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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Gluten Free Brewing > Enzyme supplementation to reduce effects of gluten?
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:47 AM   #1
mccann51
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Default Enzyme supplementation to reduce effects of gluten?

This question doesn't deal directly with brewing, but since I trust the community here, I hope the post is acceptable.

This weekend a friend is having a 'beer olympics' and some friends from out of town plus all my in-town friends are going. For better or worse (probably the latter) I intend to participate and am hoping to mitigate any damage as much as possible. I've been extremely good about not consuming gluten of late, and this is not something I have any intention of making a habit of, but it would be nice to have something (ie a supplement or pill) to take in rare instances such as this where I am going to consume gluten (btw, I'm gluten intolerant, not Celiac's).

I've read from these forums about taking enzymes (examples: DPP-IV and prolyl endoprotease, can't determine if these are the same) derived from Aspergillus niger but am having trouble finding quality info on them (just lot's of natural food websites).

If anybody has some detailed info, anecdotal evidence, or brand advice I'd be greatly appreciative.

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:18 AM   #2
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The only thing on the market is Clarity Ferm (aka Brewer's Clarex). It is a prolyl endopeptidase and will cleave gliadin (gluten). The caveat is that this stuff takes time to work - and you need to add it to the beer ahead of time (typically during fermentation). The vials from White labs are about 5mL and are intended for 5 gallons (I believe you get 5 vials in a pack). If you wanted to add it to finished beer, I would try maybe 1mL per glass and let it set for a bit to work. Stomach acid probably denatures the enzyme, but if you eat beforehand it might help raise the pH enough to help a bit.

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Old 07-18-2012, 05:12 AM   #3
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I know there's oral supplements that are sold, not sure of the efficacy. In "Lazy Man's GF Brewing" thread - if I recall correctly - somebody discusses the enzyme present in Clarex being available as a supplement. I'm interested in the potential of a supplement here.

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Old 07-18-2012, 03:07 PM   #4
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I haven't heard of any major breakthroughs out there. Two of the biggest ones were trying to use activated charcoal to try to cleanse the system, not quite sure how that works. Another has been the use of a tapeworm. Some scientific study over in New Zealand or Australia I think, where they tested out a parasite.

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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If it's a gluten intolerance, taking a gluten-specific protease (I've seen a product called "Glutenase") might mitigate some of the problems, much like taking lactase prior to a meal can mitigate lactose intolerance. But there's no guarantee, and you should try it yourself prior to the event to see if it works or not. Anecdotal evidence is not of any value to you, I'm afraid, as the spectrum of sensitivities is so broad. You are flying blind, no matter what anyone here says. The only way is to try it and see.

FWIW, I haven't seen anything in the medical literature that suggests any enzyme supplement can effectively mitigate symptoms of gluten intolerance. My professional opinion is that if you're hell-bent on drinking beer and you are gluten-intolerant, the odds of you not having a bad time of it are very, very low. If that's a risk you want to take, that's your call. Me, I prefer to accept my body's new limitations, so I'd probably just bring enough homebrew or cider to get myself drunk, and content myself just having a little taste of each beer so I don't feel left out. That sounds like more fun than trying to pretend I've got a normal digestive system and having reality come crashing down on me after the first or second pint and spending the rest of the event in the bathroom crapping my brains out. But YMMV.

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Old 07-19-2012, 11:45 PM   #6
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I fully intend on bringing as much GF homebrew as possible, but my stocks of session-style brews is low. If I go to the event, I know I will end up drinking some beer. My symptoms are not immediate, which is a good thing for partying, but bad for building a strong negative association with beer.

I ended up buying some GlutenEase which contains DPP-IV - the same as in Clarex I think - and some other enzymes. I'll report back my experience after trying it a few times (may be a while since I don't intend on pushing it with the gluten).

igliashon, while I completely agree that anecdotal evidence is not the best - our bodies are all different after all - it is at least of starting point to help determine if it's worth taking a shot at, especially for somebody such as myself who is just intolerant and doesn't have Celiac's.

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Old 07-20-2012, 12:03 AM   #7
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Good luck, mate! RE: anecdotal evidence, as a philosopher of science (my bachelor's degree) and med student (working on currently), I have to disagree, for reasons I could go into if you wanted me to. But it's really moot, since there's not even anecdotal evidence--save for the anecdotes you'll be sharing with us shortly!

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