What Are Digestive Enzymes?

Polly: Digestive enzymes are made by your pancreas. They are necessary for the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Supplementing digestive enzymes is a very important first step in ridding yourself of yeast overgrowth in the intestines. When you supplement pancreatic enzymes, not only does your body get more nutrients, but also digestive enzymes help break up yeast clusters in the intestines. Digestive enzymes taken between meals help clean up some of the debris in the blood stream. Supplemental digestive enzymes sometimes reduce food allergies too.

Start slowly, as with all supplements. You could be sensitive or allergic to the supplements. Be particularly wary of plant-based digestive enzymes. These enzymes are produced using a mold called Aspergillus. People with yeast overgrowth are often sensitive to molds. A typical adverse reaction is breathing difficulties. However, I heard that there is a new plant-based product from Japan where the mold spores have been stripped from the enzymes. Thus it may be safer. The advantage of the plant-based enzymes is that they work over a wider range of pH.

The other type of digestive enzymes is called pancreatic enzymes. It is simply dried pancreas. You might be allergic to these too. If you are having a lot of problems with sensitivities and allergies, be particularly careful of which brand you try. I could not tolerate a brand that claimed to be a special concentrated 8x type. Yet the Allergy Research/ Nutricology brand was no problem. Allergy Research/Nutricology carries beef, pork, and lamb pancreatic enzymes. Rotate these in the diet so that you don’t build up an allergy/sensitivity to any one of these. DEWS also carries an excellent pancreatic digestive enzymes product. Phone. (940) 243-2178 and website http://www.DEWSnatural.com . Wobenzyme has an excellent reputation. One place to purchase it is from Life Enhancement. Website http://www.life-enhancement.com Phone (800) 543-3873. Your doctor may favor a particular product. Ask. Be sure you have enough stomach acid to allow these to work properly.

Also, don’t worry about the stomach acid destroying the pancreatic enzymes. I remember being warned that I would be just wasting my money on these supplements because the stomach acid would destroy them. I tried some anyway, and I am very glad that I did.

If you aren’t allergic, and you don’t have ulcers, you can probably use 10 or more pills per day of the pancreatic enzymes without a problem. One doctor suggested that my dad take 30 pills per day of the DEWS product. However, this many pills will tend to push you a little more alkaline, which may or may not bother you. I’ve not heard of any other reason to be careful about the amount used. However, with the plant-based enzymes, I would be a bit more concerned about the amount used. The body uses pH to activate and deactivate the pancreatic enzymes. With the plant enzymes, the pH range of activity is not what the body is designed for.

If you are using any type of digestive enzymes with an autistic child, be careful. Referring to autistic children, Dr. Bradstreet states,

“Warning- do not give enzymes to children who are eating gluten and casein. It may raise levels of opioids in the child.”

(quote is from this article http://www.gnd.org/autism/overview.htm )

From what I’ve heard on an autism list, this warning is especially true for the enzyme preparations that are specifically prepared to digest gluten and casein. There may even be an initial reaction to the enzymes when the children have been off of wheat and milk for a while. It seems like there is always some exception to every nutritional rule. Therefore, I use theory and the experience of others to guide me in a direction for my personal experiments, but I always trust my personal observations the most.

There are several brands of this special enzyme preparation for digesting wheat gluten and milk casein. One is called peptizyde and is available from Houston Nutraceuticals.

http://www.houstonni.com phone (866) 757-8627

Another is called DPP IV Forte, which is available from Kirkman Labs.

http://www.kirkmanlabs.com phone 800-245-8282

Judy in Nevada: No-Fenol is a new digestive enzyme product that is being discussed on Autism boards. They report that it is an excellent yeast fighter. It is said to work in a similar way as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by breaking down the extra waste and fiber passing through the digestive tract, in effect, starving the yeast. It is made by Houston Nutraceuticals.

Polly: That No-Fenol product is supposed to help the body separate the phenolics from carbohydrates and perhaps allow the body to dispose of the phenolics better. (Phenols are found in vegetable and fruit colors, food dyes, estrogen and bioflavonoids.) Phenolics are often a problem for kids with autism or attention deficit. The No-Fenol product certainly has the potential to help many people. The initial reports on the autism lists are very favorable. However, you must be careful. Don Panburn points out that the amino acid tyrosine is a phenolic. And tyrosine is necessary for the formation of thyroid, dopamine and adrenaline. Perhaps the No-Fenol product should be reserved for meals that consist of mainly vegetables and fruits, or a supplement of tyrosine should be considered. Time will tell as more people try No-Fenol and report their findings.

Mrs. Generic: Does anyone know if papaya enzymes have too much sugar? And if this would outweigh the benefits of taking them?

Polly: I don’t know how much sugar is in a papaya supplement. However, usually a small amount of natural sugar should not set you back. I wouldn’t worry too much about that aspect. Papain (found in papaya) helps you tolerate and digest gluten as well as meat. Yet, I wouldn’t use more papain than the label suggests. Papain is used to tenderize meat. Too much papain will eat a hole in your intestines. Be sure to read labels, so you know if papain is in your digestive support supplement before taking high doses.

Mr. Generic: Should we rotate digestive enzymes? Is it possible to become sensitive/allergic to them?

Linda in Virginia: Yes, I became allergic to them! You can rotate pancreatic enzymes made from beef, pork, lamb, bromelain, etc. I spoke to the doctor at N.E.E.D.S. and he said the bromelain is not as effective as the others (more an anti-inflammatory). I needed it anyway so I would have enough to rotate over four days. N.E.E.D.S. was the only place I could find all the different types.

There is not a supplement on the planet that I have not developed an allergy to. I try to be more careful now. I can’t rotate everything, so I just hope for the best. There have been periods when I could not take any supplement whatsoever.

Dani: Ultrase MT20 is a prescription digestive enzyme that has helped me so much. I had SEVERE gas and bloat. I couldn’t plan anything because of this! Sometimes I couldn’t even stand up the pains were so bad. Anyway, Ultrase MT20 along with Betaine HCL has changed my life! If anyone has gas and bloat pains, it may be worth a try.

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