Before you consider taking them, there are several facts about enzyme supplements that are important to know. Enzymes naturally occur in the body and have many different functions, including digestion. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Often, enzyme supplements are used when the pancreas isn’t functioning properly to ensure that food is properly broken down and nutrients are absorbed. Even though supplementing due to problems with the pancreas is a traditional use, enzyme supplements are also used to help with basic digestive complaints as well as problems not associated with digestion. Knowing the following key facts about enzyme supplements will help you get the best product for the health problem you are trying to fix.
1. Full Spectrum of Enzymes
When you are looking for digestive enzyme supplements, you want to make sure they have a full spectrum of enzymes, especially if you are using them for aiding digestion. Make sure your supplement has proteases to break down protein, lipases to break down fats, and amylase to break down carbohydrates. These are the most important enzymes to look for. However, others like lactase and cellulase can prove to be very beneficial. Lactase breaks down the lactose in milk that many people have trouble digesting, and cellulase breaks down the cellulose in plant foods. Having all of these enzymes is crucial when you are looking to aid digestion. You want to avoid supplements with only one enzyme, like papain or bromelain as these will only break down protein, which is one of the facts about enzyme supplements that is important to know.
2. Plant Based
Manufacturers obtain enzymes from several different sources, and some are much more effective than others. Fruit-based enzymes are often sourced from papaya or pineapple. These are the weakest of the digestive enzymes, as they only break down protein. While some manufacturers source their enzymes from fruit, others use animal-sourced enzymes. Pancreatin will be listed as an ingredient in enzyme supplements that have enzymes derived from animals. Aside from not being suitable for vegetarians or vegans, these enzymes are not very stable, and, as a result, are less effective. Enzymes that are derived from plants are the most effective. They are stable and they are no allergy concerns. When looking for enzyme supplements, you want to make sure that they are plant-derived.
Many manufacturers of enzyme supplements add fillers. The problem with fillers is they can be allergenic. Since people who are looking to take enzyme supplements often have a compromised digestive system, it is important to look for hypoallergenic supplements. Hypoallergenic supplements will specify that there is not any wheat, gluten, salt, soy, egg, shellfish, artificial flavors or colors, yeast, corn, nuts, and sucrose in the supplement. You want to be sure that the enzyme supplement you are purchasing only lists the enzymes and the vegetable capsule as ingredients. Enzymedica’s Digest Basic is one supplement that meets all these criteria and is reasonably priced.
Timing is important when taking an enzyme supplement. To help digest food, it is generally recommended that you take the supplement just a few minutes before your meal. You should start with just one or two capsules at each meal. If digestive symptoms of gas, bloating, feeling full after a few bits, or undigested food in stool do not improve you can gradually increase the enzymes. Taking enzymes with a meal will aid with digestion; however, when taken on an empty stomach enzymes will act throughout the body.
5. Systemic Uses
One of the lesser known facts about enzyme supplements is that they can be taken on an empty stomach to aid with a variety of systemic problems. For instance, systemic enzymes are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain. They also can help get rid of scar tissue by breaking down the fibrin that makes up the scar tissue. Remarkably, systemic enzymes are useful for many more problems. They have an immunomodulatory effect, which is helpful for people with autoimmune diseases. Essentially, the enzymes downgrade the autoimmune response by stopping the antibodies. Another use of systemic enzymes is fighting viruses. They have the ability to stop viruses from replicating. While you can just take a basic enzyme for systemic uses, the most effective systemic enzymes are serrapeptase, papain, bromelain, and nattokinase.
Candida is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast, Candida albicans. It can cause a range of problems including recurrent yeast infections, rashes, bloating, and digestive difficulties. Candida can be hard to treat because the yeast replicates fast and can develop resistance to medication. Interestingly, enzymes have been found to be very helpful for treating candida. The enzymes cellulase and protease break open the cell walls of the yeast, and serrapeptase breaks away the biofilm created by the yeast. When using enzymes to fight candida, you want to take them on an empty stomach.
When purchasing enzyme supplements, you should read the label and make sure the amount of each enzyme is listed. The amounts will vary, but if the amounts are not listed it means there are not enough enzymes for the supplement to be effective. You should be aware that you won’t see the typical measurement of milligrams. For instance, one supplement lists protease as being 20,000 HUT and amylase as being 8,440 DU. It is not critical to understand these measurements. However, you do want to make sure the amount is listed.
If you have thought about trying enzyme supplements, you now know that there are key things you will want to look for. Enzyme supplements can be very beneficial for a variety of problems, but only if taken appropriately. Be sure to take digestive enzymes before a meal and systemic enzymes on an empty stomach, otherwise you won’t get the desired benefits. Have you ever taken digestive enzymes?