What You Need to Know
If you’re having trouble choosing a digestive enzyme supplement, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
1) Consider which type of digestive enzyme you need
There are several types of common digestive enzymes:
- protease breaks down protein
- amylase digests starches
- lactase digests lactose, or milk sugar
- lipase plays a role in digesting fats
- alpha galactosidase breaks down the fibers in beans and other vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower that contain compounds that can cause gas in some people
To figure out which digestive enzyme you will benefit from, start keeping a food-symptom diary in which you write down what you eat and drink for a few days and record how you feel during each day. This log of your food and your body’s responses to what you consume can help you figure out which types of foods are causing your symptoms.
Also, seeking the advice of a registered dietitian or gut health doctor can help you determine your intolerances.
Once you know which foods bother your gut, you can make an informed choice of which digestive enzyme that may help reduce your symptoms.
2) Pick a Brand You Can Trust
It’s important to read the label of supplements to assure they contain ingredients that have proven effective through evidence-based research in fighting your symptoms.
3) Check Product Reviews for Possible Product Issues or Side Effects
Reading product reviews from outside resources which are not associated with the product’s company will help you see what consumers experiences from taking the supplement and some sources have forums where you can ask questions. These reviews can help you learn if there are any common side effects and if the product has a defect of any kind.
4) Check for Plant-based vs Animal-based Products
Digestive enzymes, depending on the enzyme, can come from either plant-based or animal-based sources. For those who follow a meatless diet, this information is especially important. However, outside of dietary preferences, some digestive enzyme supplements that come from animals like pig pancreases will need a special coating on them to survive stomach acids and make it to the small intestine. Therefore, in such products, you will need to look for such coatings to judge potential effectiveness of the product.
Digestive enzymes can help support digestion in those that may be lacking in certain enzymes, however, be sure to choose a product that is trustworthy, supported by many positive consumer reviews, and contains ingredients that are well-researched and bioavailable.