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Fact checked by Robert Iafelice, MS, RD, LDNFACT CHECKED
February 15, 2023
You may not be aware, but there's a war going on inside your gut. There are about 20 billion combatants, and they're in diametrically opposed camps; good bacteria and bad bacteria.
The sad news is that, for most of us, the good bacteria are hugely outnumbered. This is largely due to the Standard Western Diet, with its emphasis on high-glycemic carbohydrates, something that bad bacteria absolutely love.
The good news is that we're able to come to the aid of our good bacteria with the smart use of supplemental digestive enzymes. In this article, we'll review the seven best digestive enzymes on the market right now. We'll also detail the research-backed benefits of taking digestive enzymes and provide you with a comprehensive digestive enzyme buyer's guide.
**There may be affiliate links in this post where we might receive a small commission on purchases you make. We only recommend products we think you will find valuable.**
Double Wood Supplements Digestive Enzymes provides a comprehensive blend of enzymes designed to support digestive health and help break down foods for better nutrient absorption. Each serving contains the following enzymes and dosages:
• Bromelain – 4 GDU
• Lactase – 200 ALU
• Invertase – 300 SU
• Lipase – 400 FIP
• Papain – 1000 TUG
• Glucoamylase – 4 AG
• Amylase – 200 SKB
• Maltase – 300 DU
• Cellulase – 400 CU
• Neutral Protease – 4000 PC
This is a very comprehensive blend of ingredients that will break down starches and carbohydrates into sugar, break down proteins into amino acids, and lipids into glycerol and fatty acids.
The recommended daily dosage is two capsules, which will provide you with a combined 800 mg of digestive enzymes. Each container provides you with 90 capsules for a 45-day supply. At the cost of around $20, that represents exceptional value for money.
Double Wood Supplements Digestive Enzymes is manufactured in the United States in a CGMP-approved facility. Your purchase comes with a money-back guarantee.
Microbiome Labs FODMate is designed to help people with digestive issues related to Fodmaps. Fodmaps are short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine does a poor job of absorbing, causing digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and gas in some individuals. FODmate contains enzymes that break down specific types of Fodmaps, making them easier to digest.
FODmate includes the three most well-researched enzymes that have been shown to effectively treat digestive issues related to food intolerance and Fodmaps:
Three extra enzymes - inulinase, glucose isomerase, and pectinase - are included to break down plant food ingredients that can lead to gas and bloating.
Microbiome Labs FODmate is well-dosed. Each two-capsule serving provides you with 10,000 ALU of lactase and 1,000 GaIU of xylose isomerase. The other three enzymes are put together in a proprietary blend that adds to 730 mg.
Digestive Advantage is a daily probiotic that comes in convenient blister pack form, allowing you to carry them with you when you're on the go. Each single-capsule serving provides you with 2 billion live cells in the form of a proprietary probiotic blend of BC30 Bacillus Coagulans GBI-30, 6086, and Calcium (as calcium carbonate).
Bacillus coagulans is the only probiotic strain utilized in Digestive Advantage. It has been demonstrated to withstand stomach acid ten times better than yogurt. Once the strain enters your digestive system alive, it can start to work to relieve diarrhea, uncomfortable belly bloating, and stomach discomfort.
Additionally, B. coagulans may help your body by enhancing immune system performance and promoting digestive wellness. This specific strain of probiotics may be especially beneficial for those who have Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn's Disease, or other digestive issues.
There is no added sugar (sucrose, fructose, lactose), salt (sodium chloride), yeast, wheat, or gluten in Digestive Advantage; however, it does contain soy.
With more than 20 digestive enzymes, Garden of Life Omega-Zyme is one of the most comprehensive probiotic enzyme supplements you will find anywhere. Eleven of those enzymes promote optimal activity in the stomach, 9 in the stomach and small intestine, and one specifically in the small intestine. These ingredients are designed to operate optimally across the full spectrum of pH levels.
The Garden of Life Omega-Zyme blend includes plant and ocean-based minerals to boost the effectiveness of the other ingredients. You also get the Poten-Zyme® Botanical Blend of ginger (root and juice), Cat's Claw (root), Barley Grass Juice, and Turmeric (root).
The ingredients are contained in a unique UltraZorbe vegetarian capsule that is designed to break down faster so that the ingredients get to work in your digestive system more quickly.
The serving size for this product is just one capsule. That is a welcome contrast to competitors who recommend taking multiple capsules per day.
Garden of Life Omega-Zyme is made in the USA and is vegetarian, gluten and dairy free, and contains no artificial colors or preservatives.
Enzymedica Digest Gold contains 14 key enzymes that are well-dosed in a single-serve capsule. Those ingredients include the popular and well-researched chronic indigestion fighters Amylase, Protease, Lipase, and Lactase. Also included is a 25 mg proprietary blend called ATPro, which combines magnesium citrate, Phytase, ATP, and COQ10.
The unique Thera-blend technology used in Enzymedica Digest Gold is designed to make the enzymes in the product as effective as possible. It will target the entire GI tract, maximize food digestion, and optimize nutrient absorption.
There are no fillers in Enzymedica Digest Gold. It is also free of gluten, milk, casein, soy, egg, artificial colors, flavors, and GMOs.
ZenWise Digestive Enzymes is a top-selling probiotic designed to break down hard-to-digest foods and alcohol. It also supports gut flora and helps with regularity. This is, in fact, one of the best enzyme supplements for constipation, according to user reviews.
The ingredient profile on the label of this product groups enzymes together in three proprietary blends. The first is called the advanced enzyme and probiotic system blend and has a combined dosage of 400 mg. This blend includes inulin, amylase, bromelain, papain, and lipase.
The second proprietary blend is called the Probiotic blend. Its one billion CFU (5 mg) combined dosage includes Bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus salivarius, and lactobacillus plantarum.
A third proprietary blend is called the Sea Vegetable Complex. This is a 15 mg blend of bladderwrack extract, wakame, and nori. Other ingredients are Turmeric, Ginger, Green Papaya, and Fennel.
ZenWise Digestive Enzymes are available in 60, 100, or 180-count bottles. The recommended dosage is one capsule per day, taken before a meal.
Mary Ruth's Organics Digestive Food Enzymes is an extra-strength blend of naturally occurring digestive enzymes designed to enhance the digestion of carbohydrates, starches, proteins, fats, and lactose. The enzyme blend includes the following compounds:
To further enhance the digestive boosting effects of these enzymes, the formula also includes Vitamin B1, B6, B12, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Amla, and Phytase. All of these ingredients are put into a vegan capsule that quickly dissolves to allow them to quickly take effect.
MaryRuth's Digestive Food Enzymes are GMO, vegan, dairy, nut, gluten & wheat, soy, nightshade, and sugar-free. However, they do contain maltodextrin, which is derived from corn.
Each bottle of Mary Ruth's Organics Digestive Food Enzymes contains 60 capsules. With a daily dosage of one capsule, that is enough for a two-month supply.
Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that help break down food into smaller components that can be absorbed by the body. They are produced by various organs in the digestive system, including the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. The different types of digestive enzymes are specialized to break down specific types of macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Digestive enzymes help to break down food to allow for the complete utilization of nutrients. There are three key categories of enzymes that break down the three macronutrients:
Lipases break down fats
Proteases break down proteins
Amylases break down carbohydrates
Digestive enzyme supplements are products that contain concentrated amounts of specific digestive enzymes that can be taken orally to help improve the body's ability to process food and absorb its nutrients.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes allows the gut to break down macromolecules in the foods you eat into much smaller molecules, allowing for complete nutrient absorption.
Taking a digestive enzyme has been shown to have four main benefits.
When we eat, the digestive enzymes in our digestive system work to break down the macronutrients in food, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, into smaller molecules, such as simple sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids. These smaller molecules can then be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the cells, where they are needed for energy, growth, and repair.¹
By improving the breakdown of food, digestive enzymes can also help to increase the overall efficiency of the digestive process and allow the body to extract more nutrients from the food we eat. This can be especially important for people who have trouble digesting certain types of foods or who have a medical condition that affects their digestive function.
Digestive enzymes can potentially help reduce the effects of IBS by improving the breakdown of food and the efficiency of the digestive process. By breaking down the food into smaller components, digestive enzymes can help reduce symptoms such as bloating and gas that can occur when food is not broken down properly.²
In addition, some people with IBS may have difficulty digesting certain types of foods, such as lactose or fructose, and taking digestive enzyme supplements specifically designed for those types of foods may help improve their symptoms. However, it's important to note that not all people with IBS will benefit from taking digestive enzyme supplements and that they should not be used as a sole treatment for the condition.
By improving the breakdown of food and the efficiency of the digestive process, digestive enzymes can help increase energy by allowing the body to extract more nutrients from the food we eat. This can improve energy levels as the cells receive the nutrients they need to function properly.
When food is not broken down efficiently, it can lead to incomplete digestion and decreased absorption of nutrients. This can result in the production of metabolic waste and toxins that can contribute to inflammation. By improving the breakdown of food and the efficiency of the digestive process, digestive enzymes can help reduce the production of metabolic waste and toxins, which can lead to a healthier inflammatory response.³
Digestive issues such as bloating, acid reflux, and constipation can cause physical discomfort and contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Taking digestive enzymes may improve these digestive issues and potentially reduce the symptoms that contribute to anxiety.
Digestive enzyme supplements are generally considered safe, but they can cause some side effects, particularly when taken in high doses or if the person has certain health conditions. Some common side effects include:
Stomach discomfort: Some people may experience bloating, gas, and abdominal pain after taking digestive enzyme supplements.
Interactions with medications: Digestive enzyme supplements can interact with some medications, such as blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics.
Changes in blood sugar levels: People with diabetes should be cautious when taking digestive enzyme supplements as they may affect blood sugar levels.
Diarrhea: Taking large doses of digestive enzymes can lead to diarrhea.
In order to end up with a digestive enzyme that works, you need to follow a few selection guidelines. Here are five things to take into account.
Digestive enzyme supplements typically contain a combination of different enzymes that aid in the breakdown of specific types of food, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The most common digestive enzymes included in these supplements are:
Proteases: help break down proteins into amino acids
Amylases: help break down carbohydrates into simple sugars
Lipases: help break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol
Lactases: help break down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products
Cellulases: help break down plant fibers
Other ingredients that may be included in digestive enzyme supplements are bromelain, papain, and fungal-derived enzymes. The specific blend of enzymes in a digestive enzyme supplement can vary based on the manufacturer and intended use.
By dealing with a company that employs a 3rd party laboratory to test their supplements, you can have confidence that the product you put in your body matches precisely what is listed on the product label.
It is important that the label be as transparent as possible. It should list every ingredient and show its dosage. That means that you should try to avoid proprietary blends when possible.
A proprietary blend is an amalgam of ingredients that are combined and sold as a single entity. The issue with proprietary blends is that the exact amount of each ingredient in the blend is not disclosed on the label, making it difficult for consumers to determine the potency and quality of each ingredient. This lack of transparency can make it difficult to gauge the potential benefits and risks of taking the supplement and to compare the product with others on the market.
Some proprietary blends may contain ingredients in amounts that are lower or higher than what is recommended for safe and effective use. For these reasons, you should opt for dietary supplements that list the individual ingredient amounts on the label.
A digestive enzyme supplement will only be as effective as the dosage of the ingredients. If an ingredient is under-dosed, it will not give you the results you want.
Here are the recommended dosages for some of the most common digestive enzymes:
Proteases: typically, doses range from 500 to 2000 units per serving
Amylases: typically, doses range from 500 to 3000 units per serving
Lipases: typically, doses range from 500 to 3000 units per serving
Lactases: typically, doses range from 500 to 4000 units per serving
Cellulases: typically, doses range from 500 to 5000 units per serving
The cost of digestive enzyme supplements can vary widely, depending on factors such as the brand, the specific blend of enzymes, and the form of the supplement (e.g. capsule, tablet, powder).
In general, a bottle of digestive enzymes can range from $10 to $50 or more, depending on the number of servings and the dose of enzymes per serving. Some higher-end brands or specialty blends may cost more.
Checking online reviews can be a helpful way to gather information about digestive enzyme supplements, as it provides insights and opinions from a variety of people who have used the product. This can give you a better understanding of the product's effectiveness, potential side effects, and overall customer satisfaction.
Additionally, online reviews can also highlight any recurring issues with the product, such as quality control problems or inaccurate labeling, which can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a digestive enzyme supplement.
It depends on the individual and their specific digestive needs. Some people may benefit from taking a digestive supplement every day, while others may only need to take them occasionally or as needed.
People with conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or other digestive disorders that affect the body's ability to produce sufficient digestive enzymes may benefit from taking digestive enzyme supplements every day.
The optimal time to take digestive enzymes depends on the individual and the type of supplement. Here are some general guidelines:
With meals: Digestive enzyme supplements are typically taken with meals to help the body process food and absorb nutrients more effectively.
On an empty stomach: Some digestive enzyme supplements, such as those that contain hydrochloric acid, are best taken on an empty stomach to maximize their effect.
Before bedtime: For people with acid reflux or heartburn, taking digestive enzyme supplements before bedtime may help prevent symptoms overnight.
Some possible downsides of taking digestive enzymes include:
Interactions with other medications: Some digestive enzyme supplements can interact with prescription medications, such as blood thinners or antibiotics. It is important to discuss any supplement use with a healthcare provider.
Overuse: Taking too much of a digestive enzyme supplement can lead to digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label and to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients in a digestive enzyme supplement. It is important to carefully read the product label and ingredient list before starting a new supplement.
Daily consumption of digestive enzyme supplements may be advantageous for those with illnesses like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or other digestive problems that impair the body's capacity to manufacture enough digestive enzymes.
People who do not suffer from these conditions will benefit from taking a digestive enzyme 2-3 times per week.
Digestive enzymes can do wonders in terms of improving gut health, enhancing nutrient absorption, increasing energy, and reducing the symptoms of conditions such as IBS. The overall best digestive enzyme supplement on the market right now is Double Wood Supplements Digestive Enzymes, which contains an advanced enzyme formula to support digestive health and relieve the bloating, gas, and digestive issues that come with consuming all sorts of foods.
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