Who Needs Digestive Enzymes? (and How to Take Them)

Who needs digestive enzymes?

What brands are worth the money?

And how do you introduce them properly?

This Video on Digestive Enzymes Is Right for You If…

You’re someone dealing with:

  • Low grade inflammation
  • Intestinal damage
  • An “oily toilet” (you’ll know what that means)
  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • And undigested food in your stools

In this video, I share 3 digestive enzyme brands we personally recommend and also how to properly introduce them to avoid ‘The Stomach Ache of Death.’

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In good health,

– Jordan

P.S. – Disclaimer time… always consult your primary care physician before taking any supplements or medications. Remember, we’re not Doctors and don’t pretend to be… so this video is not (and should not be) considered medical advice 🙂

Jordan Reasoner

About Jordan Reasoner

Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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61 thoughts on “Who Needs Digestive Enzymes? (and How to Take Them)

  1. Avatar

    Hi again. I have a bit dilema. I have read what sugested enzymes contain, but… If I do not eat gluten, or grains, do I really need enzymes for digesting it in pills? Or if I am on yogurt from nut milk do I really need enzymes for digesting milk? Maybe I am stupid, but in this battle it looks like sending all the tanks against few soldiers?

  2. Avatar

    Hi guys. I know how the body says that it has enough acid in stomach (Betaine HCL) and when I should drop the pill. But what about enzymes? After starting I must take it till the end of my life? And another question – which scd phase I should start it?

  3. Avatar

    I’ve been suffering with pretty severe gastritis for many months. Hate taking 20 mg of protonix but all the natural suppkements were not working. Dr. suggested adding digestive enzymes. I use Lypo Gold from enzymedica as I gave no gallbladder. The enzymes make my stomach feel worse. Is my stomach too irritated? Taking VSL #3, slippery elm, aloe, DGL and zinc carnosine for many months. Stomach is better but still bad. Can the enzymes be making me worse again? What do u recommend for gadtritis? 15 lb weight loss and I’m already thin. Eating low acid, low fat. Dr now says add good fat, stop carbs. I’ll lose more weight I’m sure. I’m confused and don’t know what to eat. Rice and pasta feel soothing. Help.

    • Avatar

      HI Kathi – we do recommend the DGL and digestive bitters for gastritis. When/if you do test them out, you can empty just half a capsule onto your food and see how you do with that. IF that small of an amount is uncomfortable, you may not be ready yet. As far as your diet goes, we’d recommend the SCD diet or something similar. An elimination diet such as this will help you decide what you can tolerate and therefore customize your own diet. Eating refined carbs (toast, pasta, crackers) can definitely contribute to inflammation in the GI tract and cause GERD to be worse.

  4. Avatar

    Hi! Everybody.

    I am new to this forum. I have chronic stomach problem with symptoms of sever acidity, bloating, stress and increase in blood pressure. I have been taking omeprazole for the last few years. Recently, my doctor friend advised me to take prozymes with omeprazole. My question is very simple
    1. Can I take prozymes with omeprazole?

    2. Will it help in relieving symptoms of bloating and related anxiety ?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar

      HI Tufail – thanks for reaching out. Juts to let you know up front, we aren’t doctors and can’t give you direction in regard to your medication. It’s important to understand what is causing this at the root level and attack that. We’d suggest changing your diet to start with: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ , and working with your doctor to taper off the drugs. HCl is going to be an important factor here and we’d recommend reading this article for more information: http://scdlifestyle.com/2014/02/stomach-acid-really-is-good/

      • Avatar

        Thanks Lori for your kind response.

        Unfortunately, after consulting for years with top GI, Physicians etc. , I have found out that mainstream medical use of pharmacologically active agents treatment is not very effective for MOST stomach related problems. In fact my GI is now himself prescribing herbal / digestive enzymes along with diet plan to MANAGE the symptoms. Moreover, due to my complex medical condition including hypertension, arritmias/palpiations, anxiety and severe stomach related problems I cannot take many medicines including even supplements of vitamin D3, B12 SCD diet I think will not be good for me as I am already lacking many important vitamins etc. Its actually quite complex as I am suffering from acidity/reflux especially if I do not take ompeprazole and HCL supplement will increase the acid.

        I will appreciate any suggestions. One thing is for sure “if my stomach is working reasonably well all my other symptoms are well under control”

        Thanks

  5. Avatar

    Hi. I had been taking digestive enzymes for about a month without issue and they were working well. 2 per meal. Now all of the sudden I get nausea 1-2 hours after every time I take them. It doesn’t seem like burning. Do you think this is gastritis/ ulcers that I have developed while taking them or any ideas you have I would appreciate. I will try reducing the dose. Thanks!

    • Avatar

      HI Mindi, the HCL supplement doesn’t cause ulcers, they can just aggravate those that are already there. If you do have ulcers, you’ll feel more of an intense burning that can’t be missed. It’s important you’re taking enzymes as well to aid in the digestion of fats. Here are some digestive enzymes we recommend:

      Digest Gold – http://amzn.to/XHZOjS
      Gi Pro Helath Prozymes – http://www.giprohealth.com/enzymes.aspx (SCD Legal)
      Thorne Dipan 9 – http://amzn.to/1bQ6aHM

      Increase the HCL next time and see how you do (make sure you are doing this with high protein meals and not just light snacks)

      • Avatar

        Wasn’t taking HCL, just enzymes without HCL. Was going to add HCL later if I thought it was necessary. Didn’t think the enzymes caused the ulcer/ gastritis. Just wondering if you had other ideas why I would develop nausea after taking them for a month (ie allergy or something) or no it sounds like/ has to be gastritis if I am nauseous. Thanks!

        • Avatar

          Hi Mindi – enzymes can aggravate gastritis, but not typically cause it. We’d recommend starting out with 1/4 capsule (break the capsule apart) and start there. Work your way up 3-4 with each substantial meal. You may not be digesting fat’s well, so try decreasing those and see how you do. Would definitely check your HCL levels as well.

      • Avatar

        First off, thank you for the great site and abundant resources within it. I’ve found both to be very helpful along my SCD journey. I do have a question regarding the digestive enzymes you recommend, though. Is there a specific enzyme or inactive ingredient in the Digest Go ATPro that is not SCD legal? I’d assume so since you didn’t mention SCD legal next to it, but I’m interested to know what ingredient is potentially illegal. Also, in your experience working with individuals does Digest Gold w/ATPro generally produce good results and seem to be well tolerated among SCD followers, despite it not being SCD legal? Or, would you recommend SCD followers stick to just the SCD legal brand (GI Pro Health Prozymes)?

        I’m interested in other users feedback that have taken either of the two products as well (Digest Gold ATPro and GI Prohealth Prozymes).

        Thank you!

        • Avatar

          Hi Trent, Digest Gold is a well tolerated and effective enzyme for the SCD community. Enzymes can be though of like food…you just have to test them out. Go ahead and start with the digest Gold and see how you do. If it doesn’t go well, you can try the SCD legal product. (and then come back to digest gold so it doesn’t go to waste:)

  6. Avatar

    Hi!

    I really hope you can help.

    I started taking digestive enzymes after watching your video. I was noticing undigested food in my stool and bloating/gas. Since I started the Digestive enzymes I have facial flushing after eating and burning in my esophagus. Also more belching and a feeling of undigested food in my stomach for a few hours after I eat. I stopped digestive enzymes and it went away. Strange as I would imagine it would have the opposite effect. I only take 1x at the beginning of meals. If I have meat I add a little extra HCL. Do I perhaps have a thin mucous lining and I’m feeling the sensations of the digetsive enzymes actually working…I have noticed my bowel movements are more regular and digested. Also less gas later on…Any idea why this might be happening?

    Thanks

    • Avatar

      Hi vanessa – having a reaction like this to digestive enzymes suggests you may have gastritis or ulcers. We suggest you talk to your doctor about this! In the meantime, we recommend drinking lots of bone broth, taking l-glutamine, and trying DGL to help heal the stomach lining.

      Hang in there!

  7. Avatar

    I have been taking a digestive enzyme by standard process and have taken up to 12 per meal with no heart burn. My doctor wants me to take 10 and I feel like it is excessive and costly. Any feedback? Should I change brands?

      • Avatar

        Hi, I am brand new to SCD, have sooo many questions. But the first most important ones I’ll ask first. I ordered the ProZymes Steve recommends and the Natures calm (due to the opposite of my IBD… constipation of nothing after the D quit). I am adding in some fats but I am only on the second week. So anyway my question, I am only about 100 lbs. These supplements are based on average adult size should I just follow the normal directions? Thank you this diet my finally keep me out of the hospital. Annette

  8. Avatar

    hello, is it normal to get diarrhea when starting digestive enzymes? like….undigested food diarrhea. i have been experimenting because i began noticing signs of increased histamine sensitivity and bacterial infections….due to, what i can only guess, chronic stress. i’ve never had undigested food in my bowel movements, don’t really suffer with constipation or diarrhea, no stomach pains….only digestive thing i have is bloating sometimes. As soon as i started the enzymes my bacterial and other signs of skin inflammation went away and i felt a profound serene quality deep inside me….no stomach pains or feeling of being sick….except that my stomach does feel like it’s out of balance and the diarrhea. Could the diarrhea be a normal introduction symptom….or maybe an indication that i don’t need as much as i’m taking?

    • Avatar

      Hi Nicholas – you may just be taking too large of a dose right now! Try lowering your dose to even as little as 1/4 capsule (where Jordan started out) and slowly working your way up.

      Some people react negatively to the animal products in digestive enzymes (usually pork derived) – If lowering your dosage doesn’t help, we recommend trying a vegetarian digestive enzyme like Digest Gold http://amzn.to/XHZOjS

  9. Avatar

    Great video. I appreciate what you guys are doing. My biggest question is about the dosage. I eat up to six times throughout the day (as we all should be, right). So, should I be taking 2 pills before each of those “meals”? To me, that seems a little overkill and pricey.

    • Avatar

      Hi Mark, we recommend you take digestive enzymes every time you eat a meal. If you’re eating a small snack like a piece of fruit, you might not need any enzymes – this is a very individual thing! The only way to know is to test by taking digestive enzymes and not taking digestive enzymes and evaluating how you feel. You also might need more or less pills depending on the amount of food you eat (for instance: one pill with a snack, three pills with dinner).

      I hope this information helps!

  10. Avatar

    My doctor has recommended HCL for me and I wanted to know if I can take Digest Gold enzymes if I’m taking HCL? If so, do you take them at the same time, at beginning of meal?
    Thanks so much.

    • Avatar

      Great question! You can take HCL and digestive enzymes at the same time (we actually recommend it). Take the enzymes at the beginning of your meals. If you have gastritis, you will want to start with a very small dose (like a half a pill) and very slowly work up to 2 pills per meal.

  11. Avatar

    Wow! I had tried digestive enzymes and had the worst stomach pain of my life. I couldn’t understand it because I have all the symptoms of food just sitting in my stomach after eating. Now, I am a little encouraged to try enzymes again. I think I’ll even try 1/4 of a capsule and work my way up from that. Thanks so much for the video.

  12. Avatar

    Hello! I was recently put on 50,000 units of vitamin d a week; due to an extreme deficiency. Do these enzymes have any effect on vitamin absorption? I just want to make certain that I’m getting the most out of this huge dose of d! Thank you so much for your time and input.

    • Avatar

      Hi Marla,

      It’s one of those things that you want to make sure that you’ve been healed for a good period of time and then stop taking them. Test out how you feel and take note of how you’re digesting your food without them and go from there. If things go back downhill, then add them back in. That’s really the best answer we can give.

  13. Avatar

    I’m also concerned with what Lauren is stating about the dependency factor after taking enzymes. If we put enzymes into our bodies, do our bodies stop producing those enzymes on their own because we are supplying them from an outside source? How long did you guys take enzymes for? Did you ever get off them and eat normally without any digestive disturbances?

  14. Avatar

    Do you have any suggestions for people who want digestive enzymes in Canada? Klaire Labs isn’t available here and the other ones have pricey shipping 🙁

    • Avatar

      Hi Sarah,

      Thorne Dipan-9 and Enzymedica Digest Gold are available at vitamart.ca
      Canadian company and free shipping if you spend more than $49.00. Can return product in 30 days if an issue. They have tons of products and are always available for questions via phone. Check them out.

  15. Avatar

    After taking antibiotics for h-pylor, I came across Klaire Labs website and purchased
    their Endozin Zinc Carnosine Supplement with L-Glutamine as it stated it would heal my stomach and help create mucus in stomach, therefore helping to heal my stomach. What do you think of this particular supplement and how is it difference from Klaire Labs Vital-Zymes Complete?
    I’m confused now on which one should be the priority to take as I don’t really feel 100% back to normal. Still have gastritis.

  16. Avatar

    I wanted to thank you for this video. I for one have tried many enzymes but do not get what I need out of them. Of course I usually take the recommended dose so if it says to take 1 per meal that is what I take. I have taken products from enzymedica and they are okay but I was always looking for better. I appreciate the other 2 products and will try one of them as I know I need a digestive product and I appreciate knowing to take 2 with each meal.

  17. Avatar

    Hi guys,

    First of all thank you for all your time and information.

    Second of all, I am wondering about the dependancy factor. I do not want to create a dependance on enzymes, but I am definitely in your category or who needs them.

    Thanks!

    ps I left a super long comment before, but I cannot see it anymore!

  18. Avatar

    Hi guys!

    I have been watching and reading your stuff for a while now. I am pretty sure that I have had SIBO for almost 2 years, and have def had psoriasis and intestinal issues my whole life. I know I have inflammation, which has recently been aggravated by adding some sea salt to my water. It really helped my mood, energy and digestion, but I realized just yesterday that it has caused my stomach to burn constantly for a week straight. So sad! Sometimes it feels that I take one step forward and two steps back. I am currently on my 3rd 5 day water fast in the last 1.5 years.

    I fall into your category of who should take enzymes, but I am SO SCARED of creating a dependance. I am about to order a shipment of SCDophillus, which I love along with my SCD 24 hr goat yogurt, and am going to add in some ProZymes, but my whole goal is to have my body function by itself. Can you tell me how long you took enzymes for, or how long is recommended? I had one doctor tell me to take them forever, and I am not into that! I am trying to be as au natural as possible.

    Thanks so much, you guys are fantastic and so appreciated,
    Lauren

  19. Avatar

    What do you think of ‘Now’ brand super enzymes?

    Here is the ingredient list:

    Betaine HCl 200 mg †
    Pancreatin 4X 200 mg †
    Supplying: Amylase 20,000 USP units †
    Protease 20,000 USP units †
    Lipase 3,400 USP units †
    Ox Bile Extract (45% Cholic Acid) 100 mg †
    Bromelain (2,400 GDU/g) (from Pineapple) 50 mg †
    Papain (2M FCCPU/mg) Powder (from Papaya) 50 mg †
    Pepsin (NF 1:10M units) Powder 50 mg †
    Papaya Fruit Powder 45 mg †
    Pineapple Juice Powder 45 mg †
    Cellulase (1M CU/g) Powder 10 mg †

    http://www.nowfoods.com/Supplements/Products-by-Category/Digestive-Support/Enzymes/Super-Enzymes-180-Capsules.htm

    I know they contain Betaine HCL (which I already use with good success), but the reason is in my part of the world the brands you mention are very hard to ship over here. Are they worth a shot? Or would it be better to fork over for the other brands?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • Steven Wright

      We don’t see good results with this product because the enzyme amt’s are not as strong as even other NOW products let alone the brands we recommended. In general we’ve found it a bad idea to combine HCL and enzymes in one pill as most people need to find the correct dosages of each.

  20. Avatar
    Kathy Jebbia says:

    I ordered one of your recommended digestive enzymes – the one from GI Pro Health called “ProZymes”. When I received the product, I discovered that one of the ingredients listed is Lysozyme (from egg white). Egg whites are a common allergen! And I cannot tolerate eggs at this point. Therefore, I will take this product. And unfortunately their return policy is that all sales are final.

    Please reconsider recommending this product.

    • Steven Wright

      @ Kathy you are right they do contain Lysozyme which they do extract and purify from egg white. Have you actually tried the product? Lysozyme is not a part of the egg that people react too. We’ve had 100s if not 1000s of people who have egg intolerance use these products with no problems. I know there will always be someone who reacts because we are all so different… I’d urge you to give it a shot.

      • Avatar

        I’m having a similar problem, I’m on the autoimmune protocol at the moment and want to give these a try but I’m meant to be avoiding eggs entirely, is this exempt from that for the same reasons?

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