Exorphin Peptides from Food May Affect Cysteine Uptake

Crackers with cheese. Restrictive dietary interventions such as the gluten-free and casein-free diets have shown to be helpful in improving intestinal balance as well as autoimmune and neurological issues. The mechanism as to how such diets help remains unknown. In 2014 Dr. Richard Deth of Northeastern University published a paper in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry which showed that the opioid peptides resulting from digestion of gluten and casein caused an inhibition of cysteine uptake in two different transformed cell lines. Cysteine is an important amino acid involved in production of the antioxidant glutathione.  The cell lines used in the studies are also used in studies to determine how methylation of different genes affects the cell’s ability to adapt. Methylation of DNA  is one way in which changes are passed on to next generations without altering the DNA sequence itself.  This is referred to as epigenetic changes. The results of the study are interesting and may provide a mechanism for how food-derived opiates affect the way cells in the gut respond but it is too early to extrapolate the results to living organisms. Any mechanism that keeps cysteine from being absorbed by cells will contribute to lower levels of glutathione which then results in higher amounts of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to higher levels of systemic inflammation. So once again, we have a reason to consider limiting the amount of food opiates in the diets of children. Avoidance of wheat, dairy, and soy may be a good goal.  Using supplemental high-protease enzyme products can also help even if such foods are consumed. Plant-based proteases can start breaking down wheat and dairy proteins while they are still in the stomach. This extra boost of protein break down results in more thorough digestion of proteins by specifically targeting the peptide bonds found in food opiates. Knowing how food affects our bodies is important. Dr. Deth’s paper contributes significantly to our understanding of food and its impact on nutrition. Enzymes such as AFP-Peptizyde can also impact the digestive process in a positive way and is an effective complement to the gluten-free and casein-free diet. ------------ Source: J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Oct;25(10):1011-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Jun 6. Food-derived opioid peptides inhibit cysteine uptake with redox and epigenetic consequences. Trivedi MS1, Shah JS1, Al-Mughairy S1, Hodgson NW1, Simms B1, Trooskens GA2, Van Criekinge W2, Deth RC3.