Changemaking The Science of Nutrition

What Is DPP IV? (and Why Might You Want It)

Steph Greunke

What Is DPP IV? (and Why Might You Want It)

Table of contents

  • Intro
  • Meet DPP IV
  • How Does DPP IV Work to Digest Gluten?
  • So Does This Mean I Can Eat Gluten Again?
  • Where Can I Get DPP IV?

0 min read


It’s estimated that 25% of Americans avoid gluten, and even more try to limit it. Some have been diagnosed with celiac disease while others just find they feel better without gluten in their lives. 

But even with the best intentions to avoid gluten, research shows that nearly one-third of restaurant meals labeled gluten-free still contain gluten. Other studies have found similar rates in packaged food products labeled gluten-free. 

In other words, even if you think you’re eating gluten-free, you’re likely still consuming gluten


So what can you do? It turns out, there’s an enzyme that can help in cases of accidental gluten exposure. DPP-IV (dipeptidyl peptidase IV) is a digestive enzyme that can help to break down gluten. That means it can help minimize some of the discomforts associated with eating gluten. If you’ve ever felt a little extra full, bloated, gassy, or otherwise uncomfortable after eating out, DPP IV could be helpful.

How Does DPP IV Work to Digest Gluten?

When some people, including those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), or intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut) ingest gluten, their body elicits an immune response that causes inflammation and intestinal damage. This can show up as gas, bloating, diarrhea, skin issues, brain fog, malnutrition, and more.

DPP IV is considered a protease - an enzyme that breaks down proteins or peptides (2 or more amino acids). It works specifically to break down many of the common components found in a gluten protein into smaller compounds. These smaller components are more easily digested and therefore do not cause the body to react as aggressively.

So Does This Mean I Can Eat Gluten Again?

No. DPP IV is not meant to replace a gluten-free diet or to treat or prevent celiac disease. DPP-IV can support those who are already following a gluten-free diet but may need help breaking down gluten that was unintentionally ingested. It is not capable of breaking down large amounts of gluten.

Where Can I Get DPP IV?

We include DPP IV as one of the 14 powerful and effective enzymes in our pregnancy and breastfeeding safe Digestive Enzymes. We suggest taking one capsule before eating out or eating any food that you didn't prepare. For overall digestive comfort, take one capsule before every meal. 

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Steph Greunke, MS, RD, CPT, PMH-C

Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian that specializes in prenatal/postnatal nutrition, behavioral psychology, and holds additional certifications in perinatal mental health and fitness. She's a key contributor and advisor to Needed as well as Needed’s Head of Practitioner Relationships. Steph is the owner of Postpartum Reset, an online postpartum nutrition course, and the co-host of "Doctor Mom" podcast.