Digestive enzyme supplements are a useful aid for helping along the breakdown and digestion process of food in the body for better distribution of nutrients.
These enzymes can also help to reduce the undesirable symptoms associated with difficult digestion (e.g. gas, intestinal distress, indigestion, etc). So, if you experience discomfort and/or difficulty during the digestion process, then you’ll want to keep reading.
But if you want to prevent these common issues and just have better digestion overall, then there are some really great options on the market.
Here’s our review of what we believe to be some of the best digestive enzyme supplements you can get…
Have a Busy Schedule? Here’s the Editor’s Pick To Save You Some Time…
MAV Nutrition Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
MAV Nutrition is a top reputable brand with great products and you can add their digestive enzymes to the list as well.
This powerful formula contains a typical enzyme blend (bromelain, papain, fungal lipase, fungal lactase, and alpha-galactosidase) plus 3 strands of probiotics (lactobacillus Plantarum, lactobacillus casei, and lactobacillus acidophilus); which are live microorganisms that help to maintain gut health.
The product also has a ‘Clean Label Project Purity Award’ and it’s ‘Very Well’ recommended.
How Do Digestive Enzymes Work?
Digestion isn’t always a smooth process and the bothersome symptoms are something that becomes a real inconvenience, especially since we eat multiple times per day.
And a lot of people experience, gas, bloating, and overall gastrointestinal disturbance after a meal. Well, our bodies naturally produce these enzymes to help with the process of digestion. These proteins are in our saliva but our gallbladder, liver, and pancreas even release them as well. (1)
But the above products supply the body with more of the enzymes our bodies need (when it doesn’t have enough) to efficiently break down nutrients and improve absorption in the digestive tract.
Now, the different types of enzymes will target their own nutrients.
For example, amylase breaks down carbs and starches, while proteases break down proteins and lipase takes care of the fat.
When you’re lactose intolerant, your small intestine does not make enough of the enzyme lactase which breaks down the sugar in dairy foods to promote absorption.
Therefore, you experience the very unpleasant side effects associated with lactose intolerance.
Zenwise Digestive Enzymes With Prebiotics and Probiotics
This is a rather popular product for those looking to get the benefits of a digestive enzyme supplement and more since it also contains 233mg of probiotics and prebiotics (L-Acidophilus, L-Plantarum, L-Salivarius); which actually feed probiotics.
There are 350mg of an advanced enzyme formula which includes amylase, protease, bromelain, lactase, and papain to name a few.
Other ingredients include Turmeric, Ginger, Green Papaya, Inulin, Apple Pectin, Bladderwrack, Fennel, and Wakame which are all health-supporting when it comes to things like inflammation and even digestion.
Dr. Matthew #1 Digestive Enzymes
The advanced Dr. Matthew formula contains a whopping 19 digestive enzymes to support the process of food break down.
You get plenty of the typical enzymes you’d find in a quality supplement all in a USA-made, Dr. formulated product.
Healthy Digestive Gluten Cutter Digestive Formula
Gluten intolerance is a real thing but that’s exactly why this product was made… to help you digest and better handle certain foods that contain wheat, dairy, and other types of grains that can be bothersome to many.
The product contains 350mg of the GCX50 glute blend which contains proteases (I, II, III, IV, and V), amylase, cellulase, lactase and more.
Plus, the formula contains an herbal blend of ginger, peppermint, and licorice root extract for added digestive support.
Naturenetics Digestwise Digestive Enzymes
Each enzyme capsule contains ingredients from all over the world, including the U.S., Asia, and Europe to ensure optimal quality and potency.
A serving contains 205 mg of a proprietary digestive enzyme blend (11 enzymes) of the most common ingredients for supporting good digestive health.
You can even see the lab test results for the most recent batch to ensure you’re getting what you’d expect from a top-notch option.
Vitamistic Digestive Enzymes With Pre- and Probiotics
Here’s a great digestive support supplement from Vitamistic which supplies 13 enzymes, in addition to 40 billion CFU probiotics and 48mg prebiotics.
MRM Digest-All Vegetarian Enzymes
MRM Digest-All is a vegetarian enzyme product that contains an herbal blend of peppermint leaf, ginger, and Triphala as well as an enzyme blend (506mg) containing plant-based enzymes, proteases, carbohydrates, lipase and more.
Klaire Labs Digestive Enzymes
Klaire Labs digestive enzymes contain microbial-based ingredients including amylase, protease, lactase, lipase, and cellulase. It’s a premium product developed with the help of healthcare professionals and it’s recommended for patients struggling with digestion and the associated symptoms.
NOW Super Enzymes
NOW supplements are a reputable brand that creates supplements that work. Their Super Enzymes product bromelain, ox bile, pancreatin, and papain.
But there is also 36mg of calcium carbonate which is often used to relieve heartburn but it can also cause unpleasant symptoms as well. But, there isn’t much in this product which would generally adverse effects. (2)
Mary Ruth’s Digestive Food Enzymes
Mary Ruth’s digestive enzymes product is tested for quality and it contains many ingredients you’d normally find which include Protease Blend, Amylase Blend, Glucoamylase, Diastase, Invertase, Pectinase, Cellulase, Hemicellulase, Xylanase Lipase, Lactase, and Alpha-Galactosidase.
It also has B vitamins for blood cell health and it’s operated by a passionate mother-daughter team whose mission is to deliver the best possible quality.
So, it’s hard to go wrong with Mary Ruth’s digestive enzymes.
Designs For Health Digestzymes
This super formula contains 200mg of betaine HCL and a 180mg proprietary blend of enzymes to effectively help you to digest the protein, carbs, and fat you consume in a meal.
What’s really neat is that the company is transitioning to tinted bottles that keep out moisture and oxygen for better viability of ingredients.
Not to mention, this formula is a top choice for physicians.
What Does Research Tell Us About Digestive Enzymes?
Research shows digestive enzymes are an effective intervention for those with gastrointestinal diseases like EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) and even lactose intolerance. And the effects are even more pronounced when probiotics are added which are found in many of the great products on our list. (3)
But most of the digestive enzyme supplements are animal-based and although these are a very effective way to improve digestive issues, more plant-based options are emerging and are very promising as well.
An example is the MRM Digest-All vegetarian enzyme product which uses plant-based enzymes which are indeed effective. And microbe-derived enzymes are also being studied showing much promise as well. Well, the Klaire Labs product we included is a good example of this.
But enzymes aren’t effective for every situation due to limited evidence for its efficacy for symptoms like heartburn and even irritable bowel syndrome…
“Some of them are clearly beneficial, in certain situations. But enzyme supplements also are often used in situations where there is little evidence that they do any good,” explained Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. (4)
So, use them for the proven benefits and not to treat other issues which are not shown to improve by using these enzymes.
Also, over-the-counter digestive enzymes are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) so you have to use caution and consider products from companies that have a good track record for making products that work for most people without the side effects.
Although, there are no 100% guarantees but most dietary supplements, in general, are not regulated or approved by the FDA. However, companies do have the obligation to be transparent in what they put in their products. Even though, proprietary blends can hide the exact amounts of each ingredient.
But prescription enzymes have exactly what they’re supposed too which generally consist of a mixture with the typical amylase, lipase, and protease. The pills also usually have a coating which protects the active ingredients on the way to the small intestine where it works its magic.
These enzymes are often made from pig pancreas and are in fact, approved by the FDA.
And those who use these enzymes to help them improve the process of digestion will absolutely get the benefit whether prescribed or from a good product over-the-counter.
Can Anyone Use Digestive Enzymes?
Most people can try digestive enzymes without having to worry about any serious side effects but don’t rely on them completely especially if not suffering from a condition which means your body doesn’t produce enough…
“In most cases, these are unlikely to be harmful. But I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on them. And don’t take them if you see signs of bleeding or a change in stool color. Report that to your doctor,” says Dr. Staller.
But any side effects should be minor but the most common may be a type of allergic reaction. And in this case, stop use immediately and consult with your doctor.
How Much To Take?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this seeing as everyone will have different needs and hence the reason why some people need prescriptions for certain conditions.
So, when using one of the products that we’ve provided, follow the instructions on the label to ensure you’re taking a safe and recommended amount.
What Foods Contain Digestive Enzymes?
The common digestive enzyme-containing foods which include…
Getting your enzymes from natural sources is always the way to go, and the types of enzymes found in each will vary. But eating enough of these foods is not always possible and in more severe cases, supplementation is a recommended option to ensure you’re getting a consistent amount daily.
How Do Pre- and Probiotics Work?
Our guts are covered in live microorganisms (bacteria) which form a micro-ecosystem called the microbiome; which plays a big role in our overall health. (5)
And we have to feed this microbiome in order for it to sustain its crucial function in our bodies.
Well, the difference between probiotics and prebiotics is that the former contains live bacteria that make up the sheer numbers of microbes in the stomach (comes from foods like yogurt, kefir, etc), while prebiotics (supplied by fruits and vegetables high in complex carbs and fiber) feed these live bacteria to ensure optimal growth.
There are many different kinds of probiotics too, and many supplements provide a few different ones based on what it’s supposed to be used for. But pre- and probiotics are a very effective addition to digestive enzymes, working together to improve gut health.
Digestive enzymes are an effective supplement which can be used for the digestive process and improving the health of your gut in the process.
For those who have health issues, especially those containing the pancreas, these proteins can make a huge difference. But, evidence shows positive effects even for people who need more of these enzymes to improve their digestion and the symptoms which come along with poor processing of foods.
So, we’ve provided several top-notch supplements that many people are finding to be very beneficial and we hope you’re more familiar with how digestive enzymes work in the body as well.