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Top 8 Best Digestive Enzymes Supplements

UpdatedMay 29, 2024

Digestive issues are common among the population, and there are many reasons why you could be experiencing them. Of course, avoiding trigger foods is the best way to avoid such problems, but it's not always easy. This is where the best digestive enzymes come in.

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To maintain optimal gut health, you have to maintain healthy bacteria to digest food components without a problem. But, we realize that it's not always possible since lifestyles vary. These digestive enzyme supplements are a game changer for anyone with pancreatic insufficiency or other digestive issues like ulcerative colitis.

I realized that you feel the effects immediately, even after eating trigger foods and those you are intolerant to, like refined sugars, saturated fats, and manufactured meats. Thanks to active enzymes like papain, peptidase, protease 3.0 amylase, glucoamylase, cellulase, invertase, beta-glucanase, and lactase, you will digest food easier. Consequently, as food moves in your digestive system, these digestive enzymes work throughout the tract, so you will still be comfortable, even after a large meal or overindulgence in trigger foods.

Another effect that we identified with these digestive enzymes was feeling a sensation of less inflammation and abdominal pain. If you have digestive issues, you know that the feeling of abdominal aches and other uncomfortable symptoms never go away. However, with this natural digestive enzyme supplement before every meal, there is an immediate change.

Pros:

  • Immediate results
  • Improves gut health
  • Well-flavored
  • Value for money
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Promotes digestion

Cons:

  • You might be uncomfortable in the first few days of taking them

Best for Constipation: Source Naturals Essential Enzymes

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It is normal to experience digestive enzyme deficiency at some point, especially when you eat foods you might not handle well. This is where the Source Naturals digestive enzyme supplements come in. Of course, after trying it, I quickly established that it's a great supplement for several digestive ailments, such as bloating, acidity, and gas.

Furthermore, the enzyme supplement ensures your digestive health remains intact. Of course, this supplement contains protease, lipase, alpha-amylase, amyloglucosidase, hemicellulose, and lactase, which make it great for aiding the digestion of foods like dairy products and red meat. If you have been taking digestive enzymes, you know some brands leave out certain enzymes from their supplements. However, with this brand, you are getting a wide variety of enzymes to aid digestion.

I would recommend that people with issues such as gluten or lactose intolerance might need to take 2 capsules for the enzyme supplement to be worth it. The required dosage indicates 1 pill before each meal but with clear instructions not to exceed 6 pills a day.

Pros:

  • Works within 20 minutes
  • Wide variety of enzymes
  • Easy to swallow
  • No noticeable flavor or aftertaste
  • Value for money

Cons:

  • No returns

Best for Preventing Bloating: Enzymedica Digest Gold + ATPro, Maximum Strength Enzyme Formula

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These Enzymedica digestive enzyme supplements are excellent for immediate relief of your indigestion, with unmatched effectiveness. Additionally, they have your back when you eat foods heavy on the stomach, like fried foods. This enzyme supplement provides relief for indigestion, gas, and bloating. Furthermore, the supplement contains amylase, protease, lipase, and lactase that break down complex carbs, fats, and proteins to significantly prevent bloating.

The dosage indicates taking a pill before a meal. After taking a pill, these digestive enzymes break down all the elements of a typical meal faster, making it easier for your digestive tract. Since the pills are made with naturally occurring digestive enzymes, they work in the same way. Furthermore, I also noticed that even if you forget to take it before you eat, it still works well if you take it right after your meal.

These digestive enzyme supplements are made to remain active throughout the digestive system. Therefore, they are functional in acidic and alkaline environments, so you don't have to worry about indigestion. While I know that this digestive enzyme supplement isn't meant to treat any abdominal pain, it effectively does away with any discomfort and the feeling of being too full after a meal.

Pros:

  • Effective
  • Easy to swallow
  • Works fast
  • Easily absorbed
  • No discernable flavor

Cons:

  • You will experience some side effects until your body gets used to the enzymes

Best for Nutrient Absorption: American Health Original Papaya Digestive Enzyme

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If you are looking for a digestive enzyme that provides immediate relief, these chewable tablets are your best bet. Additionally, they are for any acidity or influx, be it the result of food intolerances, overeating, or stress. Furthermore, I like how they taste like candy, so it's easier to chew at your own pace, and you don't have to swallow with water.

This supplement contains all the enzymes needed to ease your uncomfortable symptoms and give you better bowel movements. It has papain, amylase, and protease that are perfect for digesting red and white meat, complex carbohydrates, and the fats in greasy foods. I was also impressed by the enzyme supplement since it encourages healthy bacteria, which is good for gut health, and supports easy digestion. Furthermore, papaya is a naturally sourced ingredient that helps to support digestion.

These vegan-friendly chewable tablets are also safe for daily use before or after a meal. However, ensure not to take more than 6 in a day. Aside from the chalky taste, there isn't any awful aftertaste. Remember to store the tablets in a cool and dry place, as exposure to direct sunlight could cause the tablets to melt.

Pros:

  • Easy to chew and swallow
  • Immediate relief
  • Increases nutrient absorption
  • No aftertaste

Cons:

  • Might be too sweet for some people

Best for GERD: NOW Supplements, Super Enzymes

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Medical conditions like GERD present severe digestive problems. However, with this enzyme supplement, there is a chance you can improve digestion and discomfort at once. Furthermore, these digestive enzyme supplements are made without gluten, dairy, soy, GMO, or dairy ingredients. Whether you eat a snack, or a meal, taking this supplement will help you to digest better. Additionally, I was pleased to learn that they are made entirely of vegetarian ingredients and do not contain any unnecessary fillers or preservatives that could be harmful to you in the long run.

These supplements work by breaking down undigested food into nutrients, which are absorbed into the small intestine. If you have issues eating dairy, spicy foods, and foods that require a tomato base, like pizza, this is this product is for you. It contains enzymes like bromelain, ox bile, pancreatin, and papain to break down these trigger foods; you don't have to worry about any digestive discomfort.

Of course, I also recommend these supplements to support digestion if you have irritable bowel syndrome, digestive discomfort, and a generally hard time digesting fried foods. A pill before each meal will yield a recognizable difference, especially with bloating, abdominal pain after eating, and an overall improved stomach condition.

Pros:

  • Easily absorbed
  • Value for money
  • Relieves pain
  • High-quality supplements

Cons:

  • Taste awful and are large, making them hard to swallow

Best for Digestive Enzyme Deficiency: Doctor's Best Digestive Enzymes

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These digestive enzyme supplements contain the full spectrum of digestive enzymes, including lipase, to break down fatty foods. We all like a burger, but sometimes, it can lead to severe gas and bloating. This is where Doctor's Best Digestive Enzymes come in. I noticed a significant difference in digestion and quick relief from discomfort.

This enzyme contains glucoamylase, invertase, proteolytic enzymes, lipase, lactase, xylanase, and phytase, which are excellent for digesting fatty foods. This digestive supplement will prevent the pancreas from overworking to produce digestive enzymes. Additionally, I appreciate that this enzyme supplement has no gluten or soy additives, making it perfect for vegetarians.

People with digestive disorders, like digestive enzyme deficiency, can greatly benefit from taking this product. Low stomach acid is a common cause of indigestion and leaky gut syndrome. This can make it hard to digest food and leave your gut health worse for wear. However, these supplements aid digestion and ensure you can digest sugar, found in complex carbohydrates, naturally without a problem.

Pros:

  • Value for money
  • Easy to swallow
  • Fast-acting
  • Effective

Cons:

  • Melt when in direct sunlight

Best for Regular Bowel Movement: Zenwise Digestive Enzymes - Probiotic Multi Enzymes

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Probiotic supplements are an excellent way to get things going in the gut. Consuming probiotics like fermented foods is a great natural way to aid digestion and decrease bloating and abdominal swelling. However, that's not always possible, which is where supplements come in, especially if you want to stick to a daily regimen. I also have to mention that the combination of probiotics and digestive enzymes works well for almost any digestive ailment.

Of course, the effect of this supplement is immediate, and the relief from bloating and gas will get you feeling healthy. With enzymes like glucoamylase, amylase, bromelain, cellulase, invertase, lactase, bacterial protease, papain, lipase, and maltase, you will notice an increased regularity in bowel movements which leaves you feeling great in the morning. Furthermore, if you like to indulge in spicy food but always seem to need some relief from bloating and gas, then these supplements are excellent, especially when taken before every meal or snack.

Pros:

  • Easy to swallow
  • Value for money
  • Easily absorbed
  • Provides pain relief
  • High-quality ingredients

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best for Indigestion: Love Wellness Bye Bye Bloat, Digestive Enzymes Supplement

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These are one of the best digestive enzymes infused with fenugreek and organic ginger root. These ingredients help with hormonal water retention and bloating that might make you feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we would recommend it for anyone experiencing any digestive issues and would like some relief.

The active digestive enzymes in this supplement include amylase, protease, pepsin, lipase, bromelain, and papain which are excellent for the digestion of complex carbohydrates, meat proteins, and saturated fats that could cause severe digestive issues.

I realized that these supplements work better if you take at least 2 every night. You will wake up to regular bowel movements, and your sensitivity to some food groups will be solved. Ensure to take this digestive enzyme supplement as required, or you won't see the difference. However, before you use it, you should know that it takes at least a week to see a major improvement in your digestion. Of course, we wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants quick results.

Pros:

  • Easy to swallow
  • No discernable flavor
  • You can open them into a drink
  • Dairy and gluten-free
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons:

  • Takes a long time to work

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Digestive Enzymes

Choosing the best digestive enzymes depends on a few factors. You can base on the following factors:

1) Broad Spectrum Digestive Enzymes

It is critical to find a digestive enzyme supplement with a wide range of enzymes that aid in the breakdown of various nutrients like fiber, fat, carbohydrates, starch, and sugar.Broad-spectrum enzymes have a greater percentage of absorption, a variety of origins and substrates, and a wide range of optimal pH levels. This ensures that the blends offer more advantages than individual enzymes.

Remember, each enzyme has a specific role in the body, and when taken together, they help the digestive system absorb food better. Since your meals combine various food groups, you can easily use digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of all the essential macronutrients.

Additionally, you can aid in the digestion of all of the macronutrients at once using digestive enzymes because your meals combine various food groups. Plus, you should make it a point to look for a combination of particular enzymes like lipase, lactase, protease, amylase, and cellulase that help the body break down food easily.

Without supplements, you might have problems managing digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. Proper digestion is important for better nutrient absorption, which supports optimal health.

2) Enzyme Source

Most of the time, plant-based digestive enzymes are preferred over animal and microbial-based varieties due to their efficacy. Since they have low to moderate acidity, they can easily improve gut health. Additionally, enzymes derived from plants will be gentler on the digestive system than those derived from their counterparts, making them more effective since they can alleviate stress on your small intestines.

Vegetarians can also take these enzyme supplements because they don't come from any animal products. Plant-based enzymes are a great option because they are the most potent, but remember, not all people who use digestive enzymes see the same results. Most enzymes on the market are vegetarian, as they contain more active units across a broad range than other types. Remember, animal-derived enzymes are unstable in acidic environments like the stomach and only function within a limited pH range.

3) Form of the Enzyme

Enzyme supplements are more readily available as capsules compared to tablets. Since capsules don't go through a complicated manufacturing process, the majority of the active enzymes remain intact and can be absorbed more efficiently when ingested. In contrast, the complicated processing that goes into making tablets kills some active enzymes, making them less effective in digestion.

If you take the digestive enzyme supplements as a tablet, you should avoid chewing or leaving them in your mouth for a long because they can irritate your cheeks and gums. It is also recommended to use water to swallow the enzyme. When it comes to chewable tablets, ensure to chew them thoroughly before swallowing to ensure maximum absorption during digestion.

Capsules might be a different issue, especially since many people have a problem swallowing them. However, it is okay to open them into a drink like a smoothie if you can't take them whole with water. Just remember not to inhale the powder, as it can irritate your respiratory tract.

4) Naturally Formulated

When looking for digestive enzymes, it is recommended to look for naturally formulated ones. This means you should try to avoidones that contain a lot of fillers, like artificial flavors and colors. Naturally occurring digestive enzyme supplements should also have formulas that may include herbs such as ginger, fennel, or peppermint for further digestive support.

Image Source: zenwise.com

Some naturally formulated digestive enzymes also contain lactase and alpha-galactosidase, which enable lactose digestion. Furthermore, ensure the capsule coating doesn't contain any cellulose or artificial ingredients.

If you want to try naturally fermented foods before taking supplements, try foods like kimchi, ginger, and fresh fruits to support digestion. Of course, if you don't feel better, a good, naturally formulated digestive enzyme supplement is best for your gut health.

5) Enzyme Efficacy

The activity level of a digestive enzyme refers to its rate of reaction when digesting food. Therefore, the higher the activity level, the more remarkable it is in processing your food. Additionally, you will need fewer pills if you choose a supplement with high activity and potency. Furthermore, temperature, concentration, pH, quantity, and substrate influence the enzymes' activity. This means the more potent the activity level, the better its performance.

Most of the time, you can get a rough idea of your enzyme's activity level by how efficiently it works. The majority of digestive enzymes work immediately after taking them. However, you can also know the enzymes' efficiency by the number of individual enzymes in the supplement. If it contains the 4 main digestive enzymes; carbohydrates, proteases, lipases, and nucleases, then it's a good indicator that it's effective.

6) Backed by Research

As a general rule, always look for enzymes that are supported by scientific evidence. Remember, the supplement formulation from a good manufacturer will be based on clinical research. If you are still unsure, you can ask a doctor specializing in gut health or a dietician to evaluate the supplement you intend to purchase. If the supplement you want doesn't check all the boxes, then you must find one that does.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Digestive Enzymes

i) Do digestive enzyme supplements work?

Yes, they do. Digestive supplement enzymes work primarily for people with an enzyme deficiency. A good quality supplement will support digestion, prevent gas and bloating, and help your body to absorb nutrition. Additionally, they relieve other digestive issues that could be caused by chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis.

Of course, to transform food into nutrients that the body can use, digestive enzymes are crucial in breaking down food into molecules small enough to be absorbed by the small intestine and enter the bloodstream. If you have digestive issues like an enzyme deficiency, then the supplements are a good choice.

ii) What is the most effective digestive enzyme?

Determining the most effective digestive enzyme is challenging as effectiveness can vary depending on individual needs and specific digestive issues. However, commonly used enzymes like protease, amylase, lipase, lactase, bromelain, and papain have been shown to be effective for certain conditions such as protein digestion issues, carbohydrate malabsorption, fat malabsorption, lactose intolerance, and general digestive aid. The choice of the most effective enzyme depends on the underlying cause of digestive issues and individual factors. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help determine the appropriate enzyme or combination of enzymes for individual needs.

iii) What are the 3 most important digestive enzymes?

  1. Protease: Protease is responsible for breaking down proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids. It plays a crucial role in protein digestion and is necessary for the absorption of essential amino acids.
  2. Amylase: Amylase is involved in the digestion of carbohydrates. It breaks down complex carbohydrates, such as starches, into simpler sugars like glucose. This enzyme is essential for the effective breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates.
  3. Lipase: Lipase is responsible for the digestion of dietary fats. It breaks down triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol, enabling the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids.

These three enzymes collectively cover the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, which are the primary macronutrients in our diet. They are essential for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

iv) How do I know if digestive enzymes are working?

The body may experience what we refer to as "adjustment effects" rather than actual side effects when starting enzymes. Several of the unpleasant reactions, such as an upset stomach, allergy-like symptoms, or irritability, are actually indications that the enzymes are functioning.

v) Is it better to take digestive enzyme supplements or probiotics?

Digestive enzyme supplements can be beneficial for individuals with specific enzyme deficiencies or conditions that impair digestion, helping to break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. On the other hand, probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome and can aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health. The decision should be based on personal factors, such as specific digestive concerns, existing conditions, and guidance from healthcare professionals who can provide tailored recommendations for the best approach to address individual digestive needs.

The Bottom Line

Digestive discomfort will be a thing of the past when you start taking digestive enzymes. Additionally, in our list of enzymes, you are bound to find at least two that work for you. All the enzymes mentioned enhance gut health, but we specifically chose them for their capacity to decrease daily digestive discomfort.

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