Maltase is a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme that cleaves the bond linking the two parts of the maltose sugar molecule. Maltose is a naturally-occurring sugar that is produced as the body breaks down starches from long chains into shorter molecules using the amylase enzyme and also in germinating seeds as preparation for sprouting. It is also a by-product of heating sugar during various cooking processes, specifically during carmelization at higher temperatures in which the the sugar present in food turns brown.
Maltase breaks down the disaccharide maltose in to two glucose molecules, which are easily oxidized by the body for energy. In simple words, maltase is an important part of the enzymatic process that our bodies use to effectively digest starches and sugars present in grains and other plant-based foods we eat daily.
This enzyme is synthesized in the lining of the intestinal wall and used with the cells inside our mucous membranes. Beginning in the oral cavity, maltase works with other carbohydrate-digesting enzymes to break down starches and complex sugars into simpler, more-digestible pieces. This process is reduced or temporarily halted during the more acidic phases of digestion in the stomach but is resumed in the relatively neutral pH of the small intestine where maltase is again secreted. The vegetarian supplement form of this enzyme is produced by a natural fermentation process of Aspergillis oryzae.
The Health Benefits of Maltase
Maltase is one of the most important enzymes in our digestive process, as it is a key enzyme in the mouth and the saliva. The enzyme maltase helps to relieve the burden of digestion on the pancreas and the small intestine. Without this important enzyme, the small intestine has a much harder time breaking down sugars and starches. In this way, maltase helps the entire digestive system function smoothly. Similarly, having enough maltase present in the gut may lower irritation and support multiple health benefits beyond digestion.
1. May act as a preventative and support mechanism for digestive complaints in autistic children
Research is now emerging more and more in support of the use of digestive enzymes such as maltase for children with autism spectrum disorders. Studies confirm that many autistic children show a correlation with lowered intestinal disaccharide activity. This is related to the presence of enzymes such as maltase in the gut. Because children with autism show reduced amounts of maltase, studies are now looking into supplementing with the maltase enzyme to help their symptoms. A recent study found that over half of a sampling of 36 autistic children were found to have gastrointestinal disorders related to a lack of enzymes in the gut. Similarly, gastrointestinal biopsies show that these same children suffer from chronic irritation of the stomach, duodenum and esophagus, a common symptom of a lack of enzymes.¹
2. May act as a preventive mechanism and support for chronic diarrhea
Studies on patients with chronic diarrhea show reduced amounts of digestive enzymes like maltase (as well as lactase and sucrase). These studies suggest that a lack of maltase, as well as other important enzymes may be a causative factor behind the classic roots of chronic diarrhea. This research suggests that maltase enzyme supplementation may reduce irritation and excess gut mucosal secretions.²
3. Prevention of digestive upset associated with congenital digestive conditions
Scientists are now understanding the link between genetics and the digestive system. Some children and infants have chronic diarrhea, as well as cramping and abdominal distension. This, if left untreated, can lead to digestive imbalances all throughout life, and into adulthood. These people are unable to properly break down the disaccharide sucrose. Studies suggest that the use of fungal-derived maltase in human studies have shown significant clinical improvements in children with these extremely challenging digestive conditions. This research further suggests a clear link between the use of carbohydrate enzymes like maltase as a useful treatment for supporting digestive upset associated with enzyme deficiencies. Moreover, what each of these clinical studies suggests is that enzymes help all of us digest better on a daily basis. Without them, disease ensues. ² ³
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Maltase
Maltase is measured by the FCC in DP (Diastatic Power – Maltase activity). This assay is an FCC measure based on a 30-min hydrolysis of a starch substrate a pH 4.6 and 20 degrees Celcius. The reducing sugar produced is measured in a titrimetric procedure using alkaline ferricyanide. The FCC notation stands for Foods Chemical Codex, and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI.
Where Can I Find The Best Source of Maltase?
The product VeganZyme® contains a 100% vegan form of maltase produced by the natural fermentation process of Aspergillis oryzae. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, contains no animal product and is completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
VeganZyme is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.
VeganZyme may also be used as a systemic enzyme blend to break down excess mucus, fibrin, various toxins, allergens, as well as excess clotting factors throughout your body.
- Horvath K, Papadimitriou JC, Rabsztyn A, Drachenberg C, Tildon JT. Gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autistic disorder. J Pediatr. 1999 Nov;135(5):559-63.
- Treem WR, Ahsan N, Sullivan B, Rossi T, Holmes R, Fitzgerald J, Proujansky R, Hyams J. Evaluation of liquid yeast-derived sucrase enzyme replacement in patients with sucrase-isomaltase deficiency. Gastroenterology. 1993 Oct;105(4):1061-8.
- David Wolfson, ND, Stephen Olmstead, MD, Dennis Meiss, PhD, Janet Ralston. Making sense of digestive enzymes (PDF). Klaire Labs. 2008.