If you’re looking for simple and natural ways to improve your digestion, supplementing with enzymes might be just for you! Everyone naturally produces enzymes in their pancreas to facilitate digestion. Some people might need some extra help, making supplementing with enzymes very helpful. Keep these tips in mind before purchasing and consuming digestive enzymes.
1. Talk to Your Doctor First
Not everyone benefits from supplementing with enzymes. Sure, people who have poor pancreatic function or suffer from conditions like colitis, crohn’s disease, or celiac disease might benefit. But ultimately, this is something to talk to your doctor about first. He or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of supplementation and figure out if this is right for you.
2. Invest in a Brand You Trust
Don’t immediately grab the cheapest enzyme available. Not all supplements are created equal! Do your research and work with a dietician if needed to figure out the brand that works best for your body and is in your price range. Sometimes spending as little as five extra dollars can make all the difference.
3. Avoid Filler and Additives
Read the ingredients labels to enzymes carefully. Like most supplements, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you’ll have to do your own research on these products. In general, avoid supplements or enzymes that include any soy or corn additives. This likely means the product contains GMOs. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, many enzymes that contain gelatin and other animal products.
4. Look for Enteric Coating in Enzymes
Enteric coating is a feature many enzymes carry to make them more effective when taken with meals. Some experts argue that if there’s no coating, the gastric acid will simply destroy the enzymes as soon as they hit your stomach. Enteric coatings are still up for debate, but definitely factor this into your decision about which brand of enzyme to purchase.
5. Consume Them before Meals
Consuming enzymes before meals is the best way to maximize their efficacy. Enzymes are naturally released by the pancreas when you eat, so adding them right before a meal enhances your body’s ability to digest. I personally like to keep my enzymes on the kitchen counter. That way, there’s no way I can forget to take them before my meals.
6. Consider Consuming Them in between Meals
If you suffer from extreme digestive discomfort, you could benefit from taking enzymes between meals to promote digestion. Taking one enzyme with lunch, another in between lunch and dinner, and another at dinner can definitely help you feel less bloated or uncomfortable when eating.
7. Make Sure You Definitely Eat Them with Cooked Foods
If you forget to take your enzymes with a raw meal like fruits or salad, honestly it’s not the end of the world. Raw foods like fruits and vegetables already contain enzymes, so even when you eat them without your supplement you’re still getting enzymes from a dietary source. That’s why fruits and veggies are often so easy to digest and easy on your stomach. If, however, you’re consuming cooked foods that have been zapped of their enzyme content (heat destroys enzymes), it’s essential to consume your digesting enzymes with food.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes can be a natural alternative for alleviating digestive disorders, pain, and other stomach ailments. Consult your doctor, however, before embarking on any supplementation program. Have you jumped on the enzyme bandwagon yet?