This week, we are talking about enzymes. Enzymes are used and recommended by practitioners across our ecosystem. There are many different supplement companies that are recommending enzymes, so we wanted to get to the guy behind the guy, like where are these enzymes coming from? What are the most popular types of enzymes? We have Dr. John Deaton of Deerland on to answer these questions. Deerland is a B2B company that quite likely provides enzymes to the supplement company that you use. They’re known for Dairylytic® and Glutalytic®, which are ingredients to help with the breakdown of gluten and dairy. Over the next half an hour, we’re going to jump into the science of enzymes, and learn how the science is a crucial part of the future of medicine.

Highlights include:

  • How Dairylytic® and Glutalytic® break down gluten and dairy
  • How you can use them clinically
  • How they fit with other clinical strategies for supporting the digestive tract

The Science of Enzymes - Ep 261

James Maskell: Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast, the place health professionals come to hear from innovators and agitators leading the charge. We cover the latest clinical breakthroughs in health technology, as well as practical tools to help you transform your practice and the health of your community. This podcast is brought to you by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center, who provide a range of options to help you deliver successful, effective, functional, and integrative medicine. To find out more and to get started, go to That’s

Hello, and welcome to the podcast over this year, we have looked at some of the most common and popular supplements and going in the science behind those supplements. And this week we are bringing it back to enzymes. Enzymes are used and recommended by practitioners all across our ecosystem. There are many different supplement companies that have brands that are recommending enzymes. So we wanted to get to the guy behind the guy, like where are these enzymes coming from? What are the most popular types of enzymes? And so we ended up chatting with Dr. John Deaton of Deerland and Deerland is a B2B company that is providing quite likely the supplement company that you use with their enzymes. They’re known for Dairylytic® and Glutalytic®, which are ingredients to help with the breakdown of gluten and dairy. And over the next half an hour, we’re going to jump into the science of enzymes, what they’re doing in the body, how they break down gluten and dairy, how you can use them clinically, how they fit with other strategies in the digestive tract.

It was a really interesting half an hour. And it makes me realize that this is an important part of the future of medicine. Dr. Deaton has a PhD in biochemistry. His original research was in cancer research, but he’s working every day on primary research in the field of enzymes. So I think this would be a really enlightening half an hour for any clinician…enjoy! So a warm welcome to the podcast, Dr. John Deaton. Welcome, doc.

John Deaton: Thank you, sir.

James Maskell: Really excited to get into sort of like the details of the enzyme industry and really understand it from your perspective. So let’s just get started with the story how did you first get started with research into digestive enzymes?

John Deaton: Millions of Americans suffer from some kind of digestive distress. And so it was a very interesting and hot topic for us to look into, especially with the enzyme expertise that we have on staff. And so we’re, we knew that we actually had some technologies that actually could help in this area. And so it was mainly just doing the research, identifying the areas that we could provide the best benefit and creating formulations that were very efficacious.

James Maskell: Yeah. So when you first got started and you were trying to understand what digestive enzymes did what were some of the sort of initial discoveries that made you realize you’re on the right path?

John Deaton: Sure. So as you age, there’s, at least for me, and I know many others that what you could eat when you’re young, you can’t always eat as you get older without having some discomforts, gas, bloating, things like that. And this not just age, but also even young people, babies actually have, can develop issues with being able to digest dairy.

And so if you actually look at the science, being able to help break that down. So what your body does is when it consumes food and nutrients it, those are very large particles and it has to break those down in order to absorb them and take advantage of them. Also, large particles can be destructive to the digestive tract. It can cause an immune response, which will make you not feel very well. And being able to break those large particles into small particles helps alleviate those issues. And so that’s what started us down this path is that if you actually look at things such as simply as babies and babies formula, when babies have problems digesting milk, they hydrolyze it exactly what we’re doing. They break it down into small particles and then the babies can actually consume it without an immune response. And so they’re a lot, they can actually take advantage of all the nutrients that you get from the milk without any of the negative side effects.

James Maskell: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I guess gluten and dairy are probably the two biggest things that I know that practitioners in our community are sort of working with as triggers in the food. You mentioned their dairy, you got big particles being broken down and so that they can be used. Tell us a little bit more about gluten-related sensitivities and sort of how the various digestive issues gluten can cause. And what you think about that.

John Deaton: Sure. Gluten is used in numerous foods. It is actually provides the structure, the texture that everyone loves with bread and pasta and things like that. But part of that structure and texture comes along with it’s difficult for your body to digest it. It is a very rigid structure. It’s a very strong structure, considered a brick building and really to come in there and be able to knock it down, you have to have some very strong enzyme’s equipment in order to do that and not, and some bodies struggle in being able to break it down. And if you don’t, your immune system can respond to it in a negative way. And it can actually cause issues. And gluten is designed to have amino acids that are difficult to hydrolyze. And so your body doesn’t always have the right equipment to do that.

Luckily though, there are supplemental enzymes in nature that you can take advantage of. And we have, we can oscillate those and we can test those and we can develop formulations that make it very efficient to break down gluten, as well as dairy. Again, both of them, very large molecules that are difficult to break down and finding the right enzymes to break those is down is very important and there’s different ways that we can do that. And I can go into that if you want me to.

James Maskell: Yeah. How do you sort of start the process of working out what’s doing what?

John Deaton: Yes. So one of the things, if you actually look at the market, what was out there both for and we will start with gluten, for instance, you see a lot of DPP four, which is, it’s also an endogenous enzyme that you have in your body and it breaks down gluten.

It just does it very slowly. And if you think of it as a long chain, it actually chews and breaks apart the chain from the outside in. And so it’s chain link at a time. And so it takes a long time if your chain is hundreds of links long to break it down, which is exactly what gluten is. But if you get some chain cutters that actually can cleave inside, as well as outside, then you exponentially increase your rate of digestion. And so that’s basically what we do. We looked at the existing technology. We knew that we could improve it. And if you look at the, what we call the exopeptidases, which are the ones that cleave on the outside only that just wasn’t sufficient enough, that was slow. That’s why it’s in your body. But, and that’s fine, but there’s things that you can couple that with.

You can couple that with endogenous prolyl endopeptidases, which cleaved inside. And so by cleaving inside you accelerate the rate of degradation manyfold and accelerate the rate very quickly. So that you’re digesting within that time period from the esophagus through the stomach, through the small intestines. So that you’re degrading it small enough that it doesn’t cause an immune response, but also at the same time, you’re getting maximum absorption of the nutrients. That again, can be very beneficial. Gluten and dairy have very numerous amino acids, peptides that are very nutritious that provide numerous building blocks for your body and are important for you to break down and absorb, but you’ve got to make sure that you’re breaking them down to begin with.

James Maskell: Yeah, so interesting. I remember more than 10 years ago, 14 years ago, I would say I started working for a supplement company and we had enzyme formulas there and I can remember sitting at dinner with other people that worked in the company and they would pass around the enzymes before we ate and everyone would be like stocking up. And I remember, anyone who wasn’t in the industry at that point that was definitely a weird thing to do, right. To pass around the enzyme formula before you ate.

And then over the last 14 years this has started to make it, I guess, a little bit more mainstream where I’ve actually had someone outside the industry at a dinner, just like pass around the enzymes as well. So, I mean in the time that you’d be part of the industry, have you seen, the sort of acceptance of the science transfer further into the general population and what does that look like from your end, given that you guys are sort of like supplying a lot of the industry, a lot of the different supplement companies with your enzymes?

John Deaton: Exactly it, I, no I’ve been with Deerland for 13 years and the evolution, the growth of digestive enzymes to me has been amazing. As you mentioned, you would have, you would see it every once in a while with people taking digestive enzymes, every once in a while, we would get a question about digestive enzymes from consumers. They would find their way back to us, even though we’re a B2B company, the names on the packages sometimes would have them come back and you would see that more mom and pop stores would have the digestive enzymes versus nowadays you see that evolution where large companies are taking a very strong interest in digest in enzymes because they’re seeing what the consumers are seeing and needing. And that’s digestive aids. When they’re consuming a lot of different types of food, and especially as they age there’s just a, it provides an immediate impact.

It’s something that you can feel almost instantaneously when you’re consuming the food, you take your digestive enzyme with it. And so you’re seeing that trend. And now at least once or twice a week, we’re actually getting consumers that are making their way back to us asking questions about enzymes, because we’re the enzyme formulation experts. And so consumers will still ask us questions. And so things where you would get one question, maybe every couple months, we’re now getting constant questions every week. And so you can see the, you can see the popularity of digestive enzymes growing year after year. And so it’s been great. And you also hear the testimonials. We’ve gotten numerous testimonials now where people will find with Glutalytic® and Dairylytic®, and products like that, where people call up and say, “Hey, I couldn’t a slice of pizza. Now I can, I couldn’t eat a donut and now I can.”

And so that’s awesome. That’s great. Thank you. And again, we’re not doing, we’re not making a product just specifically for people to be able to consume certain foods or splurge. It’s mainly so that you can consume things and not worry about cross contamination, that you’re consuming things that amounts that don’t, that everyone’s bodies react differently. And so you want to make sure that you’re not doing anything that puts you, that causes you to have digestive discomfort, but when you do having a supplement there that can actually help alleviate those issues is very important. And I, and people see that. And that’s why I think these products are becoming popular.

James Maskell: Yeah, no, I get that for sure. Hey, so let’s go. You mentioned a word in your last answer that I want to go a little bit deeper on into the science. So you mentioned endopeptidases. So my understanding is there’s endo and then there’s exo. So can you just tell us a little bit about the difference between those and then so how those things work in order to break down as an example, we were talking about gluten.

John Deaton: Sure. So basically exopeptidases start breaking down from the surface. And so you don’t have a lot of access to the meat of the protein that you’re trying to break down. So it takes a very long time to consume it, whereas endopeptidases, they can get in there and they actually get into the heart of the meat of the protein and they’re able to chop it up. And so basically it’s the difference between trying to eat a steak whole from the outside in versus chopping it up into tiny pieces and then consuming it that way. It’s much easier to chop it up and consuming it versus trying to eat it from one end or the other. It just makes it a lot more accessible and you’re able to accelerate your consumption of it. And so I don’t know if that was a great example, but it’s—

James Maskell: No, I get the idea. So, with is, I guess, when I think about taking, I mean, ultimately is it in your estimation the best thing to do is to eat it along with the foods? Or are we really talking about sort of rebalancing the environment so that ultimately, is there a point by which, you can rebalance the environment to maybe it’s natural state, to a point where you don’t need to take enzymes all the time again or is taking enzymes, going to be a state of optimal modern health, given the sort of degradation of the food system.

John Deaton: I think it’s the optimal state, just because, I mean, if you have some minor discomforts, I think it’s going to be hard to take it so that it’s going to alleviate all your issues. If you’re consuming something and you’re taking supplemental enzymes, that means that your endogenous enzymes are not sufficient to handle what you’re consuming. So your options are that you either consume a lot less or take it out completely, or you have to use supplemental enzymes in order to help you digest the food that you’re consuming. So, and plus the way that people process the foods, it makes it even harder for your body to digest. And so having a supplemental enzyme that can aid and work with your endogenous enzymes is very important. So usually the people that start with digestive enzymes continue with them. It’s an everyday product that they’re consuming along with it. It just, it works better when you’re consuming. You’re taking your supplement with your food.

James Maskell: Okay. All right. Well, we talked about gluten for a minute there. So let’s talk about dairy, cause I know Dairylytic® is one of your best-selling enzymes in this is part of the why your enzymes are used in all of these different supplement companies formulations. So let’s just talk about that. So I guess the first thing is, I know that dairy issues are common in a lot of people. How do you know whether it’s like lactose intolerance or whether it’s this immune response from these protein components that are it too big in the digestive tract and how does a clinician tell the difference between those two kind of cases?

John Deaton: It’s very difficult, but one of the interesting things is the sports market or the sports, the athletes, because what they basically did is of course they, they use a lot of milk protein. They use whey and casing. And what was one of the interesting things was when they first developed the product. So they have the concentrate out there and that the concentrate has the sugars, as well as the protein. And when they’re consuming 25, 35 grams of the material, they were not, they were filling a good portion of the athletes were actually having digestive distress. And so the companies actually created what we, what is an ocelot. And so basically they removed the sugar and they thought, well, this would fix all the problems. Surely it’s just lactose and everyone should be fine. Well, it turns out that they were not a good portion of the people were still struggling with digestive discomforts, from taking ocelot.

And the only thing left there is protein. And so if you actually look at the immune system, you look at the immune response from whey and casein. They have a lot of peptides. If they’re not digested completely, or actually elicit an immune response. And so you get the same reactions that people with lactose intolerance were getting with the protein and just removing the sugar was not sufficient. And so you had to take it to a next step and that’s hydrolyzing the protein. And now the people that were struggling with the issues are now much more able to consume it without the digestive discomforts. And so you can carry that over to the general population it’s the same thing. The same mechanisms are still present. Your body can be sensitive and have reactions, immune reactions to whey and casein very easily. And if you’re suffering from lactose and you take it out of your diet, but you still can’t eat the, consume the protein, then it’s definitely that.

And more than likely if you’re, you, it’s, in some cases, in many cases, it’s actually a combination of both. And so that’s the reason that we actually created Dairylytic®, it’s to handle both the sugar and the protein. And so if you look at an eight ounce glass of milk, it will actually digest both the sugar, as well as the protein down to are small components that do not elicited immune response within 90 minutes. And so that’s the time it takes from the, for you to consume milk through the stomach, into the small intestines where you would start to get the digestive discomfort.

James Maskell: I mean, in our community, obviously there’s a lot of doctors who are working with the like chronically ill patient, right? So there’s dysfunction happening beyond maybe like simple sensitivities. So in that population, do you still think it’s reasonable for people to just take the enzymes and then eat, drink the eight ounces of milk or the McDonald’s milkshake or whatever other stuff is this, or is there more sensitivity needed in different patient populations?

John Deaton: Yeah. It’s going to vary from person to person. We always recommend that they consult their physicians when they’re taking things like that. Can it be beneficial? Yes. But again, we don’t want to, without knowing person’s history and a lot of information recommend something and I, it’s always better that they actually talk to their physicians about that, but yes, could it be beneficial? Absolutely. But they definitely, they should consult with experts that have their history and know them before consuming.

James Maskell: I want to talk a little bit about cross-contamination because I’ve spent a lot of time with people who, very serious gluten-free and can’t have gluten and maybe they’re celiac, maybe they have some serious side effects of that side of things. Have you found that this can taking like the Glutalytic® and that support people who maybe might get cross contamination from other forms of grains where people who have, who are very sensitive to gluten may get symptoms from products that are not necessarily centrally gluten, but maybe cross-contaminated.

John Deaton: Oh, absolutely. So, I mean, it was many years ago, they actually had a very large, a gluten-sensitive celiac conference in California. And I went there and it was amazing to me as we were developing the Glutalytic® formulation that people were actually were not looking for. You would have testimonials you’ll have request that people would get up on stage and constantly ask is they were not looking to eat a slice of pizza or a donut. They were actually looking to help avoid these accidental exposures that they were constantly coming in contact with. And they would say, and these were both gluten-sensitive as well celiac, “I’m exposed to two to three times a week with this situation. I if I eat anywhere outside of my home in a very controlled environment, I’m at risk.

And so I can’t go to, I can’t go to any public place. I can’t go to my friends. I can’t go to my neighbors and I can’t go to my family members, every one of them, or everywhere I turn, somebody’s using gluten. And while they do their best to clean everything up, there’s always accidental exposure.” And it’s that, it was actually the majority of the community was their biggest concern, their biggest area, where if we could get a product that would help us do that, that would be a huge improvement in their lives.

And so, I think for Glutalytic®, I think that is one of the best things that it can do is if you’re worried about cross-contamination, if you’re worried about accidental contact, then Glutalytic® can definitely help. And so not only that, if you’re, if it has gluten along with other proteins, which is the case in many instances where you have gluten is a coupled with soy or peanuts or things like that, that only makes the situation worse. And the Glutalytic® is designed to handle not just gluten, but as you mentioned, other proteins, egg, and soy and milk, and even peanuts and other proteins that you’re constantly consuming. And so it, it’s basically a protection from accidental contamination and you accidentally ingesting something, even though you’re doing everything you can not to.

James Maskell: Is there some way of like, is there something that you are putting in the product that is helping the enzymes survive inside what can be kind of like a hostile digestive environment?

John Deaton: Our enzymes are formulated to handle both the stomach and the small intestinal conditions. And so both for pH and other components in there, our enzymes survive. So we can show that we can simulate the stomach, we can simulate the small intestines, and we can show that we’re getting the activity that we formulated for.

James Maskell: That’s cool. Okay. Well, look, I really appreciate coming to share here, I’ve, obviously I’ve been in the industry 16 years and I’ve seen and worked with all kinds of practitioners and enzymes are one of the broadest, I say, categories that I think practitioners doing clinical nutrition or functional medicine are using with their patients. I’ve seen the results for myself.

And I really appreciate, it took a while to work out like who was the guy behind the guy, or who was the team behind the team, because obviously a lot of different companies and brands have enzyme formulas, but I was glad to be able to make the connection I guess just the last question is this year our theme here at the Evolution of Medicine has been the reinvention of medicine and obviously we will leave that functional medicine and some of this is going to be a big part of the future of chronic disease care, from your perspective, what do you see as this, the reinvention of medicine and how do you think that enzymes can play a role in that?

John Deaton: Yes I think as we’ve discussed on here that as people continue to eat foods that are processed a lot of fast foods, a lot of fried foods and things like that, it’s, it just creates a much more complex food matrices that it makes it difficult for your body to break down. And so those components along with just environmental factors that sometimes hurt your endogenous enzyme level. And then of course, just the natural aging process, I think, as science truly understands how your body ages and things that is needed in order to truly supplement or aid so that you can maintain a healthy digestive level. It’s probably the best term, I guess. So it’s going to be coupling both with, your indigenous enzymes with supplemental enzymes. And I think one of the other things is when you, the more people cook and this is, cooking and frying things is not a, we’ve not been doing that for very long in the history of human evolution and your body is not really adapted to it yet.

I mean, you destroy a lot of natural enzymes that occur in vegetables and fruits and numerous food components. And those are enzymes that your body was naturally using in sync with its own endogenous enzymes to help digest the food that you were consuming. You’ve taken that away from it. And basically being able to supplement back in, I think is very important. And I think that we will see that as the science continues to advance, being able to quantify exactly what are you losing either from the processes that you’re doing to the food or as you age, or just certain deficiencies through injury or other issues, and then having a supplement there to help you or a digestive aid to help you is going to be really important.

James Maskell: Yeah that’s good. So where do you see the future research of your organization going, are there certain areas where you’re looking into now beyond gluten and dairy?

John Deaton: Oh, absolutely. And again, we’re looking at foods that are much more difficult to break down, whether it’s sugars, fats, protein, the more complex the bigger they are, the harder they are to break down. And so looking at other areas you mentioned, we mentioned on this one outside of gluten and milk there’s soy and peanuts and shellfish, there’s numerous types of foods that cause immune responses and damage to the digestive tract that digestive aids can definitely help.

James Maskell: Awesome. All right. Well, doc, thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate to share your wisdom and insight with our practitioner community. If you are listening to this and you are a practitioner using enzymes, check the bottle of your favorite brand, because chances are, you’re probably using Deerland’s products inside your products and this has been an ongoing series for us this year to look at the most popular supplements that have been used and get the science behind them. And so thanks so much for being part of the Evolution of Medicine podcast. We’ve been here with Dr. John Deaton, who’s the VP of science at Deerland. And we look forward to connecting again in the future. If you have any more questions about enzymes, feel free to reach out to us and or to the product manufacturers and supplements you’re using. And yeah, thanks so much for being part of it. And this has been the Evolution of Medicine podcast, and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks for listening to the evolution of medicine podcast. Please share this with colleagues who need to hear it. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. This podcast is really possible because of them. Please visit to find out more about their clinical tools like the group visit toolkit. That’s Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you next time.


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