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“Enzymes” Frequently Asked Questions

What are Enzymes?

Thursday, November 12th 2015

What are Enzymes?                         

Enzymes are biologically active proteins found in all living cells. Metabolic enzymes catalyse and regulate every biochemical reaction that occurs within the human body, making them essential for cellular function and overall health. Digestive enzymes turn the food we eat into energy which may be utilised by our body for various biological processes. Our bodies naturally produce both digestive and metabolic enzymes, as they are needed.

Why take Digestive Enzyme supplements?

Nearly one in three people in the U.S. experience some kind of digestive problem. ¹,²

Though many suffer, few have to. The typical benefits of enzymes supplementation include reduced digestive distress, increased energy and improved regularity.*

Soothe Digestive Distress:
When undigested foods travel through the intestines they can irritate and potentially damage the sensitive intestinal wall. Over time, this irritation may reduce our digestive capacity and negatively influence the vital absorption process.

Increase Energy:
According to Yuri Elkaim author of Eating for Energy, in most cases, up to 80% of our body’s vital energy is spent on digestion. ³
By aiding the breakdown and absorption of foods, you can free up enormous amounts of energy, increasing physical vitality and enhancing energy levels.*

Promoting Regularity:
Promoting proper digestion may encourage a healthy intestinal environment, and help relieve occasional constipation and irregularity*.

¹Common GI Problems: Volume 1. “The American College of Gastroenterology. The American College of Gastroenterology, n.d. Web. 30 Jul. 2010 (>.

²U.S. Census Bureau (2010). Data Finders: Population Clocks. Retrieved October 28, 2010. ,

³Elkaim, Yuri. “Health Benefits of Fasting.” Eating for Energy Blog. Yuri Elkaim, 22 Oct 2009. Web. 2 Aug 2010.

What types of Enzyme supplements are available?

Plant Based Enzymes are the most popular choice of supplemental enzymes. They are grown in a laboratory setting and extracted from certain types of fungal, bacterial or microbial sources.

Plant Enzymes consist of bromelain and papain. Bromelain is a proteolytic (breaks down protein) and milk-clotting enzyme derived from the pineapple stem. A concentrate of this enzyme can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, a meat tenderiser and in the chill-proofing of beer. Like pepsin and papain, bromelain has an optimal temperature higher than normal body temperature. There is always greater heat at the site of inflammation than any other part of the body. Papain is an enzyme derived from the latex of papaya. This enzyme becomes active in an environment of 6.0 – 8.0 pH. Like bromelain, it supports the body’s recovery from over exertion or minor injury.

Glandular/Animal: Chymotrypsin, pancreatin, pepsin and trypsin are enzymes from the pancreas, stomach and small intestine derived from animal glands and organs. These enzymes require an alkaline pH level of 8.0 to become active. They provide support for glands and can assist circulation.

What side effects should I expect from the use of supplemental enzymes?

Enzymes typically have positive effects such as increased energy and relief from digestive complaints. “Few negative effects are reported. A very small percentage of people have reported upset stomach and soft stool (more frequent and softer bowel movements) when first beginning to take a higher-potency digestive enzyme supplement. As with an adverse effect, discontinue use and consult a health care practitioner.

How quickly will I feel results with the use of enzyme supplements?

Some individuals insist that the effects of digestive enzymes can be felt more quickly than other nutritional products. The typical experience allows the consumer to make an educated decision on the continuing use of a particular product within just a few days to a few weeks because of the speed of results with enzymes.

Is it possible to take too many enzymes?

Supplemental enzymes perform very specific activities (amylase breaks down carbohydrates, lipase breaks down fats, protease breaks down protein). Unlike certain vitamins, minerals and herbs, there is no upper limit (or threshold) to the amount of supplemental enzymes that can be consumed. The reason for this is that the body has an estimated 100 trillion cells. Any one of those cells could be using thousands of different enzymes every second. This allows for huge quantities to be used by the body without overdosing.

Do supplemental enzymes stop the body from producing its own enzymes? What about becoming dependent on enzymes?

Supplemental enzymes support normal body organ function without replacing its effective working ability. We like to compare it to a raw food diet that is rich in enzymes. No one suggests eating raw food would inhibit the body’s natural production of digestive enzymes. The fact is the body will continue to manufacture the enzymes needed to benefit from food; supplement digestive enzymes simply aid the digestive process.

Are enzyme supplements safe to consume with prescription drugs (contraindicated)?

We believe our supplemental enzymes, as they are naturally occurring in nature, are among the safest nutritional supplements available. With a lack of conclusive scientific evidence, we recommend consulting a physician before combining or replacing prescription drugs with supplemental enzyme products.

Are these products safe for everyone?

Enzymedica has formulated products specifically for children, adults and even pets. In addition, Enzymedica’s Digest can be taken by both children and adults. Because of its unique herbal blend, Acid Soothe may not be appropriate for the special nutritional considerations of new and expecting mothers. Until more research is completed, we do not recommend Acid Soothe for pregnant or lactating mothers or children under three years of age.

Why are plant-based enzymes considered the ideal enzyme source?

Approximately 80% of the enzyme supplements sold in health food stores today are plant-based. The other 20% is made up of glandular/animal – based (such as pancreatin, trypsin and chymotrypsin), and plant (bromelain and papain). It is important to understand that the assays used to measure activities of each of these ingredients are different. Do not try to compare the active units (the measurement used to determine how much protein, fat or carbohydrates an enzyme can break down in a matter of minutes) of a plant or glandular enzyme with a plant based enzyme. Specific assays are designed to test for different sources of enzymes.

What should I look for when reading labels?

Avoid fillers such as magnesium stearate, apple pectin and rice starch. Looking at the label of a high quality enzyme product, you will find measurement units you may not be familiar with. With most supplements, we are used to comparing products based on weight. However, with enzymes we are interested in the activity and potency available. It is important to recognise that there is no direct relationship between weight and enzyme activity.

Typical units of measurement include testing methods established by the Food Chemical Codex (FCC). The FCC is published by the National Academy Press and is the accepted standard of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The system for the determining enzyme potency used by the American food industry is derived from the FCC. This is the only national Standard for evaluation for plant-based enzymes. This system establishes activity levels and potency for enzymes. Where FCC testing methods do not apply, validated industry based assays are used for laboratory analysis.

Industry Standards for Plant and Plant-Based Enzymes.

When comparing enzyme products make sure enzyme activities are measured using units such as there:
1. Alpha-Galactosidase – GALU (Galactosidase Units)
2. Amylase – DU (Dextrinizing Units)
3. Bromelain – GDU (Gelatin Digesting Units) or FCCPU
4. Catalase – Baker Units (Named after the Author)
5. Cellulase – CU (Cellulase Unit)
6. Glucoamylase – AMU (Amyloglucosidase Units)
7. Hemicellulase – HCU (Hemicellulase Units)
8. Invertase – INVU (Invertase Activity Units) or SU (Sumner Units)
9. Lactase – ALU (Acid Lactase Unit)
10. Lipase – FCCFIP (Federation Internationale Pharmceutique)
11. Maltase – DP (Degrees of Diastatic Power)
12. Nattokinase – FU (Fibrinolytic Units)
13. Pectinase – Endo-PGU (Endo-Polygalacturonase Units)
14. Phytase – FTU (Phytase Units)
15. Protease – HUT (Hemoglobin Unit on a L-Tyrosine Basis)
16. Xylanase – XU (Xylanase Units)

Are Enzymedica’s products organic (or certified organic)

Enzymedica take great pride in producing safe and effective high quality supplemental enzyme products. Our enzymes come from organic sources that have not come into contact with any pesticides or preservatives however, they are not considered “certified organic”.

Are supplemental enzymes destroyed by stomach acid?

Plant based enzymes tolerate stomach acid well. Enzymedica’s Thera-blend™ plant based enzymes were formulated to perform in a wide pH range including acidic and alkaline environments.

Why do none of your products contact HCI (Hydrochloric Acid)?

Enzymedica developed a Thera-blend™ process for four main types of enzymes – protease, amylase, lipase and cellulose. Thera-blending allows these enzymes to work across the board in the pH range 2-12. Whether the person is acidic or alkaline, every range of the human body with or without HCI, Thera-blend™ enzymes are active.

Which Enzymedica products are best for heartburn or acid reflux?

A combination of a digestive enzymes before the meal (typically Digest™) and Acid Soothe™ after the meal to soothe symptoms associated with acid reflux (heartburn).* Acid Soothe may also be taken as needed.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Sourced from Enzymedica 10-5-2011. Original document sourced from Natural Meds.

Here at HealthyOnline, we stock the Enzymedica range. You can view this range here.

If you need any help choosing the right Enzymedica product for you, please contact us and we will be happy to help. 


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