How to Get the Most Benefit from Digestive Enzymes

Table with Vegetarian Food Plate iStock 488561678

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 associated with each enzyme are meaningless to most people outside the industry. 

Listed below are some tips in helping to determine if you need enzymes and which enzyme could help you 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 just general gas and bloating, an enzyme may help - but you have to know which enzyme works with each food type.   

  • Lactase is the enzyme needed for lactose intolerance and does a great job in alleviating the cramps and bloating that can occur after eating that bowl of Rocky Road ice cream.   
  • 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, 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 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 protease enzymes to be broken down. 

    However, gluten is especially difficult for our own digestive enzymes to break down.

    A combination of fungal-derived proteases is most useful for dealing with this obstinate protein when you have non-celiac gluten intolerance. Look for an enzyme called DPP-IV in combination with other proteases to help 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, 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 and beyond, restriction of wheat and dairy products often produce benefits in digestive function.  

While the Gluten-free Casein-free Diet (GFCF) can produce great results, it is also difficult for many to use. Certain enzymes that break down proteins can often provide results similar to those seen on the diet.  

Because the fungal-derived enzymes 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.  

We can help you get all the benefits enzymes have to offer. Give us a call or email. What is your biggest digestive challenge?



Posted in Food Intolerances, Digestion;