Digestive Enzymes Are The New Probiotics. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Probiotics are, and will always be, important, but a new supplement seems to have taken hold of the wellness community: Digestive enzymes. It seems like pretty much everyone is talking about enzymes, and for good reason. People with chronic conditions may benefit from their use, and it’s suspected that even otherwise healthy individuals may derive some benefits.

But let’s start from the beginning: What are digestive enzymes, and why should you take them? Here’s the scoop.

The Role of Digestive Enzymes in the Body 

Enzymes are a crucial component of our bodily processes, and we have a huge number of naturally occurring enzymes in our bodies. The digestive process is heavily reliant on them. It starts with Salivary amylase, which is released in our mouths when we chew, helping to break down food. Numerous other enzymes are released throughout the digestive process, with the goal of these enzymes being to promote digestion, derive nutrients from our food and make important conversions (such as the conversion of proteins to amino acids and carbohydrates to simple sugars).

It’s now thought that nutrition can only cure so much — digestion and absorption are absolutely crucial. No matter how great your nutrient intake is, it doesn’t matter at all if your body can’t digest and absorb it. And that is precisely why people are taking digestive enzymes.

What Might Enzymes Help?

There are a number of conditions that enzymes could help. Some are very serious, which is why enzymes have long been prescribed by doctors to patients who need them.

“There are clearly medical reasons to use enzymes,” says Dr. Brent Bauer, MD, for the Mayo Clinic. “If a patient’s pancreas isn’t working, for example, that patient may need to take a medically prescribed enzyme supplement.”

But heath and wellness experts now suspect that enzymes could help people with any of the other issues that may be related to gut health and, of course, subsequent nutrient absorption — and that’s a pretty exhaustive list. According to Dr. Axe, digestive issues like acid reflux, gas, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are obviously related to gut health, but even acne, depression, eczema, ADHD, anxiety and other issues are now suspected to be affected by gut health.

So, Should You Take An Enzyme?

While there is reason to believe digestive enzymes could help you feel better in a number of ways, many of the specific health claims are speculatory science at this point.

“We just don’t have the data to say, `No, it doesn’t work. Yes, it does work.’ We’re stuck,” says Dr. Bauer. “Fortunately, for most over-the-counter enzymes, unless you’re taking super-high doses, the risks are pretty minimal.”

71 comments

Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M10 months ago

Noted.

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith10 months ago

I tried digestive enzymes but they will not work for me!!!!!!!!!1 I m cursed

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Marija M
Marija M10 months ago

tks for sharing

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R10 months ago

I seem to do just fine just eating sensible food. No supplements for me!!

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Ruth S
Ruth S11 months ago

Thanks.

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Janice P
Janice P11 months ago

Thanks for the article. I also appreciate the comments. I will try pineapple and papaya for natural enzymes.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

Then how do we take them? Do they come as supplements, or do our bodies make them?

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