How to Support the Digestion of Gluten
As interest in gluten-free diets continues to grow, so do alternative ways of addressing gluten digestion.
Gluten, the main protein in grains such as wheat and barley, is a difficult protein for our digestive system to break down completely.
Amino acids are chemical building blocks necessary for proteins. Gluten contains a unique chain of these amino acid building blocks that cause the protein structure to fold into a shape with a lot of “kinks”.
The kinked bonds between those building blocks make it difficult for our normal set of digestive enzymes to work effectively on gluten.
Bring on the enzymes
What is needed is a set of additional protein-busting enzymes that are geared to work on the bonds between gluten’s building blocks.
The best enzymes for the job? Enzymes derived from friendly fungal organisms that work in acidic conditions - like the stomach.
These acid-loving enzymes help you get a head start on protein digestion by working on food proteins as they enter the stomach.
Your food is going to stay in the stomach for a couple of hours. During this time, enzyme supplements can do a lot of work to break down gluten, casein, soy and any other food protein before that food even enters the gut.
By the time the food mass encounters your pancreatic enzymes in the small intestine, the proteins have already been significantly broken up. This lets your own digestive enzymes do the finishing work to ensure all your food proteins are broken down much more thoroughly.
While it’s not known how enzyme supplements may affect gluten tolerance for those with celiac disease, enzymes are a safe way to support digestion for a basic gluten intolerance.
Watch out for baked wheat
Researchers have found that baked wheat is much more difficult to break down than uncooked wheat. But adding extra protease enzymes to your meals will significantly help to break down baked wheat and any other food protein present in your meal.
It is important to digest the grain proteins as completely as possible. Small protein fragments formed due to incomplete digestion of gluten can have significant nutritional effects that may adversely affect the digestive process.
Get the right protein support
Adding enzyme supplements with high enzyme activity for proteins is a safe and easy way to help support gluten digestion.*