disease).

DPP-IV Degrades Gluten and Casein

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, DPP-IV is a digestive enzyme that breaks down gluten and casein, two of the most common food allergens.

  • Casein is a storage protein found in dairy.
  • Gluten is a storage protein and one of the main components in grains.

Gluten, often found in wheat or rye, is a good source of essential amino acids, but it also contains three peptides known as alpha-gliadins. Because digestive enzymes in the stomach cannot process these specific peptides, they end up traveling to the small intestines intact.

This typically isn’t an issue because DPP-IV is actually produced by the pancreas and released in the small intestines where it breaks down the gliadin bonds, making it easy for the body to excrete them.

However, information published in the scientific journal Experimental Physiology indicates that individuals with celiac disease commonly have low levels of DPP-IV, which leads to an abnormal immune system response to the indigestible gluten peptides. It is likely that those with gluten sensitivities potentially would also have low levels of DPP-IV.

Essentially, the low level of DPP-IV prevents the degradation of the gliadin bonds in gluten, leaving all of those proteins in tact when traveling throughout the digestive system. As a result, when a celiac consumes gluten, s/he may experience the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Intestinal damage
  • Anemia

A Better Way to Do Gluten

People who live with gluten intolerance or celiac disease often work hard to avoid gluten, but even foods labeled “gluten-free” may still contain trace amounts of the protein, resulting in an onset of the aforementioned symptoms.

But research indicates that DPP-IV supplementation can boost the breakdown of gluten that is accidentally consumed, helping to prevent the undigested particles from making their way to the small intestines where problems can occur. Furthermore, DPP-IV is not rapidly degraded by the acidity of the stomach like other enzymes, which accelerates its enzymatic activity upon supplementation.

It is advised that people with a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet, however, the regular consumption of DPP-IV is beneficial for these groups in case of unintentional consumption.  Even those who freely consume gluten can benefit from supplementation of this enzyme due to its ability to target the indigestible portions of gluten.


Gluten: The Villain of Villi

A clinical trial published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that as little as 50 mg of gluten can induce adverse reactions and consuming this amount daily for 90 days may cause villous atrophy to flare up.

Villi are tiny projections in the small intestines that enhance the absorption of nutrients. As such, when the villi shrink (atrophy), the body cannot properly absorb nutrients, which may lead to malnourishment, among other health problems.


Clinical Study: A Gluten-dismantling Duo

A study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, which is published by the Public Library of Science, evaluated the degree to which aspergillopepsin (ASP), a protease, when combined with DPP-IV from aspergillus oryzae (aka “koji”) could digest gluten powder.

In this study, 15 mg/ml of whole gluten powder was mixed with 0.35 mg/ml of ASP/DDP-IV or 0.6 mg/ml of pepsin, a type of peptidase.

The ASP/DPP-IV blend demonstrated a significantly enhanced ability to digest the gluten and break down its gliadin bonds over the pepsin alone.

As discussed earlier, degradation of these gliadin bonds makes it easy for the body to excrete them, minimizing the likelihood of adverse reactions to gluten.

Making the Case Against Casein

The journal Food Chemistry attests that DPP-IV supplementation also promotes enhanced digestion of casein, a protein found in dairy products.

If you are one of the many people sensitive to casein, you’re probably familiar with the aftermath of consuming milk, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream, including:

  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

The above symptoms are your body’s response to either not producing enough digestive enzymes or enzymatic activity that is ineffective at breaking down casein into basic amino acids. But there’s hope in a supplemental enzyme!

DPP-IV activity facilitates the breakdown of casein, much like it does with gluten. Furthermore, research has shown that DPP-IV, in combination with other peptidases, can provide even greater digestion of these two problematic proteins.


Peptidase At-a-Glance

  • Peptidase breaks down proteins into basic amino acids.
  • There are actually many types of peptidases, which work together to provide even greater health benefits.
  • One specific peptidase, dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV), is especially proficient at  breaking down gluten and casein in the small intestines.
  • DPP-IV is produced by the pancreas, however, supplementation of this enzyme can help to ensure the degradation of certain proteins if the body’s natural levels are inadequate to break them down completely.
  • Proper digestion of proteins like gluten and casein can help to reduce digestive discomfort, such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, and nausea.


Crush Casein and Get a Hold on Gluten!

From gluten to casein and other food sensitivities in between, our broad-spectrum digestive enzyme blend, Devigest, harnesses the power of peptidases to keep your digestive system as happy as can be!

Devigest contains a potent 500 units of dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV) to assist with the complete digestion of gluten and casein. Whether you’re ready to enjoy dairy and wheat again or you’re a fellow food-sensitive individual who wants a little enzymatic insurance policy in case of accidental consumption, keep a few capsules in your pocket or purse for post-dining pleasure!