Do Digestive Enzymes Actually Help

Do Digestive Enzymes Actually Help?

I hear this from patients all the time.

“I’ve tried all sorts of products to support my gut and digestion. This includes probiotics and prebiotics of course, which you hear a lot about. Why don’t we hear much about digestive enzymes?”

“Do digestive enzymes help digestion?”

Since digestive enzymes are essential for digestion, you would think that supplements of these enzymes would be an obvious way to support digestion and to help prevent occasional discomfort resulting from poor digestion.

The answer is Yes. They can help however there are a few things to think about first.


  • Digestion should start in the brain with hunger pangs and the senses.        Like he smell of your favorite food and the look or the thought (memory) of the food you are about to consume.
  •  That then signals the mouth to start to make saliva with amylase to start the process of breaking down food. This is also where we should savor and chew our foods. More on that later.
  • The Stomach also gets the signal from the brain to start to produce HCL to breakdown proteins.  The change in PH in the stomach (More Acidic), triggers the Small Intestine to signal the Liver and Gallbladder to make Bile to breakdown fats and the Pancreas to breakdown starches.  The change in PH also provides our  body with protection from toxins and bugs.


  • Brain Trauma from a Traumatic Injury can effect signaling to the Gut.
  • Stress: (I think at this point this is everyone) Stress shuts down the production of HCL because you do not need to digest as you run away from the tiger/virus. HCL also decreases with age.  If HCL is not produced, then it has a downstream effect on other enzymes needed for digestion.
  •  Chewing is an essential part of digestion. Enzymes can’t access food unless it’s well mashed and mixed with water into a smooth liquid before it travels into the Small Intestine.  One of my pet peeves is that very few people chew food well. All too often I see people gulping down food in the car or on the run without chewing it thoroughly.
  • Chewing thoroughly seems especially worthwhile in the case of protein-containing foods. Some proteins, for example gluten, are particularly hard to digest, and incompletely digested proteins can be irritating to the gut.
  • Too much food at once.
  • Eat food all day long and never give the digestive track a rest.
  • Highly processed food with lots of added chemicals that need to be broken down
  • Too much of one kind of food. EG: Fat, Sugar/ Carbs or Protein
  • Food Sensitivities. Some of us find certain foods hard to digest. We may anticipate unpleasant consequences such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or symptoms elsewhere in the body.


Questions to ask yourself. Do I bloat or have gas if:

  • I eat certain foods?
  • I eat too much?
  • All the time?


Based on your answers to the questions above, I recommend the following:

Everyone due to the stress of the last 18months:

Digest Forte (bitter herbs to stimulate digestion 1 before meals and 2 Zypan (HCL and Pepsin) per meal to help break down proteins and stimulate the pancreas and the Gall Bladder to release enzymes.

NOTE: if you are sensitive to Zypan, then healing the stomach lining is needed for a few weeks. TEXT me if you need help with this.

If you struggle digesting starches and fibers add:

Enzycore (a good all around enzymes formula with all the enzymes needed for the breakdown of all types of food and it contains Glutamine to support the intestinal lining.

If you struggle digesting Fat then add: (burp after a meal)

AF Betafood 2/3 per meal will help thin the bile

Choline 2/ meal. It contains bile salts to help support breakdown of fats. A must if you have had your Gallbladder removed.

Cholacol 2 meal. If you have light colored stool.

What digestive enzymes do is support healthy digestion, allowing nutrients from foods to be absorbed. And they may help promote digestive comfort.

You can order these amazing products at

If you are struggling with Digestive Challenges and GI issues and need help then please reach out.  Text PH 214 8696404 or email for an appointment

I am available in person in the Cedar Park/Leander area of TX or Virtual via Zoom.

It is not normal to have chronic digestive issues.

Best and have a healthy week.

Dr Pia