- What is diastase?
Diastase is an enzyme group that is originally found in malt and it is produced when the germination of the seeds happens. Diastase transforms starch into maltose and after that it converts it this into glucose.
- Specialists have said that the first enzyme ever discovered was diastase. Two chemists from a sugar factory in France, Jean-Francois Persoz and his colleague Anselme Payen, extracted the enzyme from malt back in 1833. They also discovered that this particular enzyme turns carbohydrates into sugar after breaking them down. This process makes carbohydrates much more digestible.
- Diastase comes from the Greek term diastatis which means separation. It was called like this because when you heat beer mash, this particular enzyme quickly transforms starch from the barley seed into sugars that are soluble, separating the husk from the seed. Nowadays the γ-, β- and α- amylase, simply known as hydrolases, are called diastase. All the other enzymes were named using the –ase suffix after the diastase. The pharmaceutical drug containing diastase uses the code A09AA01.
These days, diastase can be taken out from the barley seed even after all the beer ingredients were mixed and heated. This beneficial enzyme can also be extracted from various other sources. These include plants, saliva and milk. However, for obtaining a natural diastase there can be used numerous natural sources.
The enzymes that were discovered in the human saliva are glucoamylase and amylase. These two make carbohydrates digestible by converting them into sugar. Even though they’re extremely common, there are people who cannot produce enough saliva to breakdown and digest foods in a proper way. This is the moment when diastase becomes helpful.
- It can be easily used to replace amylase because it features a natural form. Usually, grains, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and any other starchy food are easily digested when supplements containing malt diastase are taken.
- There were even some studies taken that revealed that those who have diabetes in early stages, extra weight or digestive problems can beneficially use diastase. However, these studies weren’t approved yet by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.
Individuals with acid reflux problems can also benefit from a diastase treatment. The acid reflux appears when some foods cannot be digested in a proper way. This leads to issues like abdominal pain, burning in the chest and throat and upset stomach. Since milk and honey have natural diastase, drinking these two together can be very helpful for relieving acid reflux problems. When individuals don’t want or cannot take medicines, diastase supplements can be an option. Specialists advise individuals to see the instructions before using diastase supplements, because even if it’s beneficial, it cannot cure all medical problems.
- Health benefits
Diastase is very useful when people cannot digest starch correctly or when they have pancreatic diseases. This enzyme can definitely have positive benefits and it can be used in various forms. The malt extract is obtained by using a rather easy process. It is extracted with water and after that evaporated and converted into a thick substance. This contains a small amount of diastase, nutritive essences and maltose. This substance is actually a carbohydrate food, since the diastatic activity is quite slow. However, because it’s sweet, the product is beneficial for diminishing the bad taste of some drugs like cascara and cod-liver oil.
On the market you can also find malt extracts that are actually malt liquors extracted from beer. They contain many nutritive compounds and 2% alcohol. Because of the hops, they can sometimes have a bitter taste. These extracts of malt are active in digesting the starch.