Supplements containing gluten enzymes are available in the United States. However, research into the effects of gluten enzymes on celiac disease (CD) and other conditions is ongoing.
Gluten enzymes are proteins that help break down gluten in a person’s stomach after they consume foods with the substance.
Doctors associate several illnesses with gluten,
This article discusses who may want to try gluten enzymes, how they work and if they are effective, and when to speak with a doctor.
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People with CD
Those with CD have a digestive condition that
Therefore, those with CD may wish to try gluten enzyme supplements. However, these supplements may not be suitable for individuals with the condition.
- could not demonstrably break down gluten during the testing process, despite manufacturers’ claims
- may only provide relief to people due to a placebo effect
- could cause individuals harm, as:
- they may eat gluten believing the supplements protect them from it — one product contained wheat, which is a hazard to those with CD
- other products the researchers investigated may have contained wheat or other allergens, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not closely monitor dietary supplement products and their labels
People with NCGS
People with NCGS have symptoms that are similar to people with CD. However, they test negative for CD.
Researchers of a
People with dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) or gluten ataxia (GA)
DH is a skin condition that
People with these conditions may also wish to try gluten enzymes. However, there does not appear to be any publicly available research into the effects of gluten enzymes on DH or GA.
Researchers are still
However, the research is still
The researchers of a 2021 study tested nine gluten enzyme supplements. They found one supplement containing an enzyme called caricain may be useful as an addition to a gluten-free diet for people with CD. However, it is important to note that the company that manufactures this supplement provided funding for the study.
Researchers are also
People need to always consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements. While some dietary supplements containing gluten enzymes may be available in the United States, research on their efficacy and safety is still ongoing.
If a person thinks they may have CD or another gluten-associated condition, they need to speak with a healthcare professional for diagnosis
People with CD and other gluten-associated conditions also need to consult a healthcare professional if they notice any new or worsening symptoms or if treatments are not helping relieve them. A doctor may be able to recommend an alternative treatment or identify any other underlying health problems.
People with some conditions, such as CD or NCGS, need to follow gluten-free diets to avoid symptoms and complications. However, food contamination and other factors can make eliminating gluten from the diet difficult.
Gluten enzymes may help break down gluten in a person’s stomach, which may improve symptoms for someone with gluten-associated conditions. However, research into whether gluten enzyme supplements are effective is inconclusive.
Some research indicates that some commercially-available gluten enzyme supplements provide no benefit and are potentially hazardous for people with CD. However, scientists are studying some gluten enzymes in ongoing clinical trials for individuals with the condition.
People should not take dietary supplements without consulting a healthcare professional first. Additionally, they need to speak with a doctor if they think they may have CD or another gluten-associated condition before significantly changing their dietary habits.