Houston Enzymes
 Issue 33,  March/April 2010
In This Issue
What defines the "best" enzyme product?
Autism book: enzyme chapter by Dr. Houston
Enzymes help friends & family
Do enzymes cause constipation?
Q and A with Dr. H
Find out when we are coming your way
What defines the "best" enzyme product?
From Dr. Houston
Our natural tendency is to want "The Best".  Whatever it is, we want to have "The Best".  Best food, best car, best kitchen, best garden, etc.  It is no different with choosing an enzyme product.  People often seek me out, give a quick description of diet, lifestyle, and digestive problems; then ask:
"So what's the BEST enzyme product I can use?" 
The answer is: The best enzyme product for you is the one THAT WORKS for you

Enzymes do work in a predictable way, but the effect of any particular enzyme product can be altered by your individual differences: diet, GI environment, stressors, metabolism, and much more may produce an effect different from your neighbor, even though you take the same product. 
For example, taking the enzyme lactase is helpful for lactose intolerance.  The enzyme breaks down lactose into galactose and glucose, regardless of who takes it.  But how it affects overall gut health can vary from person to person.  The quantity of lactose ingested, the type of probiotic bacteria growing in the  gut, and other foods eaten with the lactose-containing food may result in regular bowel movements in one person, slight constipation in others, while some may see only slight benefit.

There are only about 20 different enzyme blends available for formulating an enzyme supplement.  Many companies now have enzyme products, but rarely do you see the exact formulation used in any two products.  The exception being those who have knocked off my formulations! 
Enzyme companies have used these different enzyme blends to develop a wide variety of enzyme products.  The vast majority of these were formulated based on price points to maximize profits for the company, not to address any specific digestive support.  If you are buying an enzyme product based on price alone, you are most likely wasting money on an inferior product. 
Here is what I suggest. Rather than look for the best enzyme product, look for the best enzyme company.  Such a company realizes the differences between people, knows how enzymes and digestion work, provides plenty of supportive information,  and also knows how different enzymes can work together. 
Find the best company, and you are assured of getting the best product.

-Devin Houston
Autism book: enzyme chapter by Dr. Houston 
Cutting-Edge Therapies for AutismThe recently released book Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism includes a chapter by our own Dr. Devin Houston titled, "Enzymes for Digestive Support in Autism".  
In Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism, writer Ken Siri and publisher Tony Lyons compile contributions from more than fifty experts. Siri and Lyons, each fathers of children with autism, offer the latest in autism research, therapies, and treatments.
Order from your favorite bookseller.
Enzymes help friends & family
Dr. Houston,

I met you at a conference you held in El Dorado Hills, CA last year. Your enzymes have been instrumental in helping my entire family and many of my friends take them now too. I belong to the BEDROK Group (Body Ecology Diet Recovering Our Kids), and we so appreciate the services you provide. I spread the word to anyone I think will benefit from it. Thank you for the wonderful work you do to help our kids!

Heather Henriksen
Citrus Heights, CA
Do Enzymes Cause Constipation?
Some who take enzymes often complain of being constipated after a few days' use and wonder if the enzymes are the cause.  Since enzymes do have an effect on the quantity and form of stools, the question of constipation is valid.

In most cases, what one sees with enzyme use is not really constipation in a pure definition of the term. 
Constipation implies a slow-down in gut motility such that the stools dry out or become impacted.  Enzymes don't affect gut motility.  They can affect the size of the stools and this may be what most are actually seeing. 
Enzymes, at some dose, will break foods down more thoroughly such that more of the food is absorbed into the body and not passed out as feces.  Also, that matter which is passed will be considerably less in amount and more rounded, about marble-sized.  We become accustomed to having a certain amount of bulk go through and out the GI tract and it can be distracting when we don't "go" as much or on our usual schedule, so we think we are "constipated" when actually we are not. 
True constipation in a child will present with pain, a sense of fullness, and possibly distension of the abdomen if impaction is occurring. If a child has had any distension of the colon perhaps through having large stools over an extended period in the past, then the enlarged colon may have difficulty pushing smaller feces through.  In this case, it is possible for the small rounded fecal matter to become impacted.

It is important when using enzymes to include plenty of water and fiber in the diet.  This helps maintain bulk in the stools for easier passage.

If one does have trouble with having fewer and smaller stools, simply lower the dose of enzymes or use them for only 1 or 2 meals per day.  Certain enzymes, like xylanase and glucanase, tend to soften stools, while the starch-degrading enzymes like amylase firm up stools.  But this will also depend on the diet.  High amylase and other carbohydrase enzymes taken with high-carb/starch meals will likely result in firmer stools unless the enzyme dosing has been optimized.  Proteins usually don't contribute much to the bulk of stools so high-protease enzyme products should not contribute much to firming stools.

If constipation is already a problem with your child, consult your enzyme company for specifics that can prevent making the problem worse.  Other supplements, like fish oil, flaxseed, vitamin C and magnesium can also help counter the stool-firming effects of enzymes.
Q and A with Dr. H

From our facebook group:

Q: What happens if Trienza is taken minutes before a meal? Is it less effective? How long does it usually take to notice results? AFP was a short time to see improved BM's and when we stopped the AFP the BMs started coming in his sleep. My son is overweight 180 at 11yrs old he is about 5'4" tall right now. 
A: The timing of dosing of enzymes is more an art than science; many variables are at work. It may also be that the AFP is more effective than the TriEnza for your son's particular problems. Why do you want to switch to TriEnza if you were seeing better BMs with AFP? Results should be seen in a couple of days.
From Dr. Houston's e-mail bag
Q: If you are low in stomach acid will the enzymes help with this?
A: Enzymes do not affect acid production.  However, one of the functions of acid is to activate the pancreatic enzymes.  Since plant (oral) enzymes are already active, they do not need acid for that reason.  So one can get around one of the problems of low acid by using plant enzyme supplements.
Find out when we are coming your way 
Dr. Houston will be speaking/exhibiting at the events below.  Find more details at our Event Calendar.
Does your group want to learn more about enzymes? Contact Outreach Coordinator Cindy Kelley for:
  • Presentations
  • DVDs
  • Literature

Dr. Devin Houston, Ph.D. enzyme biochemist, speaks at no cost to parent groups and parent conferences.

Click here for event details and updates. 

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