It seems like the stars of the show when it comes to enhancing digestive health are pro and prebiotics.
But one of the most overlooked and underrated supplements for nutrient absorption are digestive enzyme supplements.
Some dietitians would even argue that they might be more important than live microorganisms because digestive enzymes supplements work to break down and absorb nutrients.
But during extensive testing and research, we found that most of these digestive enzyme supplements simply don’t work, and some even gave us a few unpleasant side effects.
Our dietitian guided us during this testing, and we want to show you the best digestive enzymes we found.
Our Top Digestive Enzyme Supplements (September 2023)
1 - EnzymeMD Digestive Enzyme Supplement (Editor's Choice)
EnzymeMD might be a good option if you think that you might be lacking a wide range of different enzymes.
It claims to contain 18 different types, which may work well enough to solve severe cramping and bloating. The added probiotics might also help to get your digestive health back into balance.
If this works out for you, the other bonus the regular discount offers and good bulk-order options available on their website.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease
- Claims to contain 18 different types of enzymes to reduce bloating, gas, and cramps
- May provide a boost in probiotics to rebalance your healthy gut bacteria
- Available with good bulk-order discounts
- Many positive comments about it working within about a week
- The proprietary blend hides the exact amounts of enzymes
The downside we saw is that it’s another one of those products with a proprietary blend where you don’t get the exact details.
But overall, it worked wonders on my digestive health in reducing my bloating without experiencing any side effects.
2 - DigestWell
This digestive enzyme supplement is slightly lower in dosage, which might be enough if you don’t have severe stomach issues. It’s also vegan certified with only plant-sourced ingredients.
The company claims that it has mainly focused on a formula that aims to target the stomach lining in the lower intestinal area, which is often a problem area for people.
We saw a lot of positive comments from people who used this digestive enzyme supplement to solve lactose intolerance issues or other stomach concerns after eating dairy.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 25k HUT
- Suitable for vegans thanks to using only plant-based ingredients
- Claims to be formulated to help maintain the lining of the small intestine
- Seems to work well for people who suffer from bloating, gas, and cramps due to lactose intolerance
- It may contain some traces of nuts
Just keep in mind that if you have lactose intolerance or any allergies to nuts, this product may contain some traces of nuts that could cause allergic reactions.
3 - Dr. Anna Cabeca's Keto-Green Enzymes
The next on our list of best digestive enzyme supplements is this one from Dr. Anna. Unlike many other apparently doctor-formulated ones, this does look like it was designed based on scientific and medical research.
Many of the reviews we read highlight that it seems to have the right combination of enzymes to help break down dairy products.
The enzymes help if you suffer from an upset stomach or bloating after eating cheese, for example.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 120k HUT
- May provide one of the broadest ranges of digestive enzymes
- Seems to work well to break down dairy products
- Entirely plant-based making it suitable for vegans
- Free shipping is only available on bulk orders or subscriptions
The only thing I would mention is that you may want to consider the bulk order or subscription option to save on shipping costs.
4 - Ora Organic Plant-Based Digestive Enzymes Powder
If you’re looking for organic digestive enzyme supplements, then Ora may have you covered. All the plant-based enzymes are from certified organic sources.
And the combination of different types seems to be working well for users.
This might also be a good option if you don’t like swallowing tablets, as it comes in a powdered form with quite a tasty flavor. It should work well by mixing it in with a morning smoothie.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 48k HUT
- Seems to be pretty fast-acting and may help with digestive issues within days
- Promotes healthy digestion
- It’s dairy, soy, and gluten-free to avoid common allergies
- Comes in a powdered form with a tasty pineapple flavor
- The exact amounts of ingredients are hidden behind a proprietary blend
The only thing we didn’t like is that the exact details about amounts of enzymes and ingredients are hidden behind a proprietary blend.
5 - Onnit Total Gut Health
The Onnit digestive enzyme supplement is another one that looks like it has been formulated based on scientific research.
Our dietitian confirmed that the combination and amounts of enzymes might be just the right balance to settle most stomach issues after eating.
And because it comes in convenient packets, you may be able to bring it with you if you’re eating a larger meal away from home.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 80k HUT
- Claims to provide a medically proven combination of digestive enzymes
- Contains some added probiotics to rebalance your gut flora
- Comes in convenient packets to bring with you to take while on the go
- It’s quite an expensive product
6 - Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System
The Rainbow Light digestive enzyme supplement is mainly focused on delivering bromelain, which research has shown to play a role in reducing inflammation and breaking down protein into amino acids .
And inflammation is a common problem when it comes to bowel issues, especially those that cause pain and cramping.
A few of our clients have been using it during bulking phases where they eat large volumes of food, and they found it seemed to help with a faster breakdown of fat and dairy protein.
- Main Enzyme Type : Bromelain 40k PU
- Claims to use a proven digestive herb blend to settle bloating and indigestion
- Vegan certified option based on plant sources
- Many positive reviews that it might help break down dairy products
- Some reviewers said it could take several weeks to become effective
While it does seem to work well, we did note that a few users said that it could take several weeks to notice a significant difference.
7 - American Health Super Papaya Enzyme
This digestive enzyme supplement is another one entirely sourced from plant-based enzymes. But it also avoids a lot of the common allergens like gluten and soy to avoid even minor allergic reactions.
It’s also unique in that you can chew the tablets, which have quite a nice taste to them. That’s a good feature if you’re not a fan of swallowing large tablets.
I’ve used these a lot and did find that they might ease stomach issues after eating meals.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 4,800 USP
- Free from the most common allergens to not cause reactions
- The tablets are chewable which may suit people who don’t like swallowing tablets
- Many positive reviews about improvements in digestive functions
- Full serving sizes come in 3 tablets
Just make sure you set yourself a reminder throughout the day to take all three tablets to get the full dosage.
8 - Enzymedica Digest Spectrum
Enzymedica's digestive enzyme supplement is also one that we liked because it might be the strongest one when it comes to providing protease. Research has shown that these specific enzymes may break down the cell walls of unwanted nutrients and even bacteria .
One of our team members also tends to suffer from gas and bloating after eating certain cheeses, and she finds taking this supplement tends to ease those issues in the long term.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 98k HUT
- One of the strongest digestive enzyme supplements available
- Seems to work well for dairy intolerances
- Might also work for people with gluten allergies
- Some people found it didn’t work fast enough
While it does provide a stronger dose, we did see a few users comment that it might take up to 2 weeks to notice a significant difference, especially if you’ve been having more severe issues.
9 - NOW Super Enzymes
The NOW digestive enzyme supplement is mainly based on amylase, which science has shown to play a key role in breaking down carbs .
This could be particularly useful for athletes who are going through a carb-loading phase for a competitive event or when building more muscle.
We also noted a few online comments from people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or low stomach acid who found that it may help reduce the symptoms.
- Main Enzyme Type : Amylase 37k USP
- Positive comments from people who seemed to have some relief from IBS
- Seems to work well for digesting healthy fats more effectively
- Comes in a good bulk-order bottle
- It’s limited to just three types of enzymes
The only downside is that this is one of the products that is limited to just three enzymes, so it may not solve all tummy troubles.
10 - Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra
The final one of our recommended digestive enzyme supplements is one that we liked because of a decent amount of alpha-galactosidase.
Researchers have shown that this enzyme may play a significant role in breaking down complex sugars and fats . These may be commonly associated with cramping and bloating if not digested effectively.
The overall selection of enzymes also looks positive, and it’s been designed to avoid the use of some of the most common allergens, like soy and gluten.
- Main Enzyme Type : Protease 60k HUT
- Provides a broad selection of enzymes that might help with digestive issues
- Contains a good dose of alpha-galactosidase to reduce gas
- Free from the most common allergens to not cause reactions
- The capsules might be a bit large for some people to swallow
One thing we did notice is that the capsules seem to be a bit larger than all others we tested.
Buyer’s Guide - Best Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Consider these things when planning for digestive enzyme supplementation.
1 - Main Enzyme Type
There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to digestive enzymes.
Firstly, different types may play different roles when it comes to nutrient absorption. Some are key to carbs and fat, while others help with protein. And then others also might help to break down unwelcome and unhealthy substances.
Secondly, enzymes are needed in different parts of the digestive tract, which ultimately means that you might want to aim for a broad range, including these ones:
- Amylase Thera-blend
- Beta Glucanase
- Cellulase Thera-blend
- L Acidophilus
- Lipase Thera-blend
- Protease Pectinase
2 - Enzyme Source
You can find digestive enzyme supplements with animal or plant-based enzymes, and I’m going to take a chance here and say that our research seems to have shown that plant sources might be better.
It seems like they tend to be easier on the stomach and the entire digestive system, and the majority of supplements we tested tend to focus on plant sources.
We’ll get to some natural sources shortly.
A common way to produce enzymes is through malting of grains or fermentation. You’ll often hear of dairy products like yogurt being rich in enzymes, but it seems like malted and fermented plants might be more effective.
3 - Other Helpful Ingredients
Your stomach and small intestines are heavily reliant on the help of enzymes to break down macronutrients. But some of your stomach issues might also be the result of an imbalance between the good and bad gut bacteria .
Enzymes might help remove the bad bacteria, but you may also want to consider a supplement that contains some pro and prebiotics.
These could play a more active role in rebalancing your gut flora and removing some of the problems related to cramps, bloating, and even diarrhea.
Digestive enzyme supplementation is highly recommended to people who experience recurring stomach pain, low immune system, or other enzyme deficiency symptoms.
4 - Artificial Ingredients
We always recommend that you avoid a digestive enzyme supplement with artificial substances added in. There is increasing evidence that chemical sweeteners and flavors might be causing serious damage to your digestive tract and gut flora .
“According to a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that six common artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration and 10 sport supplements that contained them were found to be toxic to the digestive gut microbes of mice.”
- Alexa Lardieri, Journalist at CNBC
However, we were totally surprised to see several supplements that came in powder form that was full of sweeteners and other chemicals that belong in a science lab, not your stomach.
Always check the label, especially if you’re buying something that is powdered or chewable. Most tablets don’t include fillers like this, but the taste is a common target for adding artificial stuff.
5 - Flavors
I totally get that not everyone likes swallowing tablets and that a supplement powder might be more convenient.
But you have to be careful when it comes to flavors. The nicest tasting ones are often full of sugars or artificial ingredients mentioned above.
Don’t be fooled into buying something just because it might taste great. That doesn’t mean getting something that requires you to pinch your nose, but natural flavors should be a priority.
Natural Enzyme-Rich Foods
I already mentioned that dietitians generally recommend plant-based enzymes, and here are six ways to get natural digestive enzymes into your gut.
1 - Pineapple
One of the key digestive enzymes to reduce inflammation is bromelain, and pineapples are the richest source of this enzyme. It also happens to be delicious, and if you have a regular fruit smoothie, then make sure you add some.
2 - Papaya
This tropical fruit is claimed to be rich in protease, which may play a key role in breaking down protein. It might also help you deal with constipation and other IBS or enzyme deficiency related issues.
3 - Mango
We’re on a tropical fruit roll here, but mangoes could help you get a good dose of amylase to help you better break down starchy materials. Complex carbs normally require a lot of digestion time, which a digestive enzyme like amylase could significantly reduce.
4 - Honey
The more natural the honey, the better, which means less processing and ideally from an organic source. It’s rich in protease and amylase to better process proteins and carbs.
5 - Bananas
While green bananas might be a richer source of fiber, nicely ripened ones contain two important enzymes called amylase and glucosidase. These break down starch into sugars, which is why ripe bananas taste sweeter.
“You can simply let nature take its course and ripen a banana over time. You can also try to speed things up by sticking the bunch in a paper bag to trap ethylene and hasten the production of amylase.”
- Stella Parks, Food Writer
6 - Avocados
Unlike other fruits, avocados are low in sugar and rich in healthy fat. To help you break down that fat more easily, they also contain a digestive enzyme called lipase.
When Should You Take Digestive Enzymes?
You should take digestive enzymes right before or while eating a meal. This might not be recommended for smaller meals, but if you take a single dose per day, it's better to take it with your main meal.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar as Good as Digestive Enzymes?
No, apple cider vinegar is not as good as digestive enzymes. The benefits are very different; ACV doesn’t deliver digestive enzymes to your stomach.
Is It Ok to Take Digestive Enzymes Every Day?
Yes, it’s OK to take digestive enzymes every day, but most people only need to take them occasionally. If you have more serious stomach issues, talk to your doctor before taking them long-term.
Do Digestive Enzymes Make You Poop?
No, digestive enzymes don’t make you poop. They may actually break down more of your food to be absorbed, resulting in less waste being passed through your system.
Can Digestive Enzymes Irritate the Stomach?
Yes, digestive enzymes can irritate the stomach in some cases. But there shouldn't be an issue for people who already suffer from common stomach issues. Most will actually be relieved of cramps and bloating.
The Best Digestive Enzyme Supplement Is
After testing about 50 of the apparently best digestive enzymes, we brought it all down to 1MD’s EnzymeMD.
It has 18 different enzymes that could improve your digestive health.
We also found that the majority of our clients preferred it, and many of them said that they were better able to deal with dairy products after taking it in just a week.
Order yours today and see how quickly it might be able to help you with common digestion issues.
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