What do you know about enzymes and how they work in the body?
Quite frankly, all I knew was that fresh raw fruits and veggies contain enzymes, which was why my body seemed to work and feel better when I was eating a high raw vegan diet back a few years ago. And what I didn’t know, actually fills a book! The “Everything You Need to Know About Enzymes” book, to be exact, written by Tom Bohager.
A friend had mentioned that she has been taking digestive enzymes to me for years, but I kind of dismissed her advice that I should also try taking them, because I really thought I was still getting enough enzymes from my 50% raw diet. However, I’ve been reading this book, and listening to my body (particularly after meals) and realizing that my friend was right–I needed to supplement. At least, I needed to TRY enzyme supplementation.
So, I went to Richard’s Foodporium and bought a generic brand of “Super Enzymes” mostly because they were the least expensive bottle on the shelf for 180 capsules. And I didn’t notice much difference. Thus, I quit taking them. Then I found a bottle of Vegyzyme enzymes in the cabinet from when I had been on a previous “doctor recommended” diet program awhile back. I knew they were probably outdated, so I went back to the store to see what else I could learn about enzymes, check out the other brands, and ask why there we so many different kinds of enzymes on the shelf.
That’s when I found that Enzymedica was nearly a local enzyme manufacturer to where we’re currently living–they’re made just a couple of hours south of us. That was the first thing that intrigued me, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
I reached out to Enzymedica (by way of Facebook), and mentioned my interest in their products (and company) and they generously offered to send me a bottle to try in exchange for an honest review.
The following is what I experienced from taking all of the Enzymedica Digest Gold capsules during a three-week period, as recorded in my iPhone Notepad (so I could monitor the changes):
The first couple days I felt bloated after eating. Note: I reached back out to Enzymedica, after the first two days and explained about the bloating I’d experienced and learned that “if you aren’t used to a high-potency formula, sometimes a little digestive discomfort can occur early on.”
By day 3, I found that if I took the enzyme capsule on an empty stomach with water, just prior to eating, that I was not bloated after I completed my meal.
After 6 days, I began feeling really good after eating! And I seemed to have more energy.
Since I began feeling better, I didn’t need to take Enzymedica’s additional advice of, “If it persists, you can try our lower potency products like Digest Basic and Digest. Both work really well!”
What some people might not admit, is that I forgot to take an enzyme capsule before my meals a few times during the first three weeks. And that you can take more than one capsule before eating if your bloating continues to occur. I didn’t try that. I consumed this enzyme supplement happily, knowing I would feel much more content after eating. I noticed that only those times I bloated, or had an “over full” kind of feeling in my tummy, had been the times that I’d forgotten to take the capsule. As soon as I resumed taking the Digest Gold capsule before meals, that heavy “stuffed” feeling after the meals went away.
All the while I was experimenting with taking the Digest Gold capsules, I’d been reading the “Everything You Need to Know About Enzymes” book, and learning what I needed in regards to proper enzyme supplementation. The book includes a super informative chart that explains what enzymes are, which one does what in the body, a quiz to know which enzymes you might need to take, and many pages about the various diseases and ailments that consuming proper enzymes can alleviate! It was quite eye-opening and fascinating!
I’ll share a bit of this information (paraphrased) below:
- Amylase – Breaks down carbs like starch and glycogen; regulates histamine when taken on an empty stomach (can you begin to see how just this ONE enzyme could help people who have allergies?); reduces food cravings (helpful to someone on a diet); increases blood sugar. (Note: the book provides even more details, and the parenthetical comments here are my own.)
- Cellulase – Breaks down cellulose and chitin (which is found in the cell wall of Candida / yeast); can loose more nutrients from the cell wall of fruits and vegetables.
- Lipase – Breaks down lipids and fats, helping to assimilate fats; reduces cholesterol, aids weight loss, supports hormone production; supports gallbladder function;
- Protease – Breaks down protein; supports immune function when taken on an empty stomach; reduces inflammation and increases circulation.
- All of the preceding are available from different sources and can be blended to increase potency
There are many more listed in the book and some aid reduction of mucus in the body, are anti-inflammatory, and so on! What a cornucopia of healthful benefits from a handful of enzymes! I am amazed!
To put the Enzymedica’s Digest Gold under the microscope and compare it to the Super Enzymes and Vegyzyme I’d previously taken, for brevity’s sake, I’ll just compare their main enzyme contents:
Per 1 capsule:
Enzymedica’s Digest Gold contains:
Amylase – 23,000 DU (dose equivalent)
Protease – 80,000 HUT
Lipase – 4,000 FCCFIP
Cellulase – 3,000 CU
Super Enzymes contains:
Amylase – 37,000 USP Units
Protease – 37,000 USP Units
Lipase – 2,960 USP Units (Note: Amylase, Protease, and Lipase the label states are together known as Pancreatin and is 134mg)
Cellulase – 10 CU / .1mg
Amylase – 4,000 DU (dose equivalent)
Protease – 10,000 HUT
Lipase – 43.4 LU
Cellulase – 30 CU
Note: USP Units are defined as, “a dose unit as recommended by the United States Pharmacopoeia, the primary legally recognized national drug-standardcompendium. Almost all prescription medications are now distributed on a mass basis rather than a unit basis.” Citation: Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.
Some unit equivalencies have been found as follows:
1 HUT = approx. 6.5 USP
1 DU = approx. 48 USP
LU/FCCFIP = No conversion available to USP
Extra Note: Not all enzyme units compare the same. For example, it has been found that Protease is measured in HUTs or Hemoglobin Unit Tyrosine, Amylase in DUs or Alpha-amalyse Dextrinizing units, Lipase is measured in FCCFIPs or LUs, and Cellulase in CUs or Cellulase units. This seems to be set up to make it difficult for a lay person–who’s not a scientist–to be able to compare unit amounts found on enzyme labels. I have only made an attempt (by way of this article) to begin to understand this subject. It seems to be much more complex than can be understood by reading one book.
As always, I suggest working with your wellness team to ensure you’re taking the proper supplements and doses for your particular health situation.
I am especially interested in some suggestions the book provides about using enzyme supplementation to alleviate allergies and to lose weight. I think I’ll focus on one issue at a time though, until I can fully incorporate the changes since it involves taking one supplement prior to every meal and others in between meals. I’ll write additional articles on those topics, so stay tuned!
What enzymes do you take? Please comment and let us in on your journey!
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