DPP IV is an enzyme that is becoming all the rage in digestive supplements. Many of the proposed claims of supplementing with this enzyme include: 1

  • Protection of the digestive system from gluten and casein ingestion.
  • Mitigate gluten insensitivity and possibly Celiac disease.
  • Enzyme can make food of unknown gluten contamination safer to eat.

These are some tall claims for a supplement. Is it possible that DPP IV can make gluten tolerable in people who have digestive issues with its ingestion?

What is DPP IV and How Does It Relate to Gluten Digestion?

DPP IV is a proteolytic enzyme with many functions within the body. DPP IV helps to regulate the immune system, signal transduction, and cell apoptosis. DPP IV has been shown to have cancer and tumor suppressant qualities as well. 2 3

DPP IV has the unique ability to cleave proline releasing proline-containing dipeptides. It may be one of the few enzymes that are able to facilitate the digestion of proline-rich proteins and polypeptides. DPP IV may degrade the immunodominant, proline-containing epitope of gliadin, the primary allergenic protein in gluten. Gluten and casein are both proline rich proteins, and enzymatic reactions breaking down proline in the gut might be limited in people who have trouble digesting gluten. 4

Would DPP IV Allow Me To Eat Gluten Again?

In in vitro studies, DPP IV has been shown to lessen or eliminate allergic reactions to gluten. 5 Studies have shown however that children and adults with Celiac disease intestinal DPP IV activity is abnormally low. 6 7 There is only one in vivo human study done with the use of DPP IV in children. The sample size of the study was very small (twenty two subjects,) but supplementation of the enzyme lead to significant improvements in social behavior and mental competence. 8

There is not enough evidence currently to show increasing DPP IV through supplementation completely protects you from gluten ingestion. There is enough evidence however that DPP IV should be used for people sensitive to gluten or someone with Celiac disease when the source of the food might be contaminated with gluten. The supplementation of this enzyme might give you extra protection if you are eating out and there is possibility of cross contamination. The enzyme should NEVER be used for people with Celiac disease to consume gluten because damage may still be done in the body, even when the enzyme is used.

My Recommended DPP IV Supplement

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