The 9 Best Digestive Enzymes of 2020

Ease tummy troubles and support digestion with these supplements

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First Look

Best Overall: Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra at swansonvitamins.com

"Gluten free and made without common allergens, these capsules are an aid in reducing bloating and encouraging healthy digestion."

Best Hypoallergenic: Digestwise Powerful Digestive Enzymes at Amazon

"For those with an especially sensitive gut, these vegetarian and vegan-friendly capsules are a no brainer."

Best Budget: Now Super Enzymes at Amazon

"If fats, carbs, and protein are staples in your diet, pair one capsule with a meal to boost digestion."

Best Chewable: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Chewable Enzymes at Amazon

"When you're on the go or in a pinch, or if tablets aren't your thing, these fruit and veggie-infused chewables do just the trick."

Best Vegan: HealthForce Enzymes at Thrive Market at Amazon

"Vegans can rejoice in finding capsules tailored for them, HealthForce's formula is packed with 15 plant-sourced enzymes."

Best with Probiotics: Zenwise Health Digestive Enzymes at Amazon

"Get on the fast track towards better digestion with an enzyme, prebiotic, and probiotic blend so you can bid adieu to bloating."

Best with Stomach-Soothing Herbs: Hum Flatter Me at Amazon

"HUM Nutrition is confident you'll see results on your first day of taking the capsule, from better digestion to a flatter stomach."

Best for Lactose Intolerance: Lactaid Fast Act Chewable at Amazon

"If dairy is a must, or you don't always know when you'll come across it when out, in steps Lactaid to combat lactose intolerance."

Best for Veggie-Associated Gas: Enzymedica at vitaminshoppe.com

"Made with a high-potency enzyme, Enzymedica provides quick relief in digesting discomfort-inducing sugars from veggies and carbs."

When your body is functioning properly, it naturally produces digestive enzymes to help digestion by breaking down and absorbing nutrients. “Digestive enzymes are required to digest the meals we eat. Meals contain carbs, protein, and fat,” says Orville Kolterman, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Pendulum. “The normal source of digestive enzymes is the pancreas, which secretes a specific enzyme for each of the three food components; for carbs there is amylase, for fat there is lipase, and for protein there are proteases that break down proteins into individual amino acids for absorption.” 

Digestive enzymes are essential for survival. “If a person has an absence of digestive enzymes, they may become malnourished, experience a shortage of essential vitamins, and struggle with GI problems,” says David Schwimmer, MD, gastroenterologist at Florida Digestive Health Specialists. “For example, an enzyme called lactase normally breaks down lactose, when a person eats dairy and turns it into energy. If a person is lactate deficient, they can’t absorb lactose which can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms.”

However, the body isn’t always able to produce enough to keep up. The result is discomfort in the form of bloating, gas, and digestive distress. “There are some people that need enzyme replacements because they are not naturally producing enough on their own,” says Kolterman. “For example, some people struggle with the complex carbohydrates found in legumes, resulting in increased excess gas production, and those individuals benefit from taking digestive enzymes like BeanX. People who know they are lactose intolerant or experience increased flatulence when they take dairy products would benefit from a product with lactase in it. Anyone with a pancreatic insufficiency like chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis is likely on prescription medications which offer medical digestive enzyme solutions.”

Often, the solution is digestive enzymes supplements readily available over the counter. These can be an effective and reliable treatment for various gastrointestinal concerns, like IBS, low stomach acid, or age-related enzyme insufficiency. Still, there is limited research to support adding enzymes as an overall digestive solution and much of the research to date is done on prescription-only supplements. “It remains to be seen if dietary enzymes sold as dietary supplements provide any benefit,” says Kolterman. “They are not regulated by the FDA and there is no convincing clinical data proving they have a specific effect. If you look carefully at the label, all the claims will have an asterisk by them.” 

What he and other experts do recommend are probiotics. “Some people who believe they need a digestive enzyme, because of regular stomach aches or other GI problems, would likely benefit from a probiotic. Probiotics are shown to replenish and reestablish the bacteria in the gut to help the body break down fiber and restore normal digestive function. When buying a probiotic, or digestive enzyme, always look for clinically proven solutions and consult a medical professional before taking.”

Keep in mind: Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra

Pure Encapsulations

Courtesy of Pure Encapsulations

Each serving includes the proprietary enzyme blend (protease, lipase, amylase) at 160 mg. It also features bile salts, taurine, and herbals to promote healthy gallbladder function, supports the liver, and lipid use, in addition to boosting overall digestive function. It’s free of wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and other unnecessary excipients. Customers report feeling less bloated when taking the supplement, and many turn to this formula after gallbladder removal.

Best Hypoallergenic: Digestwise Powerful Digestive Enzymes

These capsules each contain 10 enzymes, Proteolytic Plus, and they are all gluten-free, vegan, and developed for those with sensitive stomachs or allergies. The microbe-derived enzymes help your body break down and digest proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dairy products, sugars, and fiber. The result, according to the company, is more energy and ability to eat a wider variety of foods without feeling sluggish or experiencing stomach issues.

Best Budget: Now Super Enzymes

With double bottles comes double the digestive system boosting power. These Now Super Enzymes are a customer favorite, with more than 200 five-star reviews, so you can rest easy buying in bulk and saving money. These capsules are formulated to break down fats, carbs, and proteins, optimize nutrient availability, and support healthy digestion overall. Happy customers report that’s exactly what they got.

Best Chewable: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Chewable Enzymes

There isn’t always water available to take a capsule comfortably, so chewable supplements are convenient in a pinch. These from Garden of Life have 29 different fruits and vegetables as well as a blend of powerful digestive enzymes and 120,000 units of papain. Customers praise the bloat-busting power and pleasant taste of these supplements.

Best Vegan: HealthForce Enzymes at Thrive Market

Digestion Enhancement Enzymes is a comprehensive and potent array of enzymes for optimized digestion and absorption of all types of foods and nutrients. Each enzyme has a specific purpose, and none are wasted in this 100% plant-based formula. Digestion Enhancement Enzymes focus on the quality, pH range, and wide spectrum of enzymes.

Best with Probiotics: Zenwise Health Digestive Enzymes

No need to steer clear of hard to digest foods anymore with Zenwise Health’s Advanced Multi Enzyme System to help you digest fried, spicy, raw, and processed foods, plus dairy and acidic fruits and veggies. It relieves gas, bloating, and discomfort when taken prior to meals. The formula features turmeric, ginger, green papaya, inulin, apple pectin, bladderwrack, fennel, and wakame to support gut health and stomach comfort. Plus, prebiotic and probiotics (L-Acidophilus, L-Plantarum, L-Salivarius) promote healthy gut bacteria and enzymes when your natural sources aren’t cutting it.

Best with Stomach-Soothing Herbs: Hum Flatter Me

Hum’s formula of 18-full spectrum enzymes helps decrease bloating, breaks down proteins, carbs, fiber, lactose, fats, and it improves digestion. It also contains ginger, fennel, and peppermint. Flatter Me is the result of a one-year-long research project, during which the company analyzed food habits and choices to develop the perfect enzyme for a flatter stomach. (Read: No more bloat.) These vegetarian, gluten free, and non-GMO capsules are packed with pure and potent nutrients. The result is better digestion, less bloat, and, yes, a flatter stomach.

Best for Lactose Intolerance: Lactaid Fast Act Chewable

The key to combating a lactose intolerance is lactase supplements, and the most popular on the market is Lactaid. When taken right before a lactose-laden meal, these chewable tablets act like the natural enzyme lactase. The chewable form means there are no longer obstacles between you and your fave dairy, so bring on the ice cream, milkshakes, and cheesecake.

Best for Veggie-Associated Gas: Enzymedica

Veggie Gest

From the enzyme experts comes this high-potency alpha galactosidase enzyme, which helps digest sugars from beans, grains, raw vegetables, and other carbohydrates that create digestive discomfort and gas. It’s ideal support for vegan and raw diets in an all-natural formula. One capsule per meal offers relief and digestive support. The multiple, fast-acting Thera-blend enzymes work throughout the digestive system offering consistent relief.

Final Verdict

The top recommendation is the Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra. Another popular choice is Lactaid. If lactose and dairy products are the primary cause of discomfort and irregular digestion, Lactaid is the top choice. It features lactase, which acts like the natural enzyme to help digest milk products with ease. Both soothe stomach upset before it starts and open up a wide array of foods sans discomfort, bloating, and gas. No matter what, consult your physician and ask about possible contraindications and which might work best for you.

What To Look For in a Digestive Enzyme

Active Ingredients: There are many specialized digestive enzymes to match whatever your system lacks. If dairy is problematic, then a lactase supplement should be your go-to. 

It’s fairly easy to recognize different digestive enzymes and their function. For example, proteases break down proteins, lipases break down lipids (or dietary fat), and amylases break down carbs.

Studies suggest supplementing with digestive enzymes in functional dyspepsia patients having symptoms that may aid in the digestive process. It leads to the alleviation of symptoms associated with undigested and poorly absorbed nutrients. It also says digestive enzyme supplementation enhances the normal actions of digestive enzymes during the gastric phase of food digestion. 

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews. 

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  1. Majeed M, Majeed S, Nagabhushanam K, Arumugam S, Pande A, Paschapur M, et al. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a multienzyme complex in patients with functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Med Food. 2018;21(11):1120-1128. doi:10.1089%2Fjmf.2017.4172

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