Should You Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements?

April 25, 2014

Digestive enzyme supplements may soothe your digestive system and reduce uncomfortable bloating.

Raw fruits and vegetables contain live enzymes that help our bodies break them down and absorb their nutrients. Any food that’s been processed or cooked beyond a light steaming, however, does not contain its own enzymes. While our bodies have their own reserve of digestive enzymes, these reserves are depleted as we age.  Fortunately, we can ease our reliance on them by taking digestive enzyme supplements. The body may then use its store of enzymes to repair DNA and renew skin collagen, promoting health and beauty.

What to Look For

Vegan Not all enzyme supplements are vegan—watch out for blends containing bovine ingredients. Choosing vegan isn’t just better for the animals.  According to clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, “Plant enzymes may be more active at a fuller pH range than animal-based products,” making for a more effective supplement. Sounds good to me!

The Right Enzymes Make sure your digestive enzyme supplements contain the following:

Amylase – breaks down starches
Protease – breaks down protein
Lipase – breaks down fat

For a bonus:

Cellulase – breaks down cellulose and chitin (found in the cell walls of candida).

Giving your digestion a boost may result in the following benefits:

improved absorption of minerals and vitamins
increased energy
decreased indigestion (bloating, constipation, gas)—and increased digestive comfort
improved conditions like acne and other skin imbalances

How to Use Them Preferably, digestive enzymes should be taken before any meal containing cooked food.  They may also be taken during or after the meal if you forget to take them before—which I sometimes do! While I store a large bottle in my kitchen vitamin cabinet, I also tote around a little bottle in my purse.  They’re a huge comfort when I’m travelling or eating out. Of course, as with any supplement, digestive enzymes are not a ticket to eat crazy-processed food–that’s never good for digestion and health. Digestive enzyme supplements are non-habit forming and complement any regimen of probiotics and other nutritional supplements. Consult your doctor before consuming if you are pregnant or have a special health condition.

A Few Suggestions

Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System

Should You Be Taking Digestive Enzyme Supplements?

Rainbow Light

Containing enzymes from ten different plants, these vegan enzyme supplements are a good choice for anyone trying to avoid common allergens like gluten and soy.

Healthforce Nutritionals Digestion Enhancement Enzymes

Should You Be Taking Digestive Enzyme Supplements?


Recommended by clinical nutritionist Lauren Talbot, these supplements contain a good dose of cellulase (see above), and may be beneficial for those suffering from candida.

Garden of Life Omega-Zyme

Should You Be Taking Digestive Enzymes?

Garden of Life

With twenty different digestive enzymes, the Omega-Zyme supplements boost any diet already high in raw fruits and vegetables.


What do you think, dumplings? Have you tried taking enzyme supplements? What other supplements or probiotics do you take? Discuss!


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Photos: 123rf, Rainbow Light, Healthforce Nutritionals, Garden of Life

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Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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