T Nation

Digestive Enzymes?


Since switching over to a much healthier diet, meaning very low carbs, tons of fruits/veggies and protein, I have been having problems with digestion and bloating. I have been increasing my fiber intake (25g daily), but that hasn't helped.

I was wondering if anybody here uses digestive enzymes as a daily supplement? I currently take Papaya complex to help with protein absorption, but I have been looking at some essential enzyme supplements and was wondering that the word on the street is about them. Can they help? is it ok to take them daily?

Any help from the nation would be much appreciated.



I use hcl plus before meals to help with the proteins, and enzymes at the conclusion of the meal to assist with the carbs and fat. The enzymes should have ox bile to help with fats.


The bloating etc may be a temporary sign of the diet change. I notice it happened to me when I went to a lower carb diet, but after a few weeks I had readjusted pretty well without taking any special steps.


Yea, I think it's been about 3-4 weeks since I made the change, so maybe I will wait it out a little longer. I have been consuming a ton of broccoli/onions/peppers which apparently can cause bad bloating, so maybe I will lay off of those for some time and see what happens.

For those of you that do use enzymes, do you use ones similar to what Arms Afire recommended? or what others?


I can feel bloated when I eat alot of fibrous stuff like broccoli. I think it will go away once you adjust.


Maybe it's to much fiber as well. There were a couple of post on this forum a year ago about how fiber really isn't that important for us. There are also some articles that shun down needing extra fiber. I don't have any of them save, so can't help you there. Might want to just use the search for it.


I seem to have a minor problem digesting the amount of whey protein I consume. I take 'Protein Digest' capsules from Now Sports.

No gas, bloating or anything anymore. Unless I run out before my new order arrives.


Thanks for all the advice. I ended up ordering a complete enzyme supplement that contained all of the important ones mentioned in T-Nation articles. I do think that it could help a ton for people like us (those who chow down on 200+ grams of protein) to take supplements like this to help our bodies fully absorb everything were taking in, so I'll let you know how it goes.


I wonder why we need enzymes to help digest protein. Didn't we evolve eating lots or protein and small amounts of veggies/berries? I wonder if ancient man had significant bloating. I would guess not. I doubt ancient man was trying to eat an excess of calories, but still, shouldn't the body be adapted to handle it?


It is an interesting point, but it wasn't 'til I started consuming a lot of veggies that I started to get the bloating, so I think my bodies having trouble with those.

Here are the stats on the complete enzyme that I ordered, let me know what y'all think:

Betaine (HCL) 200mg
Pancreatin 4X 200mg
Papain 50mg
Cellulase 10mg
Ox Bile Extract 100mg
Pepsin Enzymes 50mg
Bromelain 50mg
Papaya Powder 45mg
Bromelain 45mg


Looks like you are good to go. The reason for using enzymes is simple: it isn't what you eat, it's what you digest.

As you age your body does not produce as much of the enzymes and hydrocloric acid as it used to, which is why as you age you seem to have pockets of gas trying to expel itself all the time. The problem is compounded when you are trying to eat 200-300 gms of protein and lots of carbs and fat. The unprocessed carbs tend to cause gas, bloating, heartburn, and for lack of a better term vomit burps. The unprocessed protein just gets pushed into the intestines where it becomes expensive poop.


I agree with you that "ancient man" or even up to 70 years ago, people had less problems digesting foods. But ofcourse they didnt have meats full of hormones and other crap, or veggies that are in soil depleted of nutrients. Also on top of that they where never filled with anti biotics and other stuff, or had chlorinated water. Get my point?
We are at the bottom of the food chain in many ways, we are not operating at full or even half potential.
Also when cooked enzymes die off. Meat and veggies have different degrees where this happens.
When people come to our place we recommend digestive enzymes with ANY cooked or processed foods.
I would go with NOW, Natures Sunshine, or any whole supplement.


Thanks for all the advice, that's why I love this community. I will let y'all know how it goes. I do think that is important to emphasize the importance of proper digestion along with proper eating, because it doesn't matter how much of the right foods your getting if your body can't put them to use.


I use the same exact ones (at least they have the same ingredients). They are cheap and I think they help somewhat. I usually use 1 per meal when I remember, and with a big red meat meal (over 1 lb of steak usually) I'll take 2. I tried taking 3 once with a huge steak meal and it was overkill, I got a burning sensation in my throat, and haven't taken more than 2 at a time since.


You might want to try some probiotics also. Get a high quality probiotic, preferably one that needs to kept refrigerated. You probably only need them for about 30 days to get your gut working well.


Interesting suggestion. All I really know about probiotics are that they are the "good" bacteria. Anybody who could offer a more advanced understanding would be much appreciated. What do they do? and can they be used along with enzymes?


There are some good ones that are 15 strain, 35 billion CFU (colony forming units; a measure of potency). I would take two of these at night with your night time shake or final meal of the day.


What brand is that enzyme formula?


That supplement is from NOW, called Super Enzyme. This post might get wiped, the admin did last time because of competition or something, but after a decent amount of research that's the one that I found to have the best composition and the best reviews.

Do you get kombucha online? Also, is it fine to just add straight up to smoothies? or what would you suggest.


Add what to a smoothie? Kombucha or the enzyme?

Yes to both. I don't like Kombucha because the carbonation bothers me; I do like the taste of some of the fruit flavored drinks.