Digestive enzymes are proteins in the body that help digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Commercially produced digestive enzymes are derived from a plant source (Aspergillus niger) by fermentation. The enzyme is purified, concentrated, and vacuum dried in a temperature-controlled condition to preserve its activity.
- Alpha-galactosidase: Alpha d-galactosidase aids the digestion of certain complex sugars (carbohydrates) present in beans, whole grains, some vegetables, and fruits. Alpha d-galactosidase supplement may aid in preventing abdominal pain, diarrhea, excessive flatulence (gas), and bloating.1,2
- Amylase: Amylase helps the digestion of complex carbohydrates (such as starches from in breads, noodles, rice, etc.) to its smaller sugar components.
- Lactase (beta-d-galactosidase): Lactase enzyme breaks down lactose (milk sugar) into simple sugars (i.e., galactose and glucose) that can be absorbed. Lactase, therefore, aids in the digestion of dairy products and may aid individuals with lactose intolerance.3
- Lipase: Lipase helps the digestion of fats and oils in foods to its smaller components: fatty acids and glycerol. Lipase may aid in preventing diarrhea caused by malabsorption of fat (steatorrhea).3
- Protease: The proteases help the digestion of protein (found in meats, egg whites, milk, beans, legumes, or nuts) into smaller peptide fragments and liberate amino acids. Protease consists of three enzymes (pepsin, trypsin,and chymotrypsin) that are active at different pH ranges.
Major Health Benefits
Digestive enzymes play an important role in digestion by helping to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into smaller components that can be absorbed by the body.3 Enzyme supplementation may prevent abdominal pain, maldigestion, lactose intolerance, and diarrhea.3 Digestive enzymes may also work as an anti-inflammatory agent and stimulate immune response.4
Di Nardo G, Oliva S, Ferrari F, Mallardo S, Barbara G, Cremon C, Aloi M, Cucchiara S. Efficacy and tolerability of α-galactosidase in treating gas-related symptoms in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. BMC Gastroenterol. 2013 Sep 24;13:142. PMID: 24063420; PMCID: PMC3849317.
Patil AG, K PK, Mulimani VH, Veeranagouda Y, Lee K. alpha-Galactosidase from Bacillus megaterium VHM1 and its application in removal of flatulence-causing factors from soymilk. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Nov;20(11):1546-54. PMID: 21124061.
Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Dec;13(4):307-14. PMID: 19152478.
Stauder G. Pharmacological effects of oral enzyme combinations. Cas Lek Cesk. 1995 Oct 4;134(19):620-4. PMID: 7585874