The Enzyme Digest Houston Nutraceuticals Inc.
Issue 14, July/August 2006

Welcome to The Enzyme Digest where we cover topics on enzymes, digestion, and nutrition.

Devin Houston, Ph.D.

in this issue
  • Updated HNI Website
  • HNI Video Wins Award
  • Boy Drinks Milk! No Problems!!
  • Dr. Houston Speaking at ASA, USAAA, and Regional Groups


    Celiac sprue, or celiac disease, is an inheritable, gluten-induced disease of the upper small intestine which is thought to afflict 1 in every 200 people world-wide. The disease is characterized by intestinal inflammation and damage to the crypts and villi of the GI tract. This causes a decrease in surface area for nutrient absorption resulting in diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, and bone disorders. The main trigger for celiac disease is gluten from common grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Dietary restriction of these grains can result in remission of the disease, however, gluten is often a hidden ingredient in many foods.

    Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins consisting of gliadins and glutenins. The structure of these proteins is dominated by a prevalence of proline and glutamine residues, which makes these proteins difficult to digest with pancreatic proteases. As a result, long peptides from these proteins are allowed to remain in contact with the intestinal tract wall, initiating an antigenic response and subsequent inflammatory processes.

    Prolyl endopeptidases, or PEPs can readily cleave or degrade these proline-rich peptides, which reduces the antigenic potential of gluten. These enzymes yield two shorter peptides that are suitable substrates for further cleavage by intestinal peptidases.

    Recently, great strides have been made in identifying peptidases that may eventually be used as oral treatments for celiac disease. Of interest to the public is the finding that multiple-protease therapy is better than the use of a single protease enzyme. HNI has maintained that vary notion for many years.

    The enzymes of interest in celiac research are from two research labs. Dr. Chaitan Khosla at Stanford University is experimenting with a two-enzyme mixture consisting of: 1) an enzyme derived from barley, known as EP-B2, and 2) FM-PEP, a dipeptidyl peptidase isolated from the bacteria Flavobacterium meningosepticum. In the Netherlands, Dr. Frits Koning at Leiden University is using a PEP derived from Aspergillus niger, a fungal organism used extensively in commercial production of food-grade enzymes.

    Dr. Khosla's research uses enzymes from recombinant sources; i.e. the gene for the enzymes is actually produced in E. coli, in order to increase production. Many are averse to using materials from genetically- modified organisms (GMOs), however, it may be the only method to produce these enzymes in sufficient quantities.

    Dr. Koning's group uses an enzyme from Aspergillus niger that is part of the same family as the DPP IV found in many enzyme products (found to be in commercially available enzyme blends by Dr. Houston). They have designated this enzyme as AN- PEP, and can be produced as a food-grade enzyme. This enzyme may be superior to the FM-PEP, as it is acid-stable, and needs no special enteric coating for it to survive in the stomach. In fact, AN-PEP is actually more active in acidic conditions (as are most fungal enzymes) and so is ideal as an oral supplement for potential celiac therapy.

    However, both research groups plan clinical trials for using these enzymes as a therapy for celiac disease. In order to make such health claims, if the trials are successful, the "new" enzymes will be designated as "drugs" and must go through an expensive, lengthy approval process for FDA approval as a treatment. The approval process may take as long as seven years before being made available as a prescription or over-the-counter product.

    Those suffering from celiac disease who wish to experiment with available peptidase enzyme products should be aware that NO enzyme company should be making claims as to effectiveness for celiac disease. Enzyme supplementation may be helpful to celiac sufferers for general digestive help but they are encouraged to remain gluten-free.

    Updated HNI Website

    Take a look at the updated HNI website at Information is more organized and easier to find and the online ordering system is improved. No account is needed to order and discounts now show up on invoices.

    Our new interactive "smart" calendar alerts users of Upcoming Events. In the Newsletter Archives, readers can find past issues of the newsletter. Watch for more website changes coming soon, including the addition of Paypal as a form of payment, a page dedicated to Dr. Houston's research background, and a section for new enzyme research articles.

    HNI Video Wins Award
    Houston Telly Award

    Siloam Springs, Ark. - Two downtown Siloam Springs businesses collaborated to win a national award honoring excellence in media production. Houston Nutraceuticals, Inc. and Gray Communications, Inc. created a DVD promoting the benefits of HNI's line of products and showing three unique perspectives to help educate potential customers.

    The DVD, which promotes the digestive benefits of using enzymes, features a section of customer testimonials, a seminar taught by the President and CEO of HNI, Devin Houston, Ph.D., and a laboratory segment with experiments shot in a kitchen similar to a TV cooking program.

    "Our business relies heavily on conveying technical information about our products, usually through personal contact with parent support groups," explained Houston. The challenge for HNI is the time and resources required to visit all of these groups. "Using the video produced by Gray Communications, we can reach more groups at a fraction of the cost. Our customers are very impressed by the professionalism of the production."

    Debbie Montes, an HNI customer from California said, "This is the first time in a long time that I am hopeful again. The demonstrations with the enzymes were impressive and the thorough explanations made by Dr. Houston convinced me to start my son on enzymes immediately. Thank you for making it easy for me to understand."

    The Telly Awards is a widely known and highly respected international competition, which annually receives over 12,000 entries worldwide. The award was given in the Health, Medicine and Wellness category. Pictured above is Dr. Devin Houston with Todd Robertson, Project Manager for Gray.

    To request a DVD at no cost, please email or call 866-757-8627.

    Boy Drinks Milk! No Problems!!

    Dr. Houston, I have to write you and thank you for your brillance in developing such a fine product!

    My boys switched places at the dinner table last night. My younger son drinks 2% milk and the older son with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) drinks rice milk. The older boy drank the 2% milk before we could realize it. I gave him an extra Peptizyde and we began to pray! Usually he would have been throwing up in the night followed by a severe sneeze attack. He slept through the night without a problem and woke up feeling fine. Thank you so much!

    Anita Langsmith
    Glendale, AZ

    Dr. Houston Speaking at ASA, USAAA, and Regional Groups
    Dr. H and Mandi

    Pictured at right is Dr. Houston with Mandi Rodwell at the Autism One conference where Dr. Houston was a speaker. Mandi's son was one of HNI's early customer success stories and Mandi has recently become an HNI Distributor in the UK.

    Upcoming Presentations:

  • ASA Conference, Providence, Rhode Island; July 13-15.
  • US Autism & Asperger's Association Conference, Park City, Utah; August 9-12.
  • HEAR (Helping Educate about Autism Recovery) parent support group, Little Rock, Arkansas; September 18. Contact Susan at
  • Autism Society of the Panhandle, Pensacola, Florida; October 17. Email Lisa Branton at
  • FEAT Fort Smith, Arkansas; November 16. Email Mandy Steele at

    Dr. Houston holds an earned PhD in Biochemistry and has extensive research background in enzymes. He speaks at no cost to parent groups and parent conferences. Check for Calendar Updates.

    To request a presentation, contact Cindy Kelley toll free at 1-866-275-0915 or

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