January 30, 2017
You're sore. Maybe it was the heavy squats. The long run. The ungodly number of pull-ups you cranked out. Or just…life.
So you open the refrigerator.
Now you're digging around for something, *anything* to knock out the soreness.
And you happen upon that bottle of digestive enzymes you rarely use. You look at the label.
Protease this. Amylase that. HUT. SAPU. FIP. Whatever the heck those mean.
You shrug and walk way, in search of a foam roller.
But what would've happened had you popped a few of those enzymes? You'd be surprised at what could have happened when it comes to the potential for massive amplification of muscle recovery. And you'd also be surprised at what else you probably don't know about digestive enzymes.
Prepare to take a deep dive in the world of digestive enzymes, which digestive enzymes your body needs, how digestive enzymes can be used for far more than just digesting a steak, three cool digestive enzyme biohacks, how to choose a digestive enzyme, and much more.
Let's do this.
The 13 Digestive Enzymes Your Body Needs (And How Digestive Enzymes Work)
First, if you need a really comprehensive review of what digestive enzymes are and how digestive enzymes actually work, then you need to listen to my recent podcast episode entitled “Probiotic Enemas, Digestive Enzyme Myths, Breathing 10 Kilograms of Oxygen, Low-Protein Diets & More“. In that podcast, I interview biohacker Matt Gallant and bodybuilder Wade Lightheart about their probiotic and digestive enzyme blends, and they reveal plenty of interesting facts that I didn't know about both probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Basically, the role of digestive enzymes is to act as catalysts in speeding up specific chemical reactions in your body – primarily by helping to break down larger molecules into smaller particles that the body can better absorb.
The duodenum of your small intestine is where amino acids are extracted from proteins, fatty acids and cholesterol are extracted from fats, and simple sugars are extracted from carbohydrates. All macronutrients are broken down into molecules small enough to be carried in the bloodstream, and micronutrients (if they haven’t already been cleaved in your stomach acid) are also released and transported into the bloodstream.
Each digestive enzyme and digestive compound secreted by your gut and other organs such as the pancreas have a specific role. You might be surprised to know that there are a relatively large number of digestive enzymes. Below are 13 of the most crucial digestive enzymes you should know about.
This is the enzyme that helps to break down legume starch, reducing the formation of gas from foods like beans and hummus. If you are getting extremely bad gas after eating just a small amount of these foods, it could be because you are short in the enzyme alpha-galactosidase.
Amylase is the enzyme that is necessary for the breakdown of starches such as bread, rice and other carbohydrates. If you are getting very gassy and bloated after consuming these type off foods, you can get past this by supplementing with amylase.
Cellulase is the enzyme that is used to break down and digest cellulose, which is found in dietary fiber rich foods such as plants – but also fruits, grains and seeds. If you start increasing your dietary fiber intake or adding more fresh produce to your diet, you’ll soon become aware if you aren’t getting enough cellulase as gas, bloating, and irregular bowel movements are all signs that you could be suffering from a lack of cellulase.
When you think of sugar rich foods, what do you think of? Candy? Cake? Cookies? Most people do think of these traditional food items. And while it’s true that all of these do contain high amounts of sugar, they aren’t the only sources of sugar in the diet. Sugar can also be found in grains that you consume, especially refined grains such as white rice or white bread. It’s glucoamylase that helps to break down the sugar found in these foods, reducing the chances that you begin to experience digestive distress in response to these foods, even if you're producing plenty of the other starch-digesting enzyme amylase.
Sucrose is another form of sugar found in certain foods, and in most modern foods, is usually derived from sugar cane. It’s another simple sugar in the diet that breaks down rapidly, but those who do not maintain high enough levels of invertase in their digestive tract are more likely to experience gas and bloating after consuming foods rich in sucrose.
In an ideal dietary situation, you would think you would consume very little sucrose and thus would need very low levels of invertase, but even healthy, natural foods such as mangos, peaches, beets, dates and sweet peas contain sucrose.
You're probably already familiar with the enzyme lactase the lactose-digesting enzyme – lactose being a sugar that’s found naturally occurring in dairy products. One thing that most people don’t realize is just how high dairy products can be in lactose sugar. For example, an average glass of milk contains nearly 10 grams of lactose sugar per serving.
Lactase is necessary for the breakdown of any sugars found in dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese. If you’ve ever heard someone say they are lactose intolerant, what this really means is they don’t possess enough of the digestive enzyme lactase to deal with all the lactose that they are consuming. As a result, they face issues such as gas, bloating, and digestive distress after eating dairy rich foods.
Lipase, as you may have guessed, is the digestive enzyme that breaks down the lipids (fats) that you eat. If you do not have enough lipase in your digestive tract, you may find that you get a less than pleasant reaction from consuming high fat foods. You get heart-burn, indigestion, bloating, fatty stools, and you could also experience diarrhea.
Protease is the digestive enzyme that is utilized to help with the breakdown of protein rich foods. If you’ve ever been around someone who is on a high protein diet, you may have noticed that they suffer from gas like you’ve never smelled before. Certain high protein rich foods tend to be especially bad offenders, such as whey protein powder and eggs. If you or someone else you know is eating a high amount of these, chances are, they are relatively smelly to be around. Maintaining high enough levels of alkaline, neutral, and acid based proteases will help you avoid those dreaded protein farts.
Xylanase is a digestive enzyme that, similar to cellulase, can help with the breakdown of plant fibers, so it is an especially important digestive enzyme for anyone who consuming a high amount of fresh, raw fruits and/or vegetables. It will work in combination with cellulase to break down these foods in the body and ensure that you are able to eat produce without problems.
Peptidase is a digestive enzyme that is responsible for helping with the breakdown of casein in milk and protein powder, and can also help with the breakdown of gluten. If you feel like you have a gluten intolerance, it may be worthwhile to look into supplementation with this enzyme. This said, do note that it’s not a cure for those who are suffering from celiac disease.
Pectin is a particular type of dietary fiber commonly found in certain fruits. For instance, apples are rich in pectin, and pectin actually the type of fiber in produce that helps considerably with appetite control. It's also why you might find that after you eat something like an apple, your appetite is lowered for a few hours and this is largely thanks to the inclusion of pectin. But if instead you find that you feel bloated and have an upset stomach, it could be that you don’t have enough pectinase in your gut.
Another enzyme that’s responsible for the breakdown of plant fibers is hemicellulose. This enzyme helps break down the cell wall in plant fibers, enabling your body to be able utilize the nutrients found in the plants, and then excrete the rest through the bowels.
Phytase is a digestive enzyme that plays a primary role in the body to assist with freeing up the minerals that are bound to phytic acid in plants. Without this digestive enzyme, you may absorb the minerals that so many plants have to offer, which can then lead to mineral deficiency.
While you can get all digestive enzymes naturally from eating certain foods such as pineapples, red meat, and papayas, the problem is you’ll be hard pressed to get all of these digestive enzymes with foods alone. This is why both our ancestors and many modern nutrition enthusiasts use pre-food digestifs such as liquors, lemon juice, bitters, ginger, fennel, licorice and other compounds that can both provide enzymes and also assist with your own enzymatic production.
To get the full benefits of any of these 13 different digestive enzymes, you want to take a full spectrum digestive enzyme complex anywhere from 30 minutes to immediately prior to a meal (and you'll also get plenty of benefits if you pop them directly after a meal in case you forget to take them before). This becomes all the more important as you age. According to enzyme expert Dr. Edward Howell in his book “Enzyme Nutrition“, the average human loses 70% of their enzyme reserves by the time they’ve reached 40 years of age (in that book, he also states that lifespan is directly proportional to the rate of exhaustion of enzymes in the body).
But the benefits of maintaining adequate levels of digestive enzymes goes far beyond simply enhancing your absorption of nutrients and minerals from food or avoiding things like carb and protein farts. Let's take a look at another little known benefit of digest enzymes: recovery.
How Digestive Enzymes Help You Recover Faster
Although facilitating digestion is what most enzyme supplements are known for, a specific class of enzymes called “proteolytic enzymes” can not only be used to help digest protein in your meals, but can also be used to help reduce pain and inflammation and to support tissue healing. Many studies, as well as preliminary clinical trials, has shown that these can actually be quite helpful, particularly for pain associated with exercise-related muscle soreness and recovery, sinus, or dental complaints.
For example, in an Annals of The NY Academy Of Science article found in the excellent book “Enzymes & Enzyme Therapy“, author Anthony Cichoke highlights how recovery from sprains and strains can decrease from eight weeks of inactivity to an impressive two weeks of inactivity with the consumption of enzymes.
Another study entitled “Protease supplementation improves muscle function after eccentric exercise” looked into the use of protease supplementation to reduce the damaging effects of eccentric exercise and accelerate recovery of muscle function, possibly by regulating inflammation.
In this study, subjects performed weight training via extension/flexion of the quadriceps muscle group. They were randomly assigned to consume 5.83 g daily of either a cellulose placebo or a proteolytic supplement containing fungal proteases, bromelain, and papain. They trained for 21 days. After the supplementation period, subjects donated blood samples before performing a 45-min downhill treadmill protocol at 60% of VO2max. Significant group differences were observed for peak torque at flexion, indicating higher force production in the protease group.
Significant interactions were also observed when it came to elevations in circulating eosinophils and basophils in the protease group, which coincides with lower levels of inflammatory markers such as serum cyclooxygenase 2, interleukin 6, and interleukin 12. The researchers concluded that protease supplementation seems to attenuate muscle strength losses after eccentric exercise by regulating leukocyte activity and inflammation.
In another study entitled “Effects of a protease supplement on eccentric exercise-induced markers of delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage“, researchers examined the effects of a protease supplement on selected markers of muscle damage and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The study used a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Twenty men were randomly assigned to either an enzyme supplement group or a placebo group.
All subjects were tested for unilateral isometric forearm flexion strength, hanging joint angle, relaxed arm circumference, subjective pain rating, and plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration. During these tests, the subjects in the supplement group ingested a protease supplement and subjects in the placebo group took microcrystalline cellulose. After testing and 2 weeks of rest, the subjects were crossed over into the opposite group and performed the same tests as during their first visits, but with the opposite limb.
Overall, isometric forearm flexion strength was much greater (7.6%) for the supplement group than for the placebo group. These findings provided initial evidence that the protease supplement may be useful for reducing strength loss immediately after eccentric exercise and for aiding in short-term strength recovery.
Perhaps even more impressive was the study “Double-Blind Clinical Study Using Certain Proteolytic Enzymes Mixtures In Karate Fighters”, which was published in Enzymes Enzyme Therapy and showed mind blowing improvements after the use of digestive enzymes for athletic injuries and subsequent recovery, including:
-Hemotoma: recovery time decreased from 15.6 days to 6.6 days
-Swelling: recovery time decreased from 10 days to 4 days
-Restriction of movement: recovery time decreased from 12.6 days to 5 days
-Inflammation :recovery time decreased from 10.5 days to 3.8 days
-Unfit for training: recovery time decreased from 10.2 days to 4.2 days
In the study “Therapy Of Ankles Join Distortions With Hydrolytic Enzymes; Results Of Double-Blind Clinical Trials“, Dr. Baumuller used enzymes in a double blind study for ankle related injuries and found people could recover up to 50% faster.
In another study entitled “Traumatic Injury In Athletes”, in the International Rec. Medicine, Dr. Lichtmann treated boxers and found that with the use of enzymes, he could drop black eyes from 10 to 14 days of recovery to 1 to 3 days.
These whole system effects of digestive enzymes show that enzymes don't just work on your gut. They work on your muscles and inflammatory markers too.
So those same enzymes you have in your fridge that might help with digestion can also be used pre or post workout. Here are the “best practices” for using enzymes for recovery:
- Take enzymes as early as possible in the day.
- Take a higher dosage (this would be 5 to 15 capsules vs. the typical 2 to 5 capsules you'd take before a meal) on an empty stomach, so that they don't have food to “work on”.
To read up more on the systemic effect of enzymes, check out the book: Food, Enzymes, Health & Longevity by Dr. Edward Howell.
3 Little Known Digestive Enzyme Biohacks
Now That you know how to use digestive enzymes for getting your food to digest better and for healing injuries or helping muscles to recover faster let's move on to a few quite useful and cool digestive enzyme “hacks”.
Cool Digestive Enzyme Hack #1: Predigest Your Protein Shakes
This first digestive enzyme hack allows you to crank your muscle gains to new heights by flooding your muscles with a maximum amount of amino acids without actually increasing your protein intake by a single gram.
To do it, just drop a handful of digestive enzyme capsules into a blender, along with your protein powder and anything else you like to put in a protein shake (here's my own personal morning smoothie recipe) and sip away. The protein powder gets broken down into amino acids and repairs tissue far, far faster this way.
The study “protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise” looked into the potential of protein ingestion to modulate protein synthesis during exercise. Subjects participated in two experiments in which they ingested either carbohydrate or carbohydrate with protein during a two hour resistance exercise session. Protein coingestion lowered whole body protein breakdown rates up to 12% compared with the ingestion of carbohydrate only, and augmented protein oxidation and synthesis rates by 77% and 33%, respectively. As a consequence, whole body net protein balance was negative in the carbohydrate group, whereas a positive net balance was achieved after the carbohydrate and protein treatment. This study proved that, even in a fed state, protein coingestion stimulates whole body and muscle protein synthesis rates – especially during resistance-type exercise.
So based on this, we know that the intake of protein vastly improves muscle protein synthesis, and based on the study “digestive enzymes reduce quality differences between plant and animal proteins: a double-blind crossover study“, it turns out that when you consume digestive enzymes along with your protein powder you get a very impressive result that enhances protein synthesis and amino acid availability even more.
This study sought to investigate if co-ingestion of a plant protein specific digestive enzyme blend that contained enzymes such as protease, peptidase, bromelain and alpha-galactosidase, could reduce the significant differences in amino acid appearance in the blood between plant proteins like hemp, rice and pea based protein powders and animal proteins like whey or casein protein powder. It turned out that co-ingestion of a plant protein specific digestive enzyme blend and a pea/rice protein blend increases time to peak, peak concentrations, and amount of amino acid appearance in the blood in comparison to pea/rice protein alone, and reduces previously significant differences between whey protein and plant protein powders!
Cool Digestive Enzyme Hack #2: Predigest Your Steaks
Break open two capsules of digestive enzymes and spread on a piece of meat and leave for 60 to 90 minutes. This softens the meat. You can actually click here to watch enzymes break down a piece of steak right before your eyes. The video on that page shows a digestive enzyme complex called “Masszymes” literally turning a huge chunk of beef into a pool of amino acids.
So how does this work, exactly?
Raw fruits like papaya, kiwifruit, pineapple, fig and mango contain enzymes that can be actually be used to tenderize meat before cooking because they contain enzymes that break down proteins. These fruits all contain a type of enzyme called a protease.
As you probably know, marinades are usually added to meats such as beef, chicken or pork before cooking, and marinades have two main roles: they add flavor, but they also tenderize the meat, making it softer and less chewy. Marinades are a mixture of ingredients that can include acids (typically vinegar, lemon juice or wine), oils, herbs, spices, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and often many of these compounds contain naturally occurring amounts of enzymes.
Warning: if left too long on the meat, enzymes are so powerful that they can completely digest the meat.
Cool Digestive Enzyme Hack #3: Digestive Enzyme Enemas
Of course, no article on biohacking would be complete without mentioning sticking stuff up your butt.
Matt Gallant, who I interview in this podcast episode on digestive enzymes and probiotics, is an entrepreneur, a poker champion, an ex-rock guitarist, a strength and conditioning coach with a degree in kinesiology, and the CEO of a company called BiOptimizers (they produce digestive enzymes), and a guy who send me e-mails like this:
“Subject line: probiotic enema
Break open a handful of capsules and ferment in coconut water…reaches peak power around 4-5 hours of fermentation. However you live in a cooler climate so it might take longer. You can drink it, and if it’s still sweet then you can go longer. When it starts to become a bit acidic, that’s when it is at it’s peak. For enema, retention time should be 15-20 minutes. I like doing the Batman enema. I’ll go upside down with the Om Swing so it really works it’s way down. I tend to do this after two days of fasting so it really takes care of old bad bacteria…”
Since Matt wrote me prior to that podcast, I've actually been doing this once a month I amand I've even thrown in along with four probiotic capsules and four digestive enzyme capsules a few extra butyric acid capsules (four of them too) to enhance the effectiveness of the probiotics on the enzymes. It's kind of like a DIY version of fecal transplant therapy. Interestingly, the most dramatic thing that I notice is a big boost in mood, similar to a people report when using these infamous poop pills. If you want to read up more on the systemic health effects of enemas and enzymes, you can check out this article and also this article.
How To Choose A Digestive Enzyme
I’m always stunned when I see digestive enzyme supplements advertised that list the amount of enzymes only in milligrams (mg). Sure, the FDA only requires that metric weight be listed on enzyme supplements, but this doesn't tell you anything about the potency of the enzymes you're buying.
So, when you are choosing a digestive enzyme, you want to be sure to choose a supplement that lists more than just the milligram amount of enzymes, and specifically also compare the units of activity to the price. For example, some digestive enzyme supplements may have a lower price, but when you compare something called the “activity units” you may need to take three or four or more capsules of that less expensive product to equal the enzyme activity in one capsule of a competitor product with a higher amount of activity units.
Another thing to think about when choosing a digestive enzyme is the number of fillers that the product contains. For example, many supplement products contain magnesium stearate, silica, rice bran, etc. – all of which can prevent caking or clumping. But when consumed in high amounts, such as you would probably be doing if you're using a digestive enzyme before each meal using the amounts recommended in this article for muscle recovery or injury, all these fillers can gradually accumulate in your body or lead to digestive distress or both.
Finally, actual stability is crucial, because enzymes are most effective when they're active in the broad pH range of your digestive tract – and this requires that a digestive enzyme operate efficiently across a wide range of acidities. This means that the enzymes are rocking and rolling at every stage of digestion, not just, say, in the upper part of the small intestine, or only in the middle or lower part, etc.
When you investigate the labels of digestive enzyme products, you will often find measurement units you may not be familiar with. These measurement units are derived from something called the Food Chemical Codex (FCC). The FCC is published by the National Academy Press and is the accepted measurement unit standard of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FCC establishes activity levels and potency for digestive enzymes and the entire system for determining enzyme potency used by the American supplement industry is derived from the FCC.
So while most food comparisons are based on weight (e.g. the vitamin C in x grams of tomato vs. the vitamin C in x grams of olives), with enzymes the key measurements are the “unit of activity” and “potency”. There is actually no direct relationship between weight and units of activity. Be very beware when a product only lists the amount of digestive enzymes in milligrams or mg. This doesn't tell you diddly-squat about the actual activity level of the enzymes.
The enzyme activity of digestive enzyme supplements should be measured and reported in FCC units. These unit measurements are usually expressed as follows:
Protease – HUT (Hemoglobin Unit Tyrosine base), USP (1 HUT = approx. 6.5 USP)
Amylase – DU (Alpha-amylase Dextrinizing units)
Lipase – FIP, LU, FCCLU
Cellulase – CU (Cellulase unit)
Invertase – IAU (Invertase Activity unit)
Lactase – LacU (Lactase unit)
Maltase – DP (degrees Diastatic power)
When comparing digestive enzyme products, you should make sure measurements are listed using these FCC standard codes and make sure you're actually getting a high amount of the actual enzymes you're paying for. The only exceptions to digestive enzymes being measured in active units rather than weight in milligrams (mg) are the enzymes seaprose and superoxide dismutase, which are measured in milligrams.
Any label that doesn’t give you active units doesn’t give you an accurate or true measure of the ingredient’s potency. For example, check out this label of a digestive enzyme sold on Amazon:
As you can see, everything on the label is listed in milligrams!
This label tells you absolutely nothing about the efficacy of this enzyme, whether you're getting your money's worth, or any othe important details about enzyme potency. I'd stay far away from a supplement like this.
Now, let's look at another digestive enzyme example. The nutrition label below shows an extremely popular digestive enzyme supplement made by NOW Foods. It contains 200mg of a “pancreatin blend”. And you now know that this tells you nothing. But below that, you can see it includes 20,000 USP units of Protease, which, from the info above, is the equivalent of (1 HUT = approx. 6.5 USP), or around 3100 HUT of protease.
It has 2400GDU of bromelain, which is usually measured in either MCUs (milk clotting units) or GDUs (gelatin dissolving units). One GDU equals approximately 1.5 MCU. Strong products contain at least 2,000 MCU (1,200 to 1,333 GDU) per gram (1,000 mg). A supplement containing 500 mg labeled 2,000 MCU per gram would have 1,000 MCU of activity.
Those are just a couple examples. So while it isn't a super strong enzyme per se in terms of strength or diversity, this also isn't a “bad” digestive enzyme complex (although seeing the calcium carbonate, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate and tablet coating gives me pause).
Next, take a look at the label below, which is the label of the Masszymes digestive enzyme complex I've mentioned already a few times in this article (and that several previous podcast guests and strength and conditioning legends such as Vince Del Monte and Elliot Hulse use):
Now, compare this Masszymes label above to the digestive enzyme supplement label, and especially note the mathematical contrast in strength and diversity.
See the difference?
One big thing to note, especially if you're a hard-charging exercise enthusiast, is the difference in protease levels. Why?
Proteases break down protein into absorbable, anabolic amino acids, which are what your muscles require for recovery and growth. It doesn’t matter if you’re consuming 30 grams of protein or 300 grams of protein – if you don’t have a sufficient supply of enzymes to digest the protein, your muscles will be deficient in amino acids.
This is why a digestive enzyme formula should various proteases that work at different pH levels (the ability to work at different pH levels ensures that the protein gets broken down into amino acids at every stage of digestion).
In other words, protease is king for a hard training athlete because you need a high amount of amino acids for your muscles to recover and grow from tough workouts.
However, protease is also the most expensive enzyme to produce, and there are several kinds of protease enzymes. This is why most digestive enzymes formulations are stuffed with cheap amylase (digests carbohydrates) and low quality lipase (digests fats), while the protease in most products tends to be low in both quality and quantity.
But some enzymes, like the Masszymes one pictured above, jams as much protease as possible inside each capsule, specifically using five different kinds of the strongest proteases. As you can see, that specific formula contains 85,000 HUTs of protease per capsule and I haven't been able to find a single enzyme formula on the market that can compare (I literally looked at every enzyme label I could find and they all came up short). This makes it expensive to produce, but really darn efficacious for the type of recovery hacking you learned about earlier.
Congratulations, you now know what a digestive enzyme is, how digestive enzymes work, and how to decode the average digestive enzyme nutrition label. You also know a few cool biohacks you can use with your digestive enzymes, and how to take them for workout recovery or for injuries.
Are you taking over 100 grams of protein per day… from shakes, supplements, and food…but you're not making the gains you expect?
Do you ever feel bloated, gassy, and maybe even get the runs after downing a protein shake?
Do you want to increase the useable amount of protein in your body? I'm talking about protein that enters into your bloodstream and helps grow bigger, stronger muscle fibers.
Maybe you've been feeling “backed up” since upping the protein in your diet?
Maybe you want to knock out the soreness with something new?
Then digestive enzymes can make a big difference for you. I use them and I recommend enzymes because, frankly, I can only eat so many pineapples and papayas before I begin mainlining fructose into my bloodstream. And I'm a big believer in better living through science.
Masszymes, the product I recommend above, was developed by my friend and fellow biohacker Matt Gallant (along with vegetarian bodybuilder Wade Lightheart), and is a medical-grade enzyme formulation that was specifically formulated to be high in protease (the enzymes responsible for protein digestion and absorption), a critical consideration for most athletes and active individuals. In fact, to my knowledge Masszymes contains more proteolytic enzymes than any other digestive enzyme on the market. This makes it the strongest proteolytic enzyme formulation on the market today. At 85,000 HUTs, it contains more protease per capsule than any other formula. And their full spectrum enzymes work at a PH range between 2 and 12, which is critical to maximize digestion in the human gut.
The enzymes in Masszymes aren't just limited to protein digesting enzymes though. They've also packed each capsule with amylase (the enzyme responsible for digesting carbohydrates), lipase (digests fats), and range of the other enzymes you've discovered above that help with digestion, recovery and injuries. These enzymes are created using a 6-week cultivation process and each batch is rigorously tested to meet specific criteria for digestive enzyme quality I've highlighted above.
Below you can see what a bottle of Masszymes looks like (and you can click here to learn more about how to use these to vastly increase the bioavailability of the protein you eat, to enhance recovery from workouts and injuries, and to get a huge savings on one of the most powerful digestive enzyme supplements that exists):
How about you? Do you have any experiences with digestive enzymes? What difference did you find it made when you added these products to your diet plan? Leave your questions, comments and feedback below and I'll reply, and click here if you want to try the Masszymes digestive enzymes product at a savings of over 35% per capsule.
41 thoughts on “The 13 Digestive Enzymes Your Body Needs, 3 Digestive Enzymes Hacks & What To Look For On Digestive Enzyme Labels.”
Greetings Ben and Wade,
I’m very interested in the digestive enzymes and possibly even the digestive stack, because Ive been experiencing UPPER GI bloating for a long time. I’ve seen GI’s, and I’ve done LowFODMAP, gluten free, taken diflucan, etc. I don’t have SIBO according to 3 breath tests, no H Pylori….They call it atypical reflux….maybe a hietal hernia….Just diagnoses by exclusion. Ive taken VLS3, and now taking SEED as probiotics. Ive taken all kinds of enzymes and betaine HCL as well….but still nothing seems to have done the trick. I’m a devotee of Ben…Im going through Boundless right now…and frankly, Im a bit overwhelmed by the optionality in terms of modalities, nutritional choices, etc. I just ordered my Apollo, thinking about Joov, bought a PEMF device…and grounding sheets, and about to choose an infrared sauna. So, back to this expensive stack of digestive enzymes and probiotics. Here’s my dilemma. By taking them, I can’t tell one from the other. I’ve never been able to compare by sampling any supplements, herbs, etc. So, that method doesn’t work for me. If it weren’t for Ben, I wouldn’t even be aware of these products. That said, I also know everything is a business. So, bottom line. What hard facts can you provide me to help me make this choice? How do I know what the assay is on these products? How do I know where they are manufactured? If you said that they were designed by a braintrust of Rhonda Patrick, David Sinclair, and Peter Attia, that would help. So, I need something that is objective and verifiable to help this process with your product line. Im amazed that people will inject themselves with peptides from any number of companies without seeing independent batch testing, etc. But Im just trying to be prudent and stay objective. Please advise. Also, it seems like this product is pitched for people who take alot of protein. I work out normally. Im not a heavy lifting, heavy ‘protein-ing” kind of guy. I want to get rid of this Upper GI bloating.
Great article Thank you.
I was hoping to get your take on Medizyne by 1md. The enzyme list on the back is extensive but gives no info on how much you are getting of each. This product is currently getting # 1 reviews
I am a 78 year old senior woman. In the past year, I have been very inactive, due to pain. Prior to this year, I had been a walker, even power walking. I have been reading about proteolytic enzymes and its impact on pain relief. Would this formula be appropriate for me or might it be too strong for my needs. I don’t have any particular Illness and I take no prescription drugs.
I am interested in Proteolytic Enzymes supporting – Improved Energy and Digestion
Hi. My Dad has ALS. He has to eat a lot of protein and calories. He is also experiencing constipation issues. Do you have any experience with ALS patients? When he can no longer swallow a pill is there another option…liquid formula? Do you think your product will be ok for someone who’s trying to keep weight on? Weight loss is a big problem with ALS so we don’t want him to lose weight. Thank you.
We don’t have direct experience with ALS.
What I can say is using MassZymes inside of a shake will improve bioavailability significantly.
We’ve also just released a new digestive aid for constipation called Consti-Cleanse. Visit www.bioptimizers.com to learn more.
Looking forward to learning more about your lowcarb/fitness tips.
I do not work out the most I do is walking. I have fibromyalgia, I did the gastric emptying test and my stomach empties at 7%. I need help with digestion, is this the right product for me, I am always bloated and have the feeling of being full all the time. Thanks for your input
Absolutely, first get approval from your doctor that their will be no complications. You can also seek out the professional opinion of a naturopathic doctor who is more knowledgeable in nutritional supplementation. Here are a few directories that may help you find a good one in your area:
• FunctionalMedicine.org – Find a Practitioner, including MDs, DC, ND, etc.
• aihm.org/find – to find an integrative health practitioner
• acatoday.org – for a good chiropractor – Use their "Find a Doctor" tool to use their directory
• Naturopathic.org – Use their "Find a Doctor" tool to use their directory
• Undoctoredhealth.com – A good, relatively new directory of trusted practitioners
• HealthProfs.com – Another decent directory
• PrimalDocs.com – Good docs who treat based on an ancestral medicine approach
• PaleoPhysiciansNetwork.com – Paleo "friendly" physicians
How do these compare to the VitalzymXE that Elle Russ recommends
Would you recommend the MassZymes and P3-OM or the VitalZym XE that Elle Russ uses? What are the differences?
Two different ways to skin the cat in a way and the way that I approach things like this is I experiment with what works for me so you may want to just cycle through a bottle of each.
Hi Ben and Wade,
When you say an empty stomach does coffee and MCT oil negate their beneficial properties?
How do you feel about doing a coffee enema with just the enzymes, but not the probiotics? I have SIBO, and have tried enemas with probiotics but I blow up. So wondering if its’ ok to just do the enzymes instead.
Totally fine to do that!
Thank you Ben !
Have you ever come across “WOBENZYM”.
Around 2005-6 was introduced to it by my (like minded) Dentist. It has been the most notable and most EFFECTIVE, “natural” product I HAVE EVER USED.
Even though I grew up in Europe, bordering Germany, I had never heard of it.
It has a huge following in Europe with health practitioners ranging from strength coaches to cardiologists to family physicians.
They have a LOT of independent research in regards to digestive enzymes available.
Getting in my clearliGht Sauna now……honestly the greatest gift I’ve ever bought myself (and my wife) …thanks also for that one :-)
Really great article.
I find that the Masszymes are simply not affordable for the average person and the $25 shipping to Canada just add to the challenge.
I appreciate the challenges with the cost of the product.
Your right, it’s not cheap and that’s because it works.
If I could sell it for less I would, however we are committed to excellence with our products as much as the people who use them.
Unfortunately, they are out of some people’s budget.
Frankly that sucks!
But we can’t sell them for a loss even though I would if I could.
I’ve seen so many people’s lives transformed by our products and our team is on a committed life long mission to bring them to more and more people around the world.
Best wishes to you on your quest for optimum health.
try a company called ENZYME SCIENCE and look at their “Critical Digestion” it is their highest potency, maybe better price.
I researched this some time ago & came tothe conclusion EnzymeEssentials is better
I dont know if Masszymes has changed thwe formular since then http://www.freefitnessguru.com/blog/bodybuilding-2/aminolase-enzyme-is-it-the-bomb.php
Here we go http://www.enzymeessentials.com/HTML/purezyme_plu…
I’ve read that by taking enzymes, you’re telling your body it doesn’t need to make it’s own. Any thoughts on this?
its own (there should be no apostrophe here)
Do you have to cycle digestive enzymes or is it safe to take them all the time? Also, i need to cut dairy out of my diet so, I’m going to start using pea protein. Should I take an enzyme with that?
Still prefere these ones
Anybody know of an enzyme blend for folks on the keto diet? Seems like some of the enzymes mentioned are for metabolizing carb foods.
This would work just fine for the keto diet due to lipase content. You want to look for things like ox bile, lipase, etc. – to help with higher fat intake.
Matt follows a keto diet.
I’m a vegetarian.
I’ve got clients are around the
world using virtually every kind
of dietary practice you can imagine.
They all say the same thing.
Try them they work.
We’re’ comfortable going head to head
with any Enzyme formulation on the planet.
That’s why we give out our 60 day money
Pricing for that digestive enzyme is ridiculous! Dont know how they expect average person to afford all these supposed excellent supplements.
Yeah, but you take LESS capsules. Read the article. ;)
There’s nothing more expensive than a product that doesn’t work.
Many people have all sorts of erroneous opinions about enzymes because they’ve never used or tried an pharmaceutical grade product or taken an effective dose.
It’s also important to note Dr. Howell author on Enzyme Nutrition suggested there’s a cumulative effective to enzyme supplementation and anyone who’s used our products for 3 months has experienced this phenomena.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, effective products do cost a lot of money to make and the margins on this product are so low most companies won’t even take the time to make a quality enzyme.
Our production costs are higher per bottle than what many companies are selling their products for…
Why because we will not compromise and that’s why we have such a following with elite athletes, alternative cancer practitioners.
We also guarantee effectiveness of every bottle by demanding you return it if you didn’t feel it working.
It’s as simple as that.
Sure is. That’s the the Enzymedica version that’s linked to in the comments is a MUCH better buy. You can get them for around $65 shipped for 240 capsules at the same strength per capsule as the ones mentioned in this “review.”
Excellent and informative article as always. Any thoughts on the digestive enzymes sold by “RenewLife”? The activity values look impressive.
However I belive this product is as good if not better from Masszymes:
It contains 80,000 HUT of Protease that work in 3 different PH levels, which is comparable to Masszymes 85,000 HUT.
Unlike Masszymes it contains zero fillers (No rice bran).
It has more overall enzymes and includes all the enzymes mentioned above.
It includes an ATP Pro blend which consists of CoQ10 and Magnesium Citrate among other beneficial substances.
The company supports various CSR initiatives.
Plus its less expensive.
I believe Enzymedica is a legit company that knows their stuff when it comes to Enzymes.
What do you think?
I’m quite familiar with Enzymedica, who manufactures for them etc. They are indeed a very respectable brand. I certainly don’t want to be drawn into a pissing contest with who’s brand is better etc.
However, I will say this there’s a wide range of sources, culturing practices and combinations of ingredients.
When your dealing with two high quality products there’s only one way to figure out which one is more potent.
Buy them both, see which is more effective.
If you or anyone else finds that digest gold outperforms Masszymes – we’ll be happy to send you a full refund, plus you can keep the digestive webinar series with NP Katrine Volynsky, and the 84 steps to Awesome Health series.
Experience is the best teacher!
Thank you for making a quality product and not succumbing to the requests of people to lower your pricing by making a lesser product. I would bet there are a lot of people who claim this is too expensive that are spending the money each month on things that don’t support their health. Keep up the great work!
indeed Mike, many folks only look at the upfront cost rather than the long-term benefit
These are much better than the ones that Ben is being paid to promote in this article.
Funny how any responses calling attention to that fact get deleted by Ben. Maybe honesty isn’t the best policy.