Probiotics Vs Digestive Enzymes
Some people wonder if they can take probiotics and digestive enzymes together, or if they need to be taken separately. The truth is, they can not only be taken together, but it is actually an ideal scenario to take them together. This is because they both play very different, but also very supportive roles in improving gut health.
Probiotics help to create a healthy gut microbiome that protects the digestive system from harmful gut bacteria and creates a balanced environment for digestion. Digestive enzymes improve the actual process of digestion to ensure that your food is properly broken down and absorbed. Together, probiotics and digestive enzymes help you get the most nutrition out of the food you eat while supporting healthy digestion.
Plus, both supplements are considered safe to take in most cases. Since each type has a different function, there is no risk for how the two interact if you take them together. Taking both is most likely to actually offer the most benefit.
Popular Types Of Probiotics
Three popular classes of probiotics are:
Many supplements in the market contain strains from one, two, or all threeof these classes of probiotics.
Well-studied strains that are worth looking for in your probioticsupplements include:
To find an excellent probiotic supplement to meet your individual needs, I highly recommend checking out What are Probiotics Benefits, Dangers, and Best Sources?
The Flora In Your Gut
Before we get into prebiotics, lets talk about the microbiome of your gut. Trillions of bacteria live in your digestive tractresearchers estimate about 1 to 2 pounds worth of bacteria is in your digestive tract at any given moment.1 There are both good and bad bacteria there, and the goal is to make sure the good outweighs the bad for optimal microbiome health.
Eating a diet rich in real foods, along with some fermented probiotic foods, is a great way to help maintain that balance. You can also help the good microbes flourish by taking probiotics supplements, prebiotics, or both. If you follow our blog, you may have read about probiotics in Trust Your Gut Health: Build a Healthier Gut with Probiotics. Probiotic supplements help reinforce good gut flora, delivering beneficial microbes right where you need them most. But what about prebiotics?
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Probiotics And Digestive Enzymes: How They Can Improve Nutrition
Probiotics and digestive enzymes are two popular dietary supplements While there are differences between the role of digestive enzymes and probiotics, both compounds have been praised for their improvement on digestive health. Learn what probiotics and digestive enzymes are, where to find them, and how they may improve nutrition.
Can They Be Taken Together
Taking both digestive enzymes and probiotics together can produce a best-case solution for your digestion.
Not only is the process of digestion improved to ensure food is broken down and absorbed properly, the digestive system is also protected from harmful gut bacteria creating a balanced and healthy environment for digestion.
Both supplements can be safely consumed at the same time in most cases. In fact, taking both could actually provide the most benefit to your body.
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When Should You Take Digestive Enzymes And Probiotics
The goal when taking probiotics is to get the probiotic supplement through your stomach acid as soon as possible. For this reason, many recommend taking probiotics on an empty stomach however, this is a misconception.
Even taking a probiotic at least thirty minutes before your next meal or in the evening before bed can be beneficial timing. You also want to take digestive enzymes right before you start eating or when you are eating. Since probiotics and digestive enzymes are different and perform different jobs, it is also okay to take them together.
How Do I Know If My Body Doesnt Produce Enough Digestive Enzymes
While it is rare that healthy people dont produce enough digestive enzymes, some conditions can cause underproduction. Diseases related to your pancreas like pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, and pancreatitis can prevent your body from producing an adequate number of digestive enzymes.
In addition, severe cases of Celiac disease and Crohns disease can also affect production. In any of these cases, your doctor will advise you.
Some symptoms that may indicate an enzyme deficiency include the lack of muscle coordination, brain degeneration, learning problems, the loss of muscle tone, feeding and swallowing difficulties, and an enlarged liver or spleen.
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What Types Of Bacteria Are In Probiotics
Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Other bacteria may also be used as probiotics, and so may yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii. Different types of probiotics may have different effects. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesnt necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus or any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing. Therefore, choosing the right typeor typesof probiotics is essential.
While probiotics are living organisms, digestive enzymes are non-living proteins. These proteins are secreted primarily in the pancreas, and all along the digestive tract in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine. Their primary role is to help break down different foods so that they are small enough for the body to extract and absorb the necessary nutrients. Each type is unique to the role it plays in digestion and the type of macronutrient that it breaks down.
Some of the most common digestive enzymes include:
Amylase: Helps break down carbohydrates.
Protease: Breaks down protein into amino acids.
Lipase: Helps to break down and digest fat.
Some common health conditions and food intolerances associated with decreased digestive enzyme production in the body include:
- Cystic fibrosis
Other Types Of Digestive Enzymes
Other types of enzymes include lactase, alpha-galactosidase, phytase, and cellulase.
Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose. This is a sugar found in dairy products. Lactase is found in the small intestine. .
Alpha-galactosidase is an enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates like beans and peas . Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down grains and seed oil . These enzymes are found in the small intestine .
Cellulase is an enzyme found only in vegetables. It breaks down a plants cellulose or fiber into a beta-glucose. Beta-glucose is a type of carb found in plants . The breakdown of cellulose in humans varies depending on the gut bacteria present .
These enzymes have also been made into dietary supplements. These are derived from both animal and plant sources and contain a combination of lipase, amylase, proteases, and/or other enzymes .
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What’s The Difference Between Probiotics And Digestive Enzymes
There are two types of digestive aids: digestive enzymes and probiotics. Both help with digestion and overall health, but in different ways. Determining which you need cannot be apparent because each sign may overlap.
There is a distinction between digestive enzymes and other proteins in that they are responsible for breaking down food molecules into usable components.
Probiotics are living bacteria organisms that assist in digestive and overall health by residing in the gut microbiome.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics have different but complementary functions and may work even better together.
Different probiotics can help with additional digestive enzymes. For example, the Lactobacillus probiotic can create lactase . While the Bifidobacterium species probiotic can assist in breaking down fiber.
Enzymes help probiotics by breaking down food molecules so that they are small enough to be used by the body. This process, known as digestion, also provides nutrients that beneficial gut bacteria need to survive.
The Role Of Digestive Enzymes
These are catalytic proteins that break down food into smaller particles for absorption. Different enzymes are responsible for breaking down different foods amylase breaks carbohydrates into sugars, lipase breaks down fat and protease breaks down proteins into amino acids. Enzymatic digestion begins as soon as food enters the mouth and happens all the way through to the intestines. When you have enzyme deficiencies, certain foods cannot be broken down properly, which causes health problems.
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What Exactly Are Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are proteins your body produces and uses to break down your food into energy and nutrients. They differ from probiotics, which are bacteria or yeasts that offer health benefits, and prebiotics, which are fibers and other non-digestible compounds that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Specific types of enzymes break down carbohydrates, proteins or fats. Digestive enzymes are released and mix with your food throughout digestion, starting in the mouth and continuing in the stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine.
When your body doesnt produce enough of certain digestive enzymes, undigested compounds can make their way into your large intestine and cause unpleasant symptoms such as the gas some experience after eating beans or rob your body of essential energy and nutrients.
Digestive Enzymes Vs Probiotics: Do You Know The Difference
There are a lot of catchphrases, technical terms, and supplement names thrown around about gut health these daysbut do you know what they mean? For instance, what’s the difference between probiotics and digestive enzymes? What does each of them do for you, and do you really need to be taking one or both of them? I mean, arent they both going to make your gut feel better?
Well, the answer is very likely yes! But its important to know the difference, and arm yourself with the right knowledge and products that your body really needs. To put it briefly, probiotic supplements help maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut, while digestive enzymes break down food so that nutrients can be absorbed. So which one is right for you? Lets do a deeper dive into probiotics and digestive enzymesthe benefits they provide, the problems they help you solve, and, ultimately, which one youre going to want to add to your regimen to start feeling your best!
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How To Know If You Should Take Probiotics Or Digestive Enzymes
So, how do you know which one to take? Or should you take both? The answer lies in your symptoms, or the signals your body is giving you. Some common clues you might need probiotics include:*
- Issues with regularity
- Mood challenges, like anxiousness and irritability
- Need further support of your immune system
“A disrupted gut flora opens the door for unfriendly microbes to step in and take over, creating all sorts of issues,” Pedre explains. And when it comes to digestive enzymes, Amy Shah, M.D., says they’re especially helpful for people who aren’t producing adequate amounts of enzymes on their own or have low stomach acid.
Terry Wahls, M.D., previously told mbg that people with bloating and gas, especially those who are over the age of 50, are also more likely to be at risk for low production of enzymes and low stomach acid.
Even if you don’t have a known digestive issue, the following are some signs you may need digestive enzymes:
- Lack of bowel movement regularity
- Frequent burping
- Feeling especially full after a meal, a “brick in your stomach” feeling
It’s also possible that both probiotics and digestive enzymes could be helpful. You can generally take digestive enzymes and probiotics together, since they do different things. In fact, it’s often encouraged. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your routine.
What Are Prebiotics Vs Probiotics
We often compare probiotics and prebiotics to a garden. Adding probiotics is like adding more plants to your garden, and adding prebiotics is like fertilizing your garden. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that helps feed and stimulate those good microbes.2
Not all dietary fiber makes an effective prebiotic, although high intakes of dietary fiber in general offer many other benefits, especially for the heart and digestive system, and it can help with weight management.2 To be classified as a prebiotic, dietary fiber must be able to resist breaking down and being absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract so that it can reach the intestines, then it must selectively stimulate only the good microbes there.2
Foods naturally high in prebiotic fiber include leeks, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, wheat, oats, and soybeans. But if prebiotic foods arent on your menu every day, which is often the case with modern diets, a prebiotic supplement can help. You can also get the best of both in a combined probiotic supplement with prebiotic fiber.
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Why Should I Supplement With Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes And Probiotics
Customer: Eating is something Ive never had a problem with. Im pretty good about keeping up with my diet and I try not to indulge too much, but even though I watch what I eat, Ive been experiencing some discomfort after meals lately. And I talked with my doctor, and he said that the issue isnt what Im eating, but actually whats happening in my gut.
Michael A. Smith, MD: As we age, our bodies will produce fewer digestive enzymes, and this can lead to a bloated feeling and other discomforts after a meal. To help promote optimal digestion, Life Extension has created Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes, available with and without probiotics. These potent formulations provide 10 vegetarian friendly enzymes that support healthy digestion and promote better absorption of nutrients.
Customer: After taking Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes for a while, Ive noticed a big change for the better. I love that I can go out with my friends for dinner now and not have to leave early because my meal didnt agree with me!
Probiotics For Immune Health
Probiotics prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. This can help improve function of the immune system [R
Immune responses were increased by the presence of Lactobacillus. Pathogen destroying immune cells and antibodies formed after taking this probiotic .
Other research shows a reduction in respiratory and urinary tract infections among those taking this type of probiotic
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What Symptoms Or Conditions Can Probiotics Help
Just as with digestiveenzymes, probiotics can help with a variety of gastrointestinal conditions. Theyare typically considereduseful for:
- irritable bowel syndrome
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Lets Compare These Two Digestive Aids! A Small Recap:
Before we go into how to takedigestive enzymes and probiotics together , lets recap abit.
- naturally produced by the body to break down food
- classified into three main categories corresponding to food groups
- can be taken as supplements or found in foods
- are not produced by your body
- can be taken as a supplement or found in foods
When Not To Take Probiotics
Weakened Intestinal Wall or Intestinal Function
There have been cases in which probiotics have triggered infections inpeople with underdeveloped intestines or those with trauma to their gut. This includes:
- people after intestinal surgery
- those with short-gut syndrome
- very young infants
If any of these sound like you , probiotics might not be a great choice for you.
Weak Immune System
Another instance when probiotics might not be a good idea is if you have aweak immune system. You may have a weakened immune system from:
- an HIV infection
- an autoimmune disorder
Since probiotics are bacteria and your immune system is responsible for keeping bacteria from infecting your body, having a weakimmune system while taking probiotics can put you at risk for getting aninfection.
Certain strains of probiotics have a higher risk of leading to an infectionthan others. Because of this, you have to be very careful whichprobiotics you are taking when facing immune deficiencies. Please donttake a probiotic without talking to your doctor if your immune system isnt intip-top shape.
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What To Look For In A Digestive Enzyme
The potency of the enzyme depends on how it is made . Animal and plant-based digestive enzymes are available. Enzymes derived from animals like pork and cows are typically used to make digestive enzymes. How well this type of enzyme works depends on the age, species, sex, and breeding of the animal .
Pork enzymes are similar to humans. They are about 30 to 50 percent more effective than beef sources. However, enzymes made from plants and microbes also produced positive results. Their popularity is growing. They also provide a solution for people who are vegetarian and vegan .
Digestive enzyme supplements are not regulated. So the amount and activity can vary by brand . When choosing a digestive enzyme look for one that is third-party testing for quality
Does Swanson Digestive Enzymes Work
Its important to note that when taking any new supplement like Swanson Digestive Enzymes, that every person will have different results. To achieve the best results with Swanson Digestive Enzymes it is vital to follow the instructions and be aware that everyones body and digestive system is different. With that in mind, the results of taking Swanson Digestive Enzymes will vary unless you make changes in your diet as well. Then and only then will it be possible to see results and relief from gas, gluten intolerance, IBS, lactose intolerance, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
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Can I Get Digestive Enzymes From The Food I Eat
Theres no real evidence to suggest that enzyme-rich foods such as pineapples and avocados help your digestion. Youre better off building a well-balanced diet that contains fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. These foods will naturally help support the work your digestive enzymes are already doing.
Denhard suggests cutting highly processed, fatty foods from your diet, especially fried foods. Its much more likely that someone will have GI irritation or other problems because of unhealthy foods, not an enzyme insufficiency, she says.