Wednesday, August 13, 2014
by: Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, AANP Board Member
I’ve just completed an experiment and wish to report the results. You do not need to try this at home. I’ve just returned home from the AANP conference at the Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. With the various board meetings and the oncology pre-conference Lise Alschuler and I organized for OncANP, I spent over a week living as my mother used to say “Living High on the Hog.”
The highlight of these conferences for me is the vendor hall. I like checking out the various companies for a variety of reasons. You can learn a lot more from a few minutes spent in person with a sales rep or often the owner than you ever will learn from a website. It’s not just what they have to tell you but whom they have hired to tell you the information. It’s a whole lot easier to detect BS in person than on the printed page.
Thus I hardly glance at junk mail during the year and save my shopping for the conferences. The AANP experimented with a new scheme this year, where they prearranged meetings between doctors and company reps, a privilege that the companies paid the doctors for. In theory if this works, one might get paid to attend these conferences and hear a few sales pitches. No one asked me though if they could pay me to listen…. I’m kind of an ADHD sort of customer and want to skip the long winded part of the pitches and cut to the chase though. I tend to read up on the products I’m interested in before arriving.
You can imagine what a pain I can be having checked the references that either support advertising claims (or not).
I came home with a shopping bag full of samples as I do every year. I discovered one company that is selling the UCLA patented liposomal curcumin (LongaVida) in capsules. I had several interesting conversations with a small company from Fort Collins that makes a variety of products in liquid liposomal forms and is offering to make small batches on demand, in a way artesional liposomes. Their science geek was there and he was rather honest when comparing the various competitors. I left intrigued and intend to try the samples he gave me and perhaps do some private labeling.
Several companies have convinced me that their SIBO tests are worth the effort though I am still hoping that one or more will offer me some free tests to try.
Oh but my experiment, I need to tell you about this. While talking to a company that sells fancy enzymes, a company that one our well known ‘extinguished professors’ now works for, I became intrigued with their enzymes that apparently digest gluten and supposedly neutralize its triggering action in gluten intolerant individuals.
“Could we add this to bread dough and make a gluten free wheat bread?” I wondered to the sales guy. Assured that these potent enzymes could rapidly break down gluten I loaded up on them.
First thing this morning I hauled my flour grinder out along with my mixer and started a simple yeast dough, adding just two capsules of these enzymes to about 8 cups of freshly ground Montana whole wheat flour. I started with a sponge with half the flour, let it proof for an hour and then added the rest of the flour. Two more risings and I attempted to form the dough into a loaf. I tried to and should have known that I was in trouble right then. The dough felts like a lump of half congealed glue.
How shall I explain this? The enzymes worked remarkably well and the bread was a total failure. I am about to take it to the compost pile right now, though I fear what it will do to the resident mice.
Gluten, as all the bread baking books say, is important in bread making: “When flour is mixed with water, the gluten swells to form a continuous network of fine strands. This network forms the structure of bread dough and makes it elastic and extensible.”
Just how important was never clear to me until I destroyed the gluten with these enzymes. I have baked bread fairly regularly since I was ten years old. In all those years I have never created such a disgusting loaf of bread. Without gluten, the bread had the consistency and mouth feel of cold oatmeal. Only worse. These nifty enzymes turned the gluten to glue.
So my great plans to retire from practice and get rich selling gluten free whole wheat bread has been put on hold. What was I thinking? I should have known better.
At least I know for sure that those enzymes work as promised. If you are sensitive to gluten and eat some by accident, these enzymes will make it disappear in short order. Pretty impressive.