from Dr. Devin Houston, Ph.D.
The science world is chock full of new data on different enzymes:
This indicates that enzymes are an extremely hot area of research right now. Enzymes increase the efficiency of chemical reactions, which lowers costs of food production, bio-fuel development, and opens up promising avenues of treating disease.
Digestive food enzymes, long considered to be boring and of little interest compared to enzymes involved in metabolism and disease, are also getting a second look. Several universities are studying food-based enzymes as possible treatments for celiac disease
, derived from the plant stems of pineapples, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Papain
appears to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Science lives and dies by well-controlled studies. Anecdotal evidence, while a good starting point, is often not sufficient evidence to call something a "treatment" or "cure". Good studies proving such, however, are expensive and take years to reach a satisfactory endpoint. Even when done, the results are often open to interpretation and difficult for the non-scientist lay person to understand.
So how are we to judge whether dietary supplements are effective or a waste of money? Here are the guidelines I go by:
1) Is the product safe? Above all, safety in the use of a supplement is the most important factor. Enzyme supplements are considered extremely safe. Historical use over centuries, human studies showing no side effects even when taking huge doses of enzymes over long periods, and the fact that enzymes are well understood as to how they work - all indicate that enzyme products are most likely the safest supplement on the market. Other than potential allergic reactions to enzyme proteins, which can occur with any food protein, one need not worry about taking enzymes.
2) Can you notice a difference when you use the product? In the absence of good studies on any supplement, make yourself or your child the subject of your own "study". I am a firm believer of not using a supplement unless I can tell that it makes a difference, either through lab analysis or change in how I feel (for digestion this would be less gas and bloating, regular bowel movements, etc.).