The old saying, "you are what you eat" isn't exactly correct. The reality is, you are what you digest. Eating health foods means little if you can't effectively absorb their vitamins and nutrients. That's where digestive enzymes come in, and they play a crucial role in making sure that you're getting those nutrients.
They're necessary for breaking down large molecules from the food you eat into smaller particles that can more easily flow into your system. More specifically, they help you digest the carbohydrates, fats and proteins that you need to survive.
After research began revealing just how integral digestive enzymes are to our bodies, enzyme supplements began shooting up in popularity. They now fill whole sections on grocery store shelves, and popular doctor shows are raving about their whole-body effects.
Do I Really Need A Digestive Enzyme Aid?
We know that naturally produced digestive enzymes are crucial, but we decided to research whether a supplement is actually necessary, or if simple diet changes are enough to get the job done.
We found that the depleting nutrient supply in our modern diets means that we need to squeeze the most nourishment that we can out of our food. Additionally, as we age, we produce less digestive enzymes on our own. We found that supplementing with the right digestive enzyme product can not only improve digestion, but help prevent future health issues.
Research has only just begun connecting our gut health to other functions in our body, and starting with an enzyme supplement could be the way to whole-body health.
You May Benefit From A Digestive Enzyme Aid If You Have:
- Constipation, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, & bloating
- An age-related enzyme insufficiency
- Low stomach acid
- Air, soil, and water pollution in your city
- Drinking water treated with fluoride
As you can see, most of us could probably benefit from a digestive enzyme supplement. But digestive enzymes are confusing, and it's difficult to get a clear answer about what types of enzymes we need, the ideal serving sizes, and which formulas are most effective. There are multiple layers of complexity to consider when purchasing a digestive enzyme.
We weren't surprised when many of our Smarter Shoppers reported regretting their first digestive enzyme purchase. With that in mind, we filtered through the clutter to find the top mistakes first-time digestive enzyme buyers make.
You May Be Buying The Wrong Digestive Enzyme If:
- The label lists dangerous fillers, including:
- Magnesium stearate
- Silicon dioxide
- Artificial colors and flavors
- Your supplement lacks potency or isn't full-spectrum
- Many lower-priced digestive enzyme supplements don't contain the potency necessary for real results. Some shoppers had to buy multiple supplements to get the ingredients they needed. Either way, this will hurt your wallet.
- You rely on Amazon reviews.
- Up to 60% of these reviews are written by individuals paid to leave positive feedback. Be careful using this source exclusively to choose supplements.
The Right Digestive Enzyme Supplement Has:
- Plant-based enzymes. Unlike their animal-based counterparts, these enzymes target guts with both low and moderate acidity. They also help relieve stress on your small intestine, making them generally more effective than animal-based enzymes.
- Probiotics. More specifically, Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast that's crucial for dairy digestion. In the long term, it can help balance your gut.
- Doctor-formulation. It takes expertise to form an digestive enzyme. Look for real doctors specializing in gut health backing the supplement.
- A good guarantee. Invest in a digestive enzyme that offers a 100% money-back guarantee that shows the company's faith in its product.
When it comes to the enzymes themselves, make sure to choose a formula that includes the most clinically proven choices. We scoured through studies to find the top enzymes for effective digestion.
Look For These Enzymes In a Full-Spectrum Blend:
- Proteases break down proteins into smaller polypeptides or single amino acids for nutritional absorption and optimal digestion.
- Amylase breaks the starch, sugar and fiber found in grains, fruits and vegetables down into smaller molecules.
- Lipase breaks down fats like butter, cheese, olive and fish oils into fatty acids and glycerol. Look for at least 2,000 FIPs.
- Cellulase helps us digest fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, humans can't produce it naturally, so we need supplements or fermented foods.
- Sourced from pineapples, this proteolytic enzyme helps you digest proteins found in meats, nuts, cheese and grains.
- Another crucial proteolytic enzyme for protein digestion, papain is sourced from papaya. Look for at least 800,000 PUs of papain per serving.
With these guidelines in mind, we scoured the market for the best enzyme supplements available today.
2020's Top 5 Digestive Enzyme Supplements
We tested 37 different digestive enzyme supplements, and based on our 5 pillars of excellence: ingredient safety, projected effectiveness, value, return policy, and customer satisfaction, we narrowed the pool down to our top 5.