Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes aid in breaking down and digesting food, ensuring proper absorption of nutrients.

What are their health benefits?

Enzymes are responsible for every chemical reaction that occurs in your body but they decline as you age. Even the lack of some enzymes in your body can lead to health problems.

Specifically, digestive enzymes are necessary for mechanical digestion and ensure your gut stays healthy, as they are the key substances of the digestive process.

The four key digestive enzymes are:

  • Lipase: they help you digest and assimilate fats.
  • Protease: they help you break down proteins.
  • Amylase: they break down carbohydrates.
  • Cellulase: they break down cellulose molecules into simple sugars.

Do you have a deficiency?

The modern diet of fast food and low-quality foods as well as stress and environmental pollutants is believed to put the body’s digestive system under severe stress, thus impacting your pancreas and its ability to release digestive enzymes into your gut adversely. If your pancreas is unable to release enough digestive enzymes naturally into your gut and so ensure nutrient absorption, then your overall health is impacted adversely, as an unhealthy gut leads to indigestion, gas, bloating, excess weight, low energy and allergy-like reactions to food.

An unhealthy gut can also ultimately lead to more serious conditions including:

Find it in these sources

Medication containing digestive enzymes, or a digestive enzymes supplement is used when your pancreas is acting up. They therefore help with indigestion and can be used as a replacement therapy in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer and even after surgery on the pancreas or gut.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

This dosage will need to be determined by your doctor or Clicks pharmacist depending on your condition, diet and response to treatment.

Know the overdose risks

If you ingest too many digestive enzymes, possible side effects could include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramps, and even nausea. More serious ones could include severe abdominal discomfort, frequent and painful urination and joint pain – report this to your doctor immediately.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015