The human body is supposed to eat a diet abundant in plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, most of the food we eat today is fragmented, heated, processed and virtually dead.
Eating foods that do come with their own enzymes tends to tax our system and puts a lot of load on the pancreas and organs that have to supply even more enzymes for digestion.
As a result, the enzymatic function of the human body gets compromised.
Fortunately for us, replenishing enzymes through supplements and diets is easy to do and also beneficial. In this guide, we will discuss the best digestive enzymes you can buy today and cover the frequently asked questions about them.
The best digestive enzymes on the market
This digestive enzyme supplement from Zenwise contains papain, lactase, protease and amylase to reduce constipation, bloating, gas and belching.
It also contains turmeric which is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
These digestive enzyme supplements are known to significantly aid absorption of nutrients.
More than 6000 users have given this product a 4+ star rating. This is a gluten free product but it may not be safe for celiac disease patients.
Zenwise digestive enzymes also contain a probiotic blend with several probiotic cultures. It contains soy and may not be suitable for people with allergies. It also contains shellfish byproducts.
Many people with constant chronic diarrhea have seen amazing benefits with these pills. Take one pill 2 times a day before meals to enhance digestive health.
Dr. Tobias digestive enzymes contain nearly 18 different enzymes.
This is a plant based pill that is easy to swallow and you can even open it and add to your juices. It is gluten free.
Dr. Tobias digestive enzyme contains aspergillopepsin and many people are able to enjoy fruits and veggies thanks to this pill.
The product has received thousands of positive reviews. On the down side, it contains soy and maltodextrin.
NOW is known for their amazing supplements so you know you are in good hands. NOW Super enzymes contain bromelain, ox bile, pancreatin, papain and is completely soy free and gluten free.
Ox bile is a beneficial ingredient for people with gallbladder disorders. It is also useful for Keto dieters.
Thousands of happy customers have given NOW super enzymes a 4+ star rating. On the downside, it is non vegan and there are no probiotic agents in it.
MAV digestive enzymes contain bromelain, lipase and protease. They are suitable for people who have issues with dairy.
MAV Nutrition is a US based company and these supplements are proudly made in the US.
Highly recommended for people with digestive issues like gas, bloating, IBS, and lactose intolerance.
This supplement helps break down fats, carbohydrates, proteins and more.
It is one of the best digestive enzyme supplements for people with gallbladder issue, IBS, gas, bloating and more.
The formula contains nearly 19 different enzymes including Amylase, Bromelain, Lipase, and Lactase.
More than 25,000 people have improved their digestion thanks to this supplement. They are suitable for vegetarians and are completely gluten free, Non GMO and dairy free.
Dr. Matthews digestive enzymes are third party tested, easy to swallow and come with a fresh peppermint flavor.
This is a combination of several different digestive enzymes and antioxidants. They are recommended for people who need a little help in breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Inf-Zyme tablets are especially recommended to people with chronic or acute inflammation.
Main ingredients in Inf-Zyme are amylase, bromelain, lipase, L-cysteine, pancreatin, papain, rutin, trypsin and zinc.
If taken as a digestive aid, take it once or twice a day before meals. If you are using it as a pill for overcoming illness or inflammation, then take 2-3 tablets between meals. It may even be used by people on sodium restricted diets.
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This is an extra strength pancreatic and digestive enzyme tablet.
Each tablet contains protease, amylase, lipase, trypsin, bromelain, and lysozyme.
When taken with food, it aids digestion, prevents bloating and helps in better nutrient absorption. You can also take it to relieve muscle soreness and aches after workout.
This is a full spectrum digestive enzyme containing protease, lipase, amylase, and cellulose.
You can take the tablet with water or sprinkle it over food (non hot). It has very little taste of its own.
This is a good option for vegetarians who wish to avoid gelatin. The supplement is designed to work in the acidic environment of the stomach and the alkaline environment of the intestines.
This is the perfect digestive enzyme supplement for people who suffer from IBS, gas and bloating or cramps after meals.
It contains a broad profile of digestive enzymes that work across a wide range of pH.
They are recommended for elderly people who have trouble with nutrient absorption since acid production decreases with age.
These vegetarian enzymes are devoid of allergens, non GMO and gluten free. They are a lifesaver for people with no gallbladder or gallbladder related issues.
Chewable digestive enzyme tablets from Garden of Life promote nutrient absorption and aid post meal digestion.
They come in tropical fruit flavors and are highly recommended by America’s Brain Health expert and Board Certified Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter.
Garden of Life chewable enzymes contain nearly 29 different enzymes from organic fruits and vegetables along with bromelain, aspergillopepsin, lipase, phytase and lactase.
It is a wonderful product for people who have trouble digesting certain foods like protein shakes, cabbage, garlic etc.
Digestive enzyme functions and benefits
- Digestive enzymes are protein molecules. They are responsible for thousands of physiological reactions in the body.
- Certain enzymes help the body digest food, get rid of toxins and also repair damaged tissues in the body.
- Digestive enzymes breakdown food particles and enable them to pass through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.
- They participate in various chemical reactions in the body
- Specific enzymes place phosphorus in the bone; others link up iron molecules and red blood cells and still others participate in vision and reproductive functions.
- Enzyme protease breaks down protein, amylase breaks down carbohydrates and lipase breaks down fats.
FAQs on Digestive Enzyme Supplements
What are the benefits of taking digestive enzyme supplements?
The main use of digestive enzyme supplements is to aid digestion.
People with digestive difficulties immediately notice a great improvement in how they feel when they take a digestive enzyme with a meal.
Here are some important benefits of taking digestive enzyme supplements:
- Reduced belching, acidity, gas and bloating
- Lower incidence of bowel issues
- Greater energy post meals instead of fatigue and lethargy
- Reduced abdominal cramps
- Prevention of heartburn
- Anti-inflammatory action – Besides improving digestion and reducing heartburn, digestive enzyme supplements with Bromelain and papain also work as anti-inflammatory agents and can help patients with chronic pain.
Apart from an unhealthy diet, certain medical conditions can also cause digestive enzyme deficiencies such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, and stress.
Such patients can also benefit from supplementation of digestive enzymes.
In patients with AIDS or cancer, enzyme therapy helps restore feeling of well being, decreases side effects of radiation, reduces pain and helps normalize body functions.
Enzymes can help cancer/AIDS patients to put on weight and also feel energetic mentally and physically.
Is there a relation between digestive enzymes and weight loss?
Enzymes play a role in virtually every physiological function and are integral in controlling obesity as well.
Obese individuals often have decreased amount of lipase – the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats.
With digestive enzyme therapy, many people notice improved digestion and metabolism. This, in turn, supports weight loss.
Can you take digestive enzymes for IBS?
Many people who eat processed foods end up straining their pancreas which has to work overtime to produce digestive enzymes to digest that food.
Without proper levels of enzymes from foods either raw or fermented, or from taking supplements, you are susceptible to excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn-all of which are symptoms of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
A biochemist Dr. Edward Howell showed through an experiment that animals that were fed enzyme deficient diets experienced enlargement of pancreas because that organ was working overtime to produce digestive enzymes. So it wasn’t long before their health deteriorated. That is why digestive enzyme based foods or supplements are a must for everyone having digestive difficulties and IBS.
Are there any side effects of taking digestive enzyme supplements?
Natural enzyme supplements are generally harmless and most contain bromelain and papain which are extracted from pineapple and papaya respectively.
These enzymes usually do not cause any serious side effects and are generally well tolerated by fit and healthy people.
Patients with cystic fibrosis must not take digestive enzymes and bromelain should not be administered to patients taking sedatives or antibiotic medications.
Pregnant women must generally be careful about supplements they take.
Similarly, nursing mothers must be careful about supplements that could affect milk supply.
People with hemophilia or those taking blood thinners should discuss with their doctor before taking any supplements.
Anyone considering surgery where there is a high risk of bleeding should discuss with their surgeon prior to taking these medicines.
How to choose a good digestive enzyme supplement?
Enzymes are available over the counter in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid forms.
Some are sold in combination with each other, others may be sold standalone.
Some natural enzymes include bromelain, papain and garlic for better digestion.
For best results, choose a supplement with all major enzyme groups including amylase, protease and lipase.
If you take supplemental dismutase then make sure the product is enteric coated.
The coat is a protective substance that will allow the dismutase to pass intact through the stomach acid and get absorbed in the small intestine.
Never crush or chew these tablets unless they are specified to be chewables.
When is the best time to take digestive enzyme supplements?
Enzyme supplements may be taken after meals to support digestion but in case you happen to eat a lot of cooked/ processed food, then you can take the supplements just before or during the meal.
If you want an anti-inflammatory action, then take the supplement between meals.
Can you make your own digestive enzyme?
Some people do make their own digestive enzymes using papaya seeds.
Simply dry the seeds and powder them in a grinder. Sprinkle the powder over your food; the taste is not much different than pepper powder.
Why is enzyme supplementation vital as we age?
As we age, the production of digestive enzymes naturally slows down.
At the same time, malabsorption of nutrients, tissue breakdown and chronic health conditions also increases.
Taking supplemental enzymes can ensure that you continue getting all the nutrition from the food you consume. That is why enzyme supplementation is important to elderly patients.
Do digestive enzymes really work?
Many people who regularly take digestive enzyme supplements report elimination of following conditions:
- Colon problems
- Fatigue after meals
- Problems with overweight/underweight
- Constipation or loose stools
- Weakened immune system
- Food insensitivities
- Hay fever
How can I increase my digestive enzymes naturally?
There are many things you can do to increase the natural production of digestive enzymes:
- Chew food thoroughly. This will ensure that it gets mixed with the saliva which helps to break down the food into the smallest particles and enhances digestion.
- Eat more raw foods. Raw fruits and vegetables contain plenty of enzymes that aid digestion. Raw honey and sprouts are also loaded with enzymes. Bitter greens are great at stimulating digestive enzymes and can be added to pre-meal salads. You can eat these salads 10-15 minutes before main meals.
- Vegetable juices – Some people cannot digest raw fruits and vegetables owing to high fiber content. In such cases, juicing the fruits and vegetables can help. Juicing allows you to access vitamins, chlorophyll and enzymes without the heavy fiber.
- Ginger is a great enzyme stimulator. The zingibain enzyme in ginger root helps breakdown protein and also stimulates the production of other digestive enzymes. The hot and spice gingerols also stimulate salivary production which contains enzymes.
- Probiotic or fermented foods are an essential part of digestive health. Eat yogurt with live cultures to stimulate digestive enzymes and balance gut flora. Make sure you eat plain yogurt with live cultures as pasteurization can kill the probiotic bacteria. Also go for sauerkraut, miso and kefir.
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