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

by Jordan Reasoner

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.’

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 🙂

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About the author

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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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Jebbia August 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

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.

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Steven Wright August 2, 2013 at 9:50 am

@ 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.

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Callum Clegg November 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm

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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Michael August 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

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

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Steven Wright August 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

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.

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Maria September 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I use NOW super enzymes and like the tablets more than the capsules and I like them better than Enzymedicas Digest Gold which is said to be one of the best

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Lauren March 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

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

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Lauren March 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

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!

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John March 14, 2014 at 12:43 am

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.

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Sofia April 9, 2014 at 6:40 am

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.

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Sarah May 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

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 🙁

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Chris May 23, 2014 at 12:34 am

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?

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Marla September 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I was wanting to ask the same thing Chris just asked. Will I need to take them forever? If not how will I know when it is time to stop staking them?

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Brent Kovacs September 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

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.

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Julie February 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

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.

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Lori Jo Berg February 5, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Hi Julie, thanks for reaching out! In a non direct way, then enzymes will help with absorption as they lower inflammation of the gut wall and allow for better absorption of nutrients in general.

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Susan February 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm

Just wanted to check on the digestive enzymes I ordered on the 9th of February. How long for the shipping process? Thanks, Susan

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Lori Jo Berg February 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm
Cheyenne March 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

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.

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chris April 7, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Due to an egg white allergy is the chewable form of the first enzymes suggested good too??? I love klaire labs products!

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Lori Jo Berg April 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

Hi Chris, there are many types of enzymes on the market and while we do have our favorites, we suggest finding the one that works for you.

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TH June 30, 2015 at 10:33 pm

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.

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Mariel Heiss July 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

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.

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Mark August 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

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.

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Mariel Heiss August 20, 2015 at 9:46 pm

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!

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Nicholas December 12, 2015 at 8:10 am

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?

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Mariel Heiss December 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm

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

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Michele Christian January 1, 2016 at 9:05 pm

What do you all think about taking essential oils internally for Crohns and Type 1 Diabetes with celiac?

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Mariel Heiss January 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Hi Michele, thanks for asking!

We think this is a very interesting field of study, but we have not researched it personally and don’t have experience with it yet. We think the foundation of healing from autoimmune conditions comes from healing the gut – you can learn more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/01/is-autoimmune-disease-reversible/

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Candi February 18, 2016 at 9:08 am

Thank you guys for all that you do and the great information! I’m wondering about my children… What is the recommendation for children?

Thanks again!

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Mariel Heiss February 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

@Candi – thanks for commenting! For kids, Steve and Jordan recommend you consult with your practitioner. Their recommendations are for people who weigh 100 lbs or more.

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Annette May 28, 2016 at 10:35 pm

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

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Mariel Heiss May 31, 2016 at 6:08 pm
Lauren February 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm

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?

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Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Hi Lauren – digestive enzymes should not cause heartburn.

The digestive enzymes we like are Thorne Dipan-9 and Enzymedica Digest Gold.

HCL can cause a burning feeling if you take too much – but it is not the same as digestive enzymes.

Info on HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Lauren March 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm

THanks for the info, I guess my question is should I be taking 10 at every meal? That seems like a lot and how do I know they are doing any more than just taking 2?

THanks!

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Mariel Heiss March 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Hi Lauren – I’m still not clear if you’re taking HCL Betaine or if you’re taking Digestive Enzymes.

If you’re taking HCL it is possible you need 10 – here is how to tell: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

But remember more isn’t BETTER – the right dose is BEST – http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/10/4-common-betaine-hcl-mistakes/

If you’re taking DIGESTIVE ENZYMES (like GI ProHealth Prozymes, Thorne Dipan 9, Enzymedica Digest Gold, NuMedica Pan Rx, etc.) you should NOT be taking 10 – a normal dose is 1-3 pills per meal. If you’re taking 10 at a meal, you need to dig deeper for what else might be going on – and maybe add HCL Betaine with the digestive enzymes as well as look for root causes like GI infections, adrenal issues, etc.

You know you have the right dose of digestive enzymes when you feel a difference (positive) when you take it and miss it when you don’t – and adding more makes you feel worse. One pill might feel like you took nothing – 3 pills might make your stomach ache – but 2 pills helps you digest your food, have less gas and bloating, and no stomach ache, for example. The amount is different for every person.

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Vanessa September 26, 2016 at 3:25 am

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

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Mariel Heiss September 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm

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!

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