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What are digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes play a major role in the digestion of food. Secreted naturally along the upper gastrointestinal tract, digestive enzymes help the body break down food so nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Specific digestive enzymes help the body break down certain food elements. For example, the enzyme protease acts on protein, amylase on carbohydrates, cellulase on fiber, lipase on fat and lactase on dairy sugar.

Why you should supplement

While the body produces its own digestive enzymes, it may not be enough to completely break down cooked or processed foods. Raw foods contain their own natural enzymes that activate in the acidic environment of the stomach. During cooking and processing, these natural enzymes are destroyed. Fortunately, digestive enzyme supplements can replace destroyed enzymes, resulting in fewer digestive problems (indigestion, gas and bloating) and a more complete release and absorption of food nutrients.

  • Enzyme - Helps you digest and utilize:
  • Alpha-galactosidase - Carbohydrates in legumes that cause flatulence
  • Amylase - Carbohydrates
  • Beta-glucanase - Beta-glucan, a polysaccharide
  • Cellulase - Plant fiber
  • Glucoamylase - Starches (to glucose)
  • Invertase - Sucrose (table sugar)
  • Lactase - Lactose (milk sugar)
  • Lipase - Fats
  • Malt diastase (aka maltose) - Disaccharides (to monosaccharides)
  • Pectinase - Pectin in fruits
  • Phytase - Minerals bound to phytic acid in plants
  • Xylanase - Xylan sugars found in corn and other grains

What are systemic enzymes

Systemic enzymes, also called proteolytic enzymes, help support the immune system and help the body with normal inflammatory processes. Systemic enzymes containing select blends of acidic, alkaline and neutral proteases have been shown to reduce pain, swelling and redness associated with inflammatory conditions. They are a safe alternative to Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which have been linked to adverse side effects.

Enzymes, Inc. uses a proprietary blend of proteases called pHysioProtease™ in many of its vegetarian-based systemic products. In a recent study, pHysioProtease™ was evaluated with three commercially-available protease blends recommended for systemic use. The results revealed that pHysioProtease™ provided significantly more systemic enzyme activity per dose.

The benefits of proteolytic (systemic) enzymes

Enzymes taken with food are completely dedicated to the digestive process. However, enzymes taken on an empty stomach can be absorbed intact into the bloodstream, where they appear to help restore and maintain healthy blood and tissue functions. Although lipase and amylase are occasionally recommended for systemic use, the research has shown that proteolytic enzymes given on an empty stomach can have a beneficial effect on immune and inflammatory processes.

Enzymes, Inc. uses different blends of the various acidic, alkaline and neutral proteases, depending upon the intended purpose of each product. It is well documented protease acts differently in the tissues of the body than it does in the digestive tract. This means, to achieve maximum health benefits, a different blend of proteases should be used in systemic products compared to digestive products. Yet most other systemic protease products on the market contain the same protease blend found in digestive products. In addition, the amount of protease needed for systemic activity is often much greater than that needed for digestion.

pHysioProtease™ is a proprietary blend of proteases available exclusively in select products distributed by Enzymes, Inc. Research has shown that pHysioProtease has the precise combination of proteases for optimal activity in the physiological conditions of the blood and other tissues of the body and provides maximum patented systemic action.

A resent study comparing pHysioProtease with three commercially available protease blends recommended for systemic use revealed pHysioProtease provides up to 52 times more systemic enzyme activity per dose.


Many of the digestive and systemic products on the market today contain enzymes derived from animal sources, such as the pancreatic tissue of pigs. However, microbial or vegetarian enzymes have several distinct advantages when compared to animal enzymes.

Vegetarian enzyme supplements can provide greater digestive or systemic activity per capsule or tablet than animal enzyme supplements. Vegetarian enzymes can be concentrated more than animal enzymes, so more activity can be included in each capsule or tablet. This means vegetarian enzymes require fewer capsules or tablets than animal enzymes to provide equivalent digestive or systemic action, which results in better patient compliance. This is particularly significant for systemic use of proteolytic enzymes where large numbers of pancreatin-based tablets are often recommended. ...Read more

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*The information contained on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice provided by a physician or other health care professional. Readers are asked to consult other sources as well as to obtain direct consultation with a physician when making decisions about their health care. The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease.