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It Takes Two: Probiotics and Enzymes for Digestive Balance

Category: Dietary Supplements

Some people believe that a life well lived is a life that has been in balance. Physically, good health is called “homeostasis,” which primarily means that everything is in balance.

Yin-yang is the concept of balance; dark to light. And who can forget the oft-uttered phrase of one of filmdom’s most beloved characters, Forrest Gump, who proclaims his most cherished relationship with Jenny was like “peas and carrots.”

Well, it’s the same with enzymes and probiotics. Much of the spotlight shining on supplements for good health has been on probiotics, and for very good reason; accelerated research continues to demonstrate efficacy of many probiotic strains and prebiotics in supporting digestive and immune health, among other newer biological areas.

For example:

  1. A unique Bacillus subtilis strain has been shown to crowd out irrelevant bacteria via supporting normal immune reaction of intestinal cells and communicating with intestinal cells to maintain healthy functioning of the gut barrier. A clinical study investigated the effects of 5 billion CFU B. subtilis DE111® in the gut microflora. Samples showed not only that there was a healthy increase in both B. subtilis and bifidobacteria, but that it appeared to support the normal breakdown of complex carbohydrates, sugars and fats, thereby enhancing digestive function. Another study showed that individuals who fluctuated between constipation and loose stools who took 1 billion CFU of the B. subtilis DE111 experienced more normalized stools, compared to those in the placebo group.
  2. PreforPro® is a wholesome prebiotic – with 20 studies showing it promotes growth (colonization) of a broad spectrum of immune-augmenting probiotics such as B. bifidum, B. breve, B. animalis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. paracasei, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, Lc. Lactis and B. subtilis but does not have the GI side effects of fiber. Too much harmful or irrelevant bacteria in the gut can prevent nutrients from being absorbed properly – much to the frustration of individuals purposefully eating a nutrient-dense diet to attain good health and well-being. In one clinical study, PreforPro has been shown to encourage a 10-fold increase of B. longum in the ileum and a 100-fold increase in the large intestine. A human clinical study of 15 mg PreforPro substantially accelerated colonization of several beneficial bacteria and showed healthy lipid profile-enhancing activity as well.

However, probiotics and prebiotics are half of the healthy digestion equation. Enzymes are essential in breaking down foods and beverages for processing and absorption of molecular content (good and bad). Your body naturally produces enzymes such as lipase, amylase and protease (that break down fat, carbohydrates and proteins, respectively), but there are a couple of others available to help break down dairy and gluten, a food and food ingredient that, in some, prove challenging to absorb properly.

For example:

  1. A combination of lactase and protease (Dairylytic®) has been shown to break down lactose and protein in dairy products. Lactose is a component of dairy often not well-tolerated; dairy also contains proteins whey and casein, requiring protease to disassemble for fluid digestion. An invitro study showed that the unique enzyme combination was able to break down lactose within 90 minutes, and a specific test (gel electrophoresis) showed even quicker responses – 30 minutes for casein break down and 15 minutes for whey break down. As yogurt often figures prominently in a healthy diet, Dairylytic can help ensure optimal absorption of its nutrients, notably vitamin D and calcium.
  2. Proline-rich and prolyl-enriched peptides found in gluten (the gluten protein groups gliadin and glutenin), necessitate two enzymes — endopeptidase and exopeptidase (Glutalytic®) — for proper breakdown and digestion. Wheat products are known to contain gluten protein groups gliadin and glutenin, and in some people, improperly digested gliadin and glutenin can cause discomfort. Glutalytic has been shown to break down unhydrolyzed gluten peptides into amino acids that are more easily absorbed and utilized. Gel electrophoresis has shown that the administration of the enzyme combination degraded gliadin within 90 minutes. A placebo-controlled study showed that 350 mg of the enzyme combination reduced post-prandial discomforts.
  3. ProHydrolase® is a specific enzyme that breaks down whey protein – still the dominant sports nutrition supplement chosen by men and women who are actively getting into shape. Gel electrophoresis shows that ProHydrolase increases bioavailability of the amino acids, and minimizes amino acids excreted (wasted), meaning more are utilized. A human clinical showed that in those taking ProHydrolase with whey protein had 20% more amino acids in the blood after 270 minutes when compared to those taking whey protein isolate alone.

As the saying goes, you aren’t really what you eat, you are what you digest. When you embark on a healthy diet, don’t rely fully on it to power your health and well-being. Use the proper amounts and types of probiotics/prebiotics and enzymes to help you optimize your nutrition profile – and ensure healthy regularity.


An educational enzyme and probiotic resource

Digestible is your go-to resource for learning about enzymes, probiotics and their impact on digestive health. Keep up with the latest trends in dietary supplements, learn why gut health is critical to overall wellness and immunity, and the science behind it all.

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