Finding the Right Enzyme
You’re probably here because you realize the importance of a well-maintained gastrointestinal tract and you want effective supplements that support gut health.
But when faced with which enzyme products to use, you may feel you hit a brick wall. The names of enzymes often don’t lend a clue as to their function. And the activity units on the label for each enzyme are meaningless to most people outside the industry.
Here are some tips to determine whether you need enzymes and which could help the most:
1. What is your gut telling you?
Everyone seems to have some foods that cause problems. Whether it’s lactose intolerance from eating dairy, problems with wheat, or general gas and bloating, an enzyme may help — but you have to know which enzyme works with each food.
- Lactase is the enzyme needed for lactose intolerance and does a great job in alleviating the cramps and bloating that can occur after eating a bowl of ice cream. Lactase is in several of our formulations, including Zyme Prime.
- Gas and bloating often result from incomplete digestion of starchy foods. Gut bacteria begin feeding on the leftovers and then produce copious amounts of gas as their population rises.
Enzymes that specialize in breaking down carbohydrates, such as amylase and glucoamylase in ZyCarb, can help keep the gut clear of undigested starches.
- Paleo and ketogenic diets are high in good fats but often result in “greasy” stools and bloating.
Adding a lipase enzyme such as Lypazyme along with those meals helps prevent the delay in stomach-emptying often observed with high-fat diets.
Supplemental lipase also helps those who need more help digesting fats after gallbladder removal.
- Gluten intolerance is on the rise. Gluten is a protein and requires proteases—enzymes specific for proteins—to be broken down.
Gluten is especially difficult for our own digestive enzymes to break down.
A combination of proteases is most useful for dealing with this obstinate protein when you have non-celiac gluten intolerance. Look for a product with multiple proteases, such as in AFP Peptizyde or TriEnza, that are specific for gluten breakdown.
- Fiber is helpful in providing bulk to keep stools moving in the colon. It is also a good source of nutrition for probiotic bacteria. But adding more fiber to the diet can be uncomfortable as it may result in more gassiness.
Enzymes that break down fiber to some extent, such as xylanase and cellulase in No-Fenol or Biomuve, can convert some of the fiber to a gel-like solution and keep stools from becoming too firm.
2. Can enzymes be used as an alternative to diets such as the Gluten-free Casein-free Diet?
Wheat and dairy proteins often cause gut problems for many, including those on the autism spectrum. In these cases, restriction of wheat and dairy products often produce benefits in digestive function.
While the Gluten-free Casein-free Diet (GFCF) can be helpful, it is also difficult for many to use. Certain enzymes that break down proteins can often provide results similar to the diet.
Because our enzyme supplements are formulated to start working in the stomach, the gluten and casein proteins can be broken down before they can be absorbed in the small intestine.
This prevents production of the partially broken-down proteins that seem to produce problems for many.
3. Which enzyme products are best?
The best product is the one that works for you. The best way to find out which enzymes will work for you is to find a company that specializes in enzyme formulation and takes the time to understand your specific needs.
What is your biggest digestive challenge?
We can help you get all the benefits enzymes have to offer. Give us a call or email.