Supplemental Enzymes

Let’s look at the differences between the kinds of supplemental enzymes that are available today. Usually when people think of enzymes, they think of digestion. However, there are more options besides digestive enzymes, and when purchasing an enzyme supplement, you must choose the correct type in order to achieve your desired results.

Plant Enzymes

If your parents or grandparents ever used or recommended an enzyme supplement to help with indigestion, chances are, they were telling everyone about the bromelain (pineapple) and/or papain (papaya) pills they were taking. These are old-school, health food store remedies. Do they work? Yes and no. Yes, because they might aid in some protein digestion, and because they both have some soothing anti-inflammatory properties. No, because these plant enzymes are activated at higher than normal body temperature, and have very little ability to break down food. Because of their affinity for high temperatures, they should be primarily relied upon for inflammation.

Animal Enzymes

Many times people see an enzyme formula with the following enzymes listed: chymotrypsin, pancreatin, pepsin, and trypsin. These are animal enzymes harvested from the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine of animals. Do these digest food? Yes and no. Yes, because they can support our digestive organs ability to function more efficiently. No, because they won’t work directly on breaking down the food itself. These enzymes require an alkaline environment to become active, are most often used to support glands, and in those circumstances can display anti-inflammatory qualities.

Plant-based Enzymes

These days, you can get all that plant and animal enzymes have to offer, plus so much more by consuming “plant-based” enzymes. Technically these are microbial or fungal enzymes. Most plant-based enzymes are derived from a harmless fungus called aspergillus. When the aspergillus is grown on different plants as its food source, it produces a vast amount of enzymes, which can be harvested through a filtration process.

The body easily utilizes plant-based enzymes because they are effective within a wide range of PH and temperature levels in the body, unlike the plant and animal enzymes mentioned above. Taken before a meal, plant-based enzyme formulas can aid in the digestion of fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and more. Taken on an empty stomach, plant-based enzymes can target inflammation and aid in the repair processes of diseased or damaged tissue. There has never been a documented case of illness associated with the over use of plant-based enzymes, and the FDA considers them food.

Want more information on enzymes? Check out this post. 

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