My Favorite Digestive Enzyme

If you’ve ever taken a look at the supplement aisle you’ve probably noticed a few brands of digestive enzymes on the shelves. Maybe you’ve asked yourself what these enzymes are, how do they work, and are they worth the $ to purchase.

On Amazon you can find digestive enzymes ranging from $2.59 all the way to $499.99 per bottle. That’s a huge range! Is 1 brand really worth 193x more than another? In this article I’ll teach you a little bit about what digestive enzymes are, what ingredients you want to look for, and which brand I recommend.

 

What are Digestive Enzymes

When we eat food our body immediately starts to break it down into an absorbable form and specific nutrient pieces. Proteins turn into amino acids, fats turn into fatty acids and cholesterol and carbohydrates turn into simple sugars. Other compounds such as vitamins, minerals, and numerous other micro-nutrients are also broken down into simple absorbable forms.

Digestive enzymes are produced in the pancreas, small intestine, salivary glands, and stomach lining. When you think of digestive enzymes picture a lock and key. In order for the key to work, it must have the right notches to turn the lock. The same concept is needed for our food. In order for carbohydrates to be metabolized it needs the right notches (aka amylase). In order for fat to be metabolized we need lipase. And so on.

Digestive enzymes can be spotted easily as they usually end in –ase. Here are some of the common enzymes and what food group they help metabolize

  • Lipase: fats (lipids)
  • Lactase: dairy (lactose)
  • Amylase: carbohydrates
  • Protease: proteins

Digestive enzymes are essential to help us break down our food. And if we do not have enough digestive enzymes we might not be absorbing as much of the nutrition as possible. If you are reading this article on how to improve your health then I am going to assume that you care about the quality of food that you buy. But what if you’re spending money on high-quality food but don’t have the enzymes to absorb it?

 

Don’t Our Bodies Make Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are stored throughout your body in certain locations. Your liver, gall bladder, pancreas and other major organs produce and house your enzymes stores. When you were born you were given a certain amount of enzymes in your “stores”. Some people have more, some people have less.

Every time you eat food your body calls upon an enzyme to metabolize it. When you drink milk (lactose) for example, your body tells the small intestine to release a lactase enzyme. Lactase helps metabolize lactose. Now the problem lies in that every person is only given a certain amount of lactase enzymes – some more than others. As we age our body decreases in its ability to produce lactase.

So…once our body slows down in making the lactase enzyme, and we consume more lactose than we have enzymes…we become lactose intolerant. Your body tells you ‘hold up, no more lactose for you.’ Once someone becomes lactose intolerant they no longer have the ability to digest lactose on their own. The age of (lactose) intolerance is different for everyone. The same example could be used for gluten and the inability to metabolize it. Once you lack the enzyme needed for gluten you become gluten intolerant. The following factors affect your overall digestive enzyme health and the amount of enzymes in your body:

  • supply at birth
  • milk consumption throughout life
  • chronic stress
  • low stomach acid
  • History of illness

 

What to Look For in a Digestive Enzyme

 

Vegetable Capsules

In order to make pills, the outer shell either comes from animal gelatin, or vegetable based. Animal gelatin is of course cheaper and harder to digest. On the upside the vegetable based capsules that you will find in TerraZyme® only contain 2 ingredients: plant cellulose and water. In doTERRA’s Terrazyme® the vegetable capsule is made from hypromellose (HPMC). HPMC is derived from vegetable cellulose, which is made up of the trunks of pine and spruce trees that come from the Southwestern United States. This is very beneficial for any health conscious or allergenic consumers.

 

Variety of Enzymes

When choosing a digestive enzyme you want to find one that targets a wide variety of foods. Every day we consume a wide variety of food groups: simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, starches, dairy, and more. So you need to consume enzymes that will help you metabolize all of these food groups. I high recommend doTERRA’s Digestive Enzyme: TerraZyme®. These are all of the ingredients that you will find in their product.

  • Protease: breaks down proteins found in meats, nuts, eggs, and cheese
  • Papain: derived from raw papaya, broad range of substrates and pH, works well breaking down small and large proteins
  • Amylase: breaks down starch to glucose
  • Lactase: breaks down lactose (milk sugars)
  • Lipase: breaks down fats found in most dairy products, nuts, oils, and meat
  • Alpha Galactosidase: breaks down complex carbohydrates such as beans cruciferous vegetables. These foods when undigested often lead to bloating and gassiness
  • Cellulase: breaks down cellulose, plant fiber; not found in humans
  • Sucrase: digests complex sugars and starches
  • Betaine HCL: increases the hydrochloric acid content of the upper digestive system; activates the protein digesting enzyme pepsin in the stomach (does not influence plant- or fungal-derived enzymes)
  • Glucoamylase: breaks down starch to glucose
  • Anti-gluten enzyme blend: This enzyme blend is amazing! It helps digest gluten and casein. If your body doesn’t do well with gluten or casein, this is a must!
  • Tummy Tamer™ Blend of Essential Oils (peppermint, ginger, caraway): 3 Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils that help support a healthy gut and digestive system.

 Did You Know? Acidity is created through the digestion of proteins. Having sufficient protein digesting enzymes, such as protease, can help prevent this.

 

What is DDP IV

DPP IV is a proteolytic enzyme with numerous functions through the entire body. DPP IV helps to regulate gluten and casein metabolism, immune system, and also cell apoptosis (cell death). In addition, DPP IV has been shown to help with some extremely serious life threatening issues and help promote health cell growth. For those reasons it’s easy to see why this is an enzyme that is quickly growing in popularity.

 

Would DDP IV Enable You To Eat Gluten Again

There are numerous studies that show that the DDP IV enzyme can help people who avoid gluten for medical reasons, to protect themselves against possible foods contaminated or cross-contaminated with gluten. This is especially good news for people when eating out or for when eating foods prepared by others.

 

Primary Benefits of Terrazyme

  • Supports healthy digestion and metabolism of enzyme-deficient, processed foods*
  • Supports conversion of food nutrients to cellular energy*
  • Promotes gastrointestinal comfort and food tolerance*
  • Supports healthy production of metabolic enzymes*
  • Proprietary blend of 10 active whole-food enzymes
  • Contains the do –TERRA tummy tamer blend of Peppermint, Ginger, and Caraway Seed
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate-free HPMC vegetable capsules
  • Safe and effective

 

Directions for Use

Take one to three vegetable capsules with meals throughout the day. If your meal includes lots of fresh, raw foods, take one capsule. If your meal includes highly processed, cooked foods or food products known to cause specific GI discomfort, take two to three capsules with meal.

 

Conclusion

I have tried numerous different digestive enzymes and the brand that I know, trust, and get results with is doTERRA’s TerraZyme®. I wish I knew about digestive enzymes several years ago when I was going through my own health issues. But in the couple of years that I have been taking them I have seen huge changes in so many areas of my life. They have helped me with the bloating that can happen after a meal. They help me tolerate moderate amounts of dairy in my diet. And lastly, but one of my favorite effects is that they’ve helped in maintaining a healthy weight.

 

KEY STUDIES

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Fieker A, philpott J, Armand M. Enzyme replacement therapy for pancreatic insufficiency: Present and future. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology. 2011;4:55-73.

Seiler Cm, Izbicki J, Varga-Szabo L, et al. Randomised clinical trial: A 1-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of pancreatin 25000 Ph. Eur. Minimicrospheres for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency after pancreatic surgery, with a 1-year open-label extension. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013;37:691-702.

Layer P, Go VLW, DiMagno EP. Fate of pancreatic enzymes during small intestinal aboral transit in humans. Intraluminal Fate of Pancreatic Enzymes. 1986:251:G475-480.

Jiang Z, Zhou Y, Lu F, et al. Effects of different levels of supplementary alpha-amylase on digestive enzyme activities and pancreatic amylase mRNA expression of young broilers. Asian-Aust J Anim Sci. 2008;21:97-102.