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We need digestive enzymes to completely break down food, which improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
But as we age, our bodies produce fewer digestive enzymes, which can lead to uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms and the need for supplements.
If you’re in the market for a digestive enzyme that supports a variety of food breakdown, from beans to Brie to brussels sprouts, keep reading for our top six picks and why we chose them.
Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro
Combining 13 digestive enzymes and an energy-boosting blend of compounds with a proprietary technology to survive varying pHs in the GI tract, this supplement supports a wide variety of food breakdown.
Proprietary technology works in all pHs of the GI tract; Potent enzyme formula to break down all types of carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and protein; Contains ingredients to boost energy and improve nutrient absorption
High doses of 13 digestive enzymes; Energy blend of ATP, magnesium citrate, and CoQ10
Best for: People needing the maximum amount of digestive support for a wide range of foods.
As our best overall digestive enzyme supplement, Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro contains 13 digestive enzymes and a blend of compounds including ATP and coenzyme Q10 to boost energy and facilitate digestion and nutrient absorption.
Enzymedica uses a proprietary Thera-blend™ technology that enables the enzymes to function throughout the varying pHs of the digestive tract.
The vast quantity of digestive enzymes in this supplement facilitates the breakdown of all foods, including fiber, carbohydrates, cruciferous vegetables, beans, protein, fat, and dairy products.
Uniquely, this supplement contains cellular energy in the form of the ATP, which can help cells better absorb nutrients.
It also has coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)—as a coenzyme, CoQ10 helps other enzymes (like these 13 digestive enzymes) work better in the body.
Best Gut-Supporting Formula: Ancient Nutrition Digestive Enzymes
Contains prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and fermented botanicals and functional mushrooms
Supports gut health from multiple angles—not just food breakdown
Best for: People able to spend extra money on a high-strength supplement to heal their digestive issues.
With a combination of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, and functional ingredients, Ancient Nutrition Digestive Enzymes are an expertly formulated supplement to target gut issues from all angles.
As opposed to other supplements, which just use digestive enzymes, Ancient Nutrition blends over a dozen compounds to facilitate digestion and reduce gas, bloating, and constipation.
The primary digestive enzymes in this supplement are cellulase to break down fibers, protease to break down protein, lipase to digest fat, lactase for dairy, and amylase for starchy carbohydrates.
It also contains natural plant enzymes, like bromelain—derived from pineapple—and kiwifruit, which has a protease (enzyme for protein breakdown) called actinidain.
Plus, this supplement has the benefit of 2 billion CFUs of probiotics, prebiotic fiber from flax seed, and a functional botanical and mushroom blend—fermented turkey tail mushroom, ginger, turmeric, and black pepper—making it one of the best digestive enzymes for bloating.
Best on a Budget: NOW Super Enzymes
Highly affordable option
Large quantity of capsules per bottle
Does not contain lactase to help with dairy breakdown
Best for: People who like taking supplements with natural plant-based ingredients.
Solaray Super Digestaway contains several plant enzymes, making this a good option for people wanting more natural supplements.
In addition to providing four times the typical amount of pancreatic enzymes, Solaray Super Digestaway contains the enzymes papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple, plus peppermint and ginger to alleviate bloating and aloe vera gel to soothe the gut.
Plus, this supplement uniquely offers porcine bile powder, an ingredient sometimes used in traditional Chinese medicine practices that is thought to facilitate fat digestion and liver function.
However, the enzymes in this supplement are mostly primed for protein, fat, and simple carbohydrate breakdown—not dairy or fibrous carbohydrates like beans or cruciferous vegetables.
Best for Immune and Digestive Support: Kyolic Cleanse & Digestion
Garlic extract supports immune function
Helps break down fat, protein, and certain carbohydrates
It also provides ginger and the enzymes lipase, protease, and glucanase to digest beta-glucans in grains like wheat, oats, and rye.
Although this supplement doesn’t contain as many digestive enzymes as others, it can be helpful for people with minor digestive problems who don’t need large or diverse quantities of enzymes.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins that help speed up a reaction in the body—in the case of digestive enzymes, these proteins help facilitate the breakdown of food into smaller building blocks that our cells can use.
There are dozens of enzymes that are involved with food breakdown, but the three primary digestive enzyme families include:
Amylase: Breaks down starchy carbohydrates into single sugars like glucose.
Protease: Breaks down protein into amino acids.
Lipase: Breaks down fats into fatty acids and glycerol molecules.
However, there are dozens of other enzymes that we can supplement with to help us break down and absorb foods, many of which were found in the supplements above.
Some examples include:
What Does It Break Down?
Found naturally in pineapple and helps break down protein.
Found naturally in papaya and helps break down protein.
Cellulase and hemicellulase
Plant fibers and cell walls, like those in fruits and vegetables.
Phytates, which are the primary form of phosphorus found in plants like beans, grains, and nuts.
Pectin, which is found in the cell walls of plants like apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and apricots.
Breaks down sucrose (table sugar) into smaller sugars (glucose and fructose).
Breaks down beta-glucan fibers found in grains like oats and barley.
For the carbohydrates found in beans and legumes.
Breaks down dairy sugars (lactose).
FAQs About Digestive Enzymes
What Is the Most Effective Digestive Enzyme?
The most effective digestive enzyme supplement will depend on what your body has trouble digesting.
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