Best Digestive Enzymes: Top 8 Digestive Enzyme Supplements

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Best Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Guide to Best Digestive Enzyme Supplements

Digestive Enzymes

Concerned you’re not getting the most out of your diet?

Worried that the effort you’re putting in to make sure only the best foods are going into your body are going to waste?

Well, the bad news is, they might be.

But the good news is that there’s a supplement to help your body extract optimum nutrients from your food – so you can be as healthy as possible and capitalize on your good eating habits.

Read on to find out what digestive enzymes are and how they can work for you.

What are digestive enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are what helps your body break down your food to absorb the nutrients from it.

They are proteins that are produced naturally in your mouth, stomach, pancreas and small intestine which help to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins into easily absorbed particles.

For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on the digestive enzymes in your stomach, pancreas and small intestine.

Studies show that when we eat food, our pancreas releases around a litre and a half of pancreatic enzymes daily that travel to the start of your small intestine, called the duodenum.

In the duodenum, the food is broken down and then passes through the rest of your intestines to be absorbed correctly.

All other, non-beneficial waste is passed through and out of the body naturally.

Here are some indicators that your digestive enzymes might not be working the way they should:

  • Bloating (especially after large meals)
  • Gas/heartburn
  • Abdominal pain/nausea
  • Headaches/not being able to think clearly
  • Rashes/eczema
  • Acne breakouts
  • Feeling full after only a few bites of your food
  • Stools that float or have undigested food in them
  • Oily substances in the toilet bowl when passing stools

If you’re experiencing quite a few of these symptoms, it is very possible that you may have a digestive enzyme issue.

As these symptoms are akin to many health conditions in the body, get your doctor to check you out and give you an official diagnosis.

They will be able to recommend a course of action which may include digestive supplements. These will help to kick start your enzymes’ nutrient-extracting powers.

How can a digestive enzyme supplement benefit me?

If you’re experiencing digestion issues or just not getting enough energy from your food as you feel you should be, you may have a digestive enzyme deficiency.

This can be caused by a huge range of issues, here’s just a few:

Stress

When you’re stressing your body is in a “fight or flight” mode. In fight or flight mode, studies suggest that digestion is seen to be a lower priority and so is put on the back-burner so to speak.

So, if you’re constantly stressed, your body won’t be digesting your food as effectively as it should. 

Minor inflammation in your digestive tract

This is caused by food intolerances or allergies, parasitic infections and the like. Research shows that this will generally cause your digestive enzymes to work at a lower efficiency.

Aging

There is evidence to show that naturally, as you get older, your digestive enzymes will become less effective. This is largely unavoidable but definitely manageable.

Issues with your pancreas

Such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and more.

If It’s all sounding a bit bleak at the moment, don’t worry. Here is a list of some of the health issues that a digestive enzyme supplement can assist with:

Digestion

This is the most obvious one and the thing that digestive enzymes were born to do (literally).

If you’ve got any kind of digestive disease that hinders your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food, taking a regular supplement of digestive enzymes will take the stress off all affected organs by helping them to do their job and relieving your symptoms as seen in this medical study (bloating, nausea, heartburn, etc).

This includes irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea or constipation and Crohn’s disease among others.

Liver disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with liver disease, you most likely have an enzyme deficiency so taking a supplement to give your body some extra help is a great idea.

Low stomach acid (Hypochlorhydria)

Acid in the stomach is essential for digestion of foods and the killing off of bacteria that may be ingested via the food you eat.

If you have low stomach acid, these things aren’t happening.

Research suggests that taking a digestive enzyme supplement can assist with the digestion of your foods despite this condition.

Aging

As you grow older, like many aspects of your body, your digestive enzymes become less effective.

You need your body to be able to get all the nutrients possible out of your food so it can remain as healthy as possible.

A digestive enzyme supplement is going to be able to boost the amount of enzymes in your stomach and small intestine to restore your body’s ability to break down food into the nutrients you need.

Read on to find out what different types of supplements there are and which one suits you best.

Types of digestive enzymes

Depending on what you’re needing your digestive enzyme supplement for, you may want to know where they come from and what they can help with.

That way, when you’re picking out a brand you’ll know exactly what to look for to target your specific health concerns.

We’ve listed the main sources below.

Animal sourced

These digestive enzymes will generally come from the pancreas or stomachs of cows or pigs and can only function at higher pH levels.

Whilst this makes them less helpful for digestion than other digestive enzyme sources, pancreatin enzymes help with conditions like pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Fruit sourced

The two most common enzymes derived from plants are ‘bromelain’ from pineapple and ‘papain’ from papaya.

Bromelain is best for breaking down your proteins and acting as an anti-inflammatory whereas papain works best with breaking down all proteins, fats and carbs.

Plant sourced

Plant sourced digestive enzymes are generally thought to be the most effective as they function across a wide range of pH levels.

This includes enzymes from sources like yeast and fungi and they will be able to survive harsh stomach acids very well.

Tips and tricks for purchasing digestive enzymes

Here’s a quick list to help you pick the best digestive enzyme supplement for you:

Enzyme count

Make sure your supplement has a high count and wide range of enzymes so it’s well balanced and potent.

This includes proteases, lipases and carbohydrases – the label should always specify how many active units are in the serving, the higher amount of those the better.

Know how to read the label

Each different enzyme will have a code next to it, just look at the numbers next to each unit code. This will represent the amount of active enzymes in the serving which is what you need to be focusing on.

Try to avoid a supplement that doesn’t show the active units or only specifies the enzyme weights as you may not be able to tell the potency of the product from these kinds of informative labels.

Source

Using our guide above, make sure you pick an enzyme supplement with an appropriate source to target your specific health concerns.

As a guide, plant sourced enzymes are generally the most effective and reliable but it’s best to get a mix so you’re getting a full range of different enzymes.

Nutrients

 If you can, pick a supplement that contains added nutrients, vitamins and minerals to aid your digestion improvement.

Make sure to stay away from brands that use unnecessary fillers or have been possibly exposed to toxins and chemicals.

Aim for supplements that specify more than 95% purity.

8 best digestive enzymes

Now you know what digestive enzyme supplements are for, we’ve listed our top 8 picks for you to check out.

When choosing your supplement, make sure to compare and research each option as much as possible – when it comes to health the more you know, the better.

#8 NOW Foods Super Enzymes

This bottom range digestive enzyme supplement from NOW foods is an excellent all rounder with a great mix of enzymes from different sources.

It promises to break down your fats, carbs and proteins to aid in your digestion and nutrient absorption as well as being able to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like bloating and reflux after meals.

You can take one or two capsules a day with or without food depending on what amount of digestive help you need.

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Pros

  • Contains papain, bromelain, ox bile extract, amylase, protease and lipase
  • Great price
  • Can be taken with or without food
  • Serving size 1 capsule per day, can be increased if needed

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Cons

  • Contains magnesium stearate which is not absorbed well by the body

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#7 American Health Chewable Super Papaya Enzyme Plus

This is a great option for those who can’t swallow capsules and want something a bit more convenient.

This supplement is recommends you chew 2-3 tablets after every meal and has a fresh, minty taste to combat bad afterbreath.

It’s a vegetarian formula that contains chlorophyll and peppermint for aided digestion.

It also contains protease, lipase, bromelain and a heavy focus on papain from papaya.

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Pros

  • Taken after meals instead of before
  • Chewable tablets with a peppermint taste
  • Added chlorophyll which aids detoxification and digestion
  • Vegetarian

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Cons

  • High daily dosage to see positive effects

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#6 Global Healing Center VeganZymes

A great option for vegans wanting to boost their digestion with a digestive enzyme supplement (however there are more vegan friendly options below).

This supplement boasts what they call “full spectrum enzyme support”.

This helps to support healthy blood pressure and contains a lot of beneficial enzymes from different sources. 

One downside is that it is relatively expensive compared with others in the same range.

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Pros

  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO, cruelty free and gluten free
  • Supports blood pressure, full range of digestion improvement and breaks down toxic molecules
  • Contains papain, lipase, protease, amylase and bromelain among others

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Cons

  • Expensive
  • 2 capsules daily

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#5 Source Naturals Essential Enzymes

This digestive enzyme is another vegan-friendly supplement. 

Conveniently, the capsules are easily opened in case you’re not great at swallowing them.

You can even sprinkle them over your food or into a glass of water.

One downside is that It needs to be taken before every meal and will be a 1-2 capsule dose depending on how big the meal is.

It also contains magnesium stearate. 

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Pros

  • Vegan friendly
  • Focus on easing lactose intolerance symptoms
  • Affordable
  • Easily opened capsules for those who can’t swallow them

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Cons

  • Contains magnesium stearate which is not absorbed well by the body
  • Dosage is 1-2 capsules per meal

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#4 Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System

Another one for our vegans out there.

Rainbow Light has created an excellent digestive enzyme supplement that is made from plant based enzymes.

It also includes added goodies like peppermint, turmeric and ginger for extra digestion support.

One downside is that it requires a frequent dosage – so you may forget to take it when needed. 

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Pros

  • Vegan
  • Great range of plant based enzymes like bromelain and papain
  • Contains natural digestion boosters like fennel, apple pectin and ginger

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Cons

  • One capsule before each meal
  • On the pricier side

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#3 Enzymedica Digest Gold

This supplement claims to have special technology that combines the correct enzyme strains to make sure they are effective across all pH levels in the body, ensuring maximum efficiency.

With a non GMO, no fillers, vegan and gluten free formula, it’s a great option for everyone.

On the downside, it also requires frequent dosage (three times per day) which can be a little inconvenient  at times.

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Pros

  • No fillers, non GMO, vegan, gluten free
  • Special technology to ensure enzymes cover all pH levels of the body

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Cons

  • One capsule per meal
  • On the pricier side

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

#2 Zenwise Labs Digestive Enzyme Supplements

This product contains a hearty mix of plant-based digestive enzymes, which are thought to be the strongest source.

As an added bonus it’s got a hit of 1 billion colony forming units (CFU’s) of probiotics with some prebiotics to help them along.

This is a good supplement for anyone who’s having some concerning gut issues.

It will aid with digestion and encourage the growth of good bacteria in your intestines at the same time. 

The only downside of this product is that it does not specify the exact active units of enzymes, which makes it difficult to measure potency.

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Pros

  • 1 billion CFU’s of probiotics plus prebiotics
  • Plant based digestive enzymes
  • Contains turmeric, peppermint, fennel and more
  • Over 5000 customer reviews on Amazon with a 4.5 star overall rating
  • All Zenwise products come with a money back satisfaction guarantee
  • Once daily serving

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Cons

  • Doesn’t specify active units of digestive enzymes so we cannot be sure of the potency
  • Contains magnesium stearate which is not absorbed well by the body

Price: Click here to check the price on Amazon’s website

 

 Editors Choice

#1 1MD Complete Digestive Enzymes Platinum

1MD Complete Digestive Enzymes
1MD Complete Digestive Enzymes Platinum

A true market leader in the digestive enzymes supplement space. 1MD has done it again with this ultra potent digestive supplement.

Developed by a board-certified MD who specializes in gastroenterology, this blend includes a whopping 18 potent plant based enzymes.

It also includes a powerful probiotic which aids in digestion and inhibits bloating.

To top it all off it’s vegetarian, gluten free, non GMO, dairy free and doesn’t include any artificial ingredients.

It also comes with a 90 day money back guarantee.

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Pros

  • Plant based digestive enzymes
  • Specially formulated to minimize digestive discomfort
  • Comes with a 90 day money back guarantee
  • Once daily or as needed 
  • Affordable

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Cons

  • None

Price: Click here to check the price on 1MD’s website

Best Digestive Enzymes: Top 8 Digestive Enzyme Supplements
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