Enzymes pt 2 – A list of digestive enzymes and how to take them

Learn about the most important digestive enzymes and how to take them in order to fix your digestion, maximize muscle growth and optimize your health.In the previous article The most effective and yet neglected supplement for your health goals I spoke about the general type of enzymes, why we need them and what leads to their depletion.

In this article I will share with you the (almost) complete list of digestive enzymes and how to take them.

Different types of digestive enzymes

When it comes to digestive enzymes there are different types that breakdown different macronutrients. The 3 types of macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats.

Digestive enzymes are also spread in 3 categories to sometimes match the different types of macros (even though there are many more): Proteases, Amylases and Lipases.

  • Protease and Pancreatin are enzymes required to digest proteins,
  • Amylase and Alpha-Amylase are the enzymes required to digest carbohydrates
  • Lipase is the enzyme required to digest fats and lipids.

There are also different enzymes that can help break down other nutrients:

  • Cellulase and Hemicellulase for breaking down fiber,
  • Lactase for breaking down milk sugars,
  • Betaine HCL has 2 roles: to increase the hydrochloric acid content in our stomach and to activate the protein digesting enzyme pepsin in the stomach to break down proteins. Some people do not produce enough HCL in their bodies. However, people with ulcers should avoid betaine and get a plant derivative instead.

Here is a short list of enzymes found in foods and supplements:

For Breaking down carbS

Amylase – breaks down carbohydrates, starches, and sugars found in potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and other foods

  • lactase – breaks down milk sugars (lactose)
  • diastase – breaks down vegetable starch
  • sucrase – breaks down complex sugars and starches
  • maltase – breaks down disaccharides to monosaccharides (malt sugars)
  • invertase – breaks down table sugar (sucrose)
  • glucoamylase – breaks down starch to glucose
  • alpha-glactosidase – for digestion of beans, legumes, seeds, roots and tubers.

For Breaking down proteins

  • protease – breaks down proteins found in meats, nuts, eggs, and cheese
  • pepsin – breaks down proteins into peptides
  • peptidase – breaks down small peptide proteins to amino acids
  • trypsin – breaks down proteins (derived from animal pancreas)
  • alphachymotrypsin, breaks down proteins (animal derived)
  • bromelain – breaks down a broad spectrum of proteins, effective on a very broad pH range and also has anti-inflammatory properties (pineapple derived)
  • papain – breaks down small and large proteins, effective on a broad pH range (raw papaya derived)

For Breaking down fats

  • lipase – breaks down fats found in nuts, oils, meat and dairy products.
  • cellulase – breaks down plant fiber (cellulose – not found in humans)

Other types of digestive enzymes

  • CereCalase™ – a blend of synergistic phytase, hemicellulase (made by National Enzyme Company) which breaks down fiber and allows better absorption of essential minerals (used in cereals)
  • endoprotease – cleaves peptide bonds from the interior of peptide chains
  • exoprotease – cleaves off amino acids from the ends of peptide chains
  • extract of ox bile – stimulates the intestine to move (animal-derived)
  • fructooligosaccharides (FOS) – acts as food to friendly intestinal microbes (good bacteria), but also inhibits the growth of harmful species (bad bacteria). Also known as probiotics.
  • L-glutamic acid – activates pepsin in the stomach
  • lysozyme – helps control infections by attacking invading bacteria and viruses (animal-derived and found in the lungs)
  • papayotin – (papaya derived)
  • pancreatin – breaks down protein and fats (animal derived)
  • pancrelipase – breaks down protein, fats, and carbs (animal derived)
  • pectinase – breaks down the pectin in fruit
  • phytase – digests phytic acid, allows minerals such to be more available by the body (such as calcium, zinc, copper, manganese). Does not break down any food proteins
  • xylanase – breaks down xylan sugars, (found in corn)

The best thing you can do for both your digestive and overall health is to get a supplement based on your nutritional needs and the amount of nutrients you take in.

How to take enzymes while eating

As a general rule, I take 2 types of supplemental enzymes:

  • Before I start my meal I take 1 enzyme tab that contains different enzymes. In this way I make sure that my body is prepared to receive the food and start breaking it down.
    Then I always start my meals with a salad to make sure that I get more natural food enzymes to support the overall enzymes in the body.
  • Once I am finished with my salad I take a Betaine supplement (Protease) so that I can eat my proteins and I leave my carbs for last (which is usually the smallest portion of food in my diet).
  • For people who do not eat meat and consume grains, you will need a balanced enzyme supplement that contains all 3 types of enzymes.

Use these enzymes daily with your foods in order to fix or improve digestion, increase energy levels and help you live a healthy and balanced life.

Closing Notes

This is part 2 of my 3 part series on enzymes. I will conclude the series with information on systemic enzymes and their benefits.

Do you take any digestive enzymes? If yes, which ones do you take and what results did you have? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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by Nick Sigma


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