Many people begin the new year with new and strenuous exercise regimens than can sometimes result in muscle and tendon strain or even injury. This is frustrating to anyone who is trying to start the year off in a new direction.  If you are starting a new exercise program, try adding our RepairZyme formula formulated with enzymes, herbs and minerals specifically designed to support the muscles and provide nutrient support for healthy skin, tissue repair, and overall muscular, skeletal, and tissue health.* RepairZyme

Other RepairZyme benefits:

• Nutritional Support. The well-tolerated ingredients in RepairZyme have been selected from nutrient-dense food sources such as broccoli and other freeze-dried vegetables, fruit, and herbs that naturally supply phytochemicals and rebuilding nutrients.*

• Herbal Ingredients. Mojave yucca and butcher’s broom along with whole foods and antioxidants help maintain muscles, bones, tendons, and skin.*

• Enzyme Blend. This formula is complete with a unique proprietary enzyme delivery system of lipase, cellulase, amylase, and protease designed to help deliver the ingredients contained in each capsule. Plant enzymes maximize digestion of nutrients, production of energy, and aid in immune support.*

Probiotics are everywhere these days. I’ve even seen them as an ingredient in tortillas! With digestive disorders affecting one out of every four Americans, the demand has never been greater for probiotic supplementation to help with regular elimination, promote GI health and support a healthy immune system.

Let’s answer some common questions many people have about probiotics and probiotic supplements.

What exactly is intestinal flora?
In the scientific literature, flora is defined as the microorganisms that normally inhabit a bodily organ. The natural flora found in the human intestines is referred to as native microbiotica. Microbiota are unique to each individual and affected by diet, lifestyle, and environment.

How are probiotics different than enzymes, and why do so many people get them confused?Probiotics and enzymes are similar in that they both support healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.

  • Digestive enzymes are proteins that help breakdown (digest) food into nutrients for absorption into the blood stream.
  • Probiotics are live supplemental microorganisms that support the native microbiota. 
Many probiotic strains are also known for their ability to secrete enzymes and/or metabolize food in the intestines, thereby assisting the digestive process.

What are probiotics?
“Probiotics” refers to a group of microorganisms that colonize the GI tract, where they live in symbiosis with their host. Within that symbiotic relationship, they provide several benefits to the host, including the synthesis of several important molecules and nutrients as well as the control of potentially pathogenic organisms.

The human gastrointestinal tract hosts over 400 species of mircroorganisms. Some of these are friendly to the human host as mentioned above, whereas others are potentially harmful, should they be allowed to grow uncontrollably.

Why do I need probiotics? 
Taking probiotics, like our Plantadophilus, offers many health benefits such as improved digestion, immunity, and elimination.

  • Digestion – Probiotics produce enzymes such as protease, lipase, and lactase to further assist with protein and fat digestion as well as reduce problems associated with lactose intolerance. Probiotics also produce B vitamins, particularly folic acid and B12, which are biocatalysts in food digestion.
  • Immunity – Intestinal microbes are a key factor in the development of the post-natal immune system and in acquired immune response and inflammation. Probiotics produce the natural antibiotic-like substance acidophilin and inhibit the growth of opportunistic microorganisms.
  • Elimination – Probiotics act as natural stool softeners and facilitate the healthy and timely elimination of waste.

Are most probiotics lactose free?
Lactobacillus denotes ”lactic acid producing” or “acid loving.” The term “Lacto” does not indicate a relation to lactose or dairy, as is commonly misunderstood. Lactose may be used in the medium to grow the probiotic culture; however, this is completely removed from the final product. Our probiotic formula, Plantadophilus, is lactose-free, and prefers a pH of 6.5 to 6.8.

Are Enzyme Essentials’ probiotics GI tract stable? 
Lactobacilli probiotics are GI tract stable by nature. That is a given according to an understanding of digestion and the nature of probiotics. Some of the bacteria will be lost in transit, but the vast majority survive the GI tract. This is especially true when taken during times when the digestive system is dormant, such as first thing in the morning or at bedtime. When digestion is not in progress, the stomach pH is closer to neutral. Only in the peak of digestion does it hit 2.0 – 3.0, and even then some probiotics survive.

Enzyme Essentials’ Plantadophilus probiotic is live bacteria and is assigned a one-year shelf life. The probiotics are manufactured under refrigeration and inventoried under refrigeration prior to shipment. The products are not shipped on ice as it has been determined unnecessary for short periods of time. However, to help preserve maximum activity for the longest amount of time, we strongly recommend that the customer refrigerate our probiotics to maintain activity once they have been received. You may occasionally come across some probiotics that use an enteric coating. We believe this is used to increase shelf life, and it may improve gastric survival but is not absolutely necessary. Enzyme Essentials prefers refrigeration over enteric coating to avoid the use of additives that provide no nutritional value.

When traveling, it is recommended to only take with you only the amount needed, perhaps in a separate container or pillbox. For short periods of time, non-refrigeration is acceptable. The probiotics may lose a slight amount of activity but do not go “bad” if left in warmer environments.

Why isn’t eating yogurt enough for probiotic repopulation?
Yogurt and fermented foods contain “live cultures” that can be beneficial, but they should not be compared to probiotics. Probiotics are specific genera, species, and strains of bacteria that have been isolated and identified with certain characteristics. The live cultures in most fermented foods have not been isolated and are not the same as probiotics. Additionally, the colony forming units (cfu) in a supplement are often much more concentrated than in food.

With so many probiotics on the market, how can I choose a good one for my family’s own situation?
We recommend you review the research available on the specific species and strain. The manufacturer and/or your health professional should be able to provide this information to you. There are many books that list which strains are helpful for specific conditions.

What is the difference between a pre-biotic and a probiotic?
Pre-biotics are carbohydrates that serve as food for the probiotics. Examples of pre-biotics are inulin or foods containing inulin such as chicory root and Jerusalem or Globe Artichoke. Some individuals can be sensitive to inulin and so this may be something to look to avoid in a probiotic supplement. Our Plantadophilus is inulin-free and FOS-free and consists of a single strain of L. Plantarum.

Do I need to take a probiotic for life?
Yes. Taking supplemental probiotics confers health benefits to the host by improving the environment and supporting the existing microbiota. The most current research is showing that the native microbiota is quite hardy and well established, however the probiotics are mainly transient (adhere to intestinal cells temporarily), giving rise to the need for continual supplementation.

If I am on an antibiotic, is it pointless to take a probiotic?
No. In fact, it is very beneficial to take probiotics while on antibiotics. They support the growth and maintenance of the native microbiota, and many of the strains being studied are actually resistant to antibiotics. Several studies show the beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation, in particular its ability to reduce antibiotic diarrhea.

Can I take too many probiotics?
The general answer is no, however the species, strains, and activity per dose should be suited to the individual’s health needs.

 Some health studies about probiotics health benefits:

Probiotics’ Potential — Research Suggests Beneficial Bacteria May Support Immune Health

Probiotics Help Lower High Cholesterol


Still aren’t taking digestive enzymes with every meal? Five reasons why you need to start today!

Keeping your digestive system healthy should be an important part of your daily routine because as Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut.”  There are only two things you must supply the body’s cells with on a very regular basis and that is oxygen (breathing) and nutrients (from food).  Since you’re likely not going to consciously stop breathing, let’s look at the necessity of digestion. The only way you can get nutrients to the cells is via the digestive system. Do you eat a healthy, balanced diet and have regular elimination and still think you don’t need digestive enzymes? Think again! and read these 5 compelling reasons.

  1. To keep your cells healthy, you need to deliver the nutrients through good digestion. If your body doesn’t completely break down and digest your food, then you are not providing your cells with MAXIMUM nutrition. If your digestive system is compromised, your cells don’t get what they need and this can lead to disease and illness. As we age, our internal enzyme levels decrease, making  complete digestion more difficult. Taking enzymes with every meal can provide your cells the nutrients they need each day.
  2. Stress, no matter how big or small, compromises our digestive function.  While many of us strive to limit and manage the stress in our lives none of us are completely protected from it. Taking digestive enzymes keeps your digestive system at its best.
  3. Genetically modified foods (GMOs), fast food and highly processed packaged food are more difficult to digest.  We now eat food with chemicals that the body doesn’t even recognize as “food” and doesn’t even know how to break down, so there is an added burden on digestion that many cannot handle. Taking enzymes provides the support needed to ensure optimum digestion with each and every meal.
  4. Digestive diseases are on the rise and colo-rectal cancer and stomach cancer are on the World Health Organization’s top 10 list for causes of death. Digestive enzymes and probiotics support the digestive tract so it can function optimally.
  5. You don’t benefit from eating right unless you are digesting those healthy foods. All the good nutrition in the world will not provide benefits unless you are properly digesting it. Supporting digestion with digestive enzymes is a great way to promote optimum health.

We suggest a basic enzyme blend taken at the start of each meal. The enzyme blend should contain protease (to break down proteins), amylase (to break down starch and sugars), lipase (to break down fats) along with lactase, and other enzymes to support complete digestions of meals. We offer some great options on our website or contact us for suggestions!

Take a few minutes to learn how systemic protease enzymes can help support immune health from Lisa Helffrich, Director of Education at Transformation Enzyme.

Our PureZyme formula contains 370,000 HUT of protease per serving. We suggest taking protease between meals to support circulation, remove toxins, and boost immune health*

Digestive enzymes work within the digestive system to support proper breakdown of foods and nutrient acquisition. Our Digest 90, DigestZyme and Kidz products are great examples of the types of products to take with meals for digestive support.

Systemic enzymes work within the other “systems” of the body to support optimal circulation, removal of toxins, and immune health. Our PureZyme and PureZyme Plus are products that support the immune system through improved circulation and support of detoxification.

Here’s a great new video from Lisa Helffrich, Director of Education for Transformation Enzymes about how Proteases Support Detoxification:

How Proteases Support Detoxification from Transformation Enzymes on Vimeo.

Have you heard about digestive enzymes and probiotics, but aren’t sure why you need them or how they can help you?

Or do you already take digestive enzyme supplements and need an informative video to share with family and friends to convert them to the remarkable benefits of enzymes?

Lisa Helffrich, RDN and Director of Education for Transformation Enzyme Corp. shares her thoughts on why taking enzymes and probiotics are so important for optimal health.


A November 2012 Wall Street Journal online article noted “Some 44% of Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and 7% have it daily, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Heartburn that frequent is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a diagnosis believed to be rising world-wide with obesity and advancing age. One 2004 study cited a 46% increase in GERD-related visits to primary-care physicians over a three-year period alone.”

With so many people affected by heartburn, there are, of course, a lot of relief options — over-the-counter(OTC), prescription (Rx) and natural. We’ve put together a handy chart showing the choices along with side-effects and added ingredients. Which one would you pick?

Category RX/OTC Names Purpose Active Ingredient Inactive Ingredients Side Effects
Antacids Tums®, Maalox®, Rolaids®, Mylanta® Neutralize acid Calcium Carbonate Sucrose, calcium carbonate, corn starch, talc, mineral oil, natural & artificial flavors, adipic acid, sodium polyphosphate, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, FD&C Yellow 5 Lake (tartrazine), Blue 1 Lake Side effects may include increased blood calcium, hypersensitivity, vomiting, mental impairment, malaise, confusion
Oral Suspension Pepto Bismol® Coat the esophagus and stomach Bismuth subsalicylate Benzoic acid, flavor, magnesium aluminum silicate, methylcellulose, red 22, red 28, saccharin sodium, salicylic acid, sodium salicylate, sorbic acid, water Severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), fever, hearing loss, nausea, ringing in the ears, severe constipation, vomiting
All-Natural Alternative GastroZyme Soothe digestive mucosal lining with herbal and antioxidant support to encourage more complete digestion* Enzyme, antioxidant, and herbal blends Cellulose, water None reported
Histamine type 2 receptor antagonists Pepcid AC®, Zantac® Reduce stomach acid indirectly by preventing the activation of acid production Ranitidine FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake,hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, titanium dioxide, triacetin, and yellow iron oxide Constipation, headache, and diarrhea are common side effects of Zantac®. Some of the side effects that are less common include muscle or joint pain, blurred vision, and hair loss.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Nexium® Proton pump inhibitors(PPIs) reduce stomach acid by deactivating acid production directly Esomeprazole magnesium Glyceryl monostearate 40-55, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer type C, polysorbate 80, sugar spheres, talc, and triethyl citrate. The capsule shells have the following inactive ingredients: gelatin, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Red #40, D&C Red #28, titanium dioxide, shellac, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, n-butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, polyvinyl pyrrolidone, and D&C Yellow #10 The most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, rash, and dizziness. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.

So I went to a new dentist last week for my cleaning and check-up, but as usual I had that tender feeling in my gums after they have been “worked over” for a bit. I know there’s a lot of bacteria stirred up in my mouth from scraping off the tartar so decided to swish with some protease enzymes that are found PureZyme when I got home. It doesn’t taste great (some people don’t mind, but I won’t lie and say I loved it), but it was good to know that I was helping to topically deal with some of the inflammation and tenderness as well as fight some of the bacteria with such a simple fix with the protease.

Want to learn more about how enzymes can help support dental health? I wrote a good article that you can find here.

What I did: Grabbed my PureZyme and a glass of water. Pulled apart up 2 PureZyme capsules and then put the powder in my mouth with some water and swished it around for about 1 minute then spit it out. Like I said, not the best taste, but not the worst. Beware though if you have any mouth ulcers at the time – ouch. The protease will debride (open up) the ulcer and it will sting! If you do have a mouth ulcer, put some Plantadophilus probiotic powder on it to speed healing and help with the discomfort. Works wonders!

PureZymeglass of water

PureZyme capsulesProtease powder

Well, digestive enzymes may not be completely mainstream yet, but I am very excited about all that I’ve heard about enzymes in the last week. Last Thursday, I participated in a great webinar by Dr. Paul Nemiroff called “Top 10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You about Enzymes.” Dr. Nemiroff is a Board Certified Head and Neck Surgeon and was considered for US Surgeon General. And he takes digestive enzymes and he believes in the power of digestive enzymes. He had some good insight as to why most Western doctors don’t mention enzymes when patients complain of digestive issues. He noted that in our medical schools there is simply little to no attention given to instruction on supplements and disease prevention. Western doctors are just focused on treatment. Heard this before? I have.

Anyway, I always get excited when MDs – particularly outspoken ones – tout the benefits of enzymes. I also was thrilled about some of the new research Dr. Nemiroff mentioned about faster wound and bruise healing with enzyme therapy and enzymes helping decrease bruising and swelling after lipoplasty. But the one that particularly grabbed my attention was the Harvard/Mass General study he mentioned showing some autistic children do suffer from chronic gut inflammation and lowered enzyme levels. He also mentioned there is a double blind study currently being conducted in 15 medical centers on enzymes and autism. It just shows more and more that traditional medical doctors are realizing that our digestion truly plays a key role in over overall health.

So, I was already on an “enzyme high” from that presentation and thinking, “Yes, the word is really getting out!” And then I caught the Dr. Oz show on Friday. He had a whole segment on digestive enzymes and why we need them and noted that bad food, stress, medications, and aging can all affect our enzyme levels. He even noted that as we age we can lose up to 50% – that’s right – 50% of our enzyme levels. Which explains why so many older folks have digestive issues and just can’t eat like they used to! Dr. Oz even has a low-enzyme self test on his web site.

Here’s the link to the low-enzyme self test: (video) (printable version)

Here is a great video about “What’s in Your Gut”:

If you don’t like watching videos, here’s a link to a great article on the Dr. Oz site about Boosting Your Immunity with Digestive Enzymes:

Banner week in the world of enzymes in my book!

One of the most often questions we are asked is how our products compare to other digestive enzyme supplements. With so many products available, comparing apples to apples using the labeling units can get very confusing! First, let me just tell you that when you buy enzymes, the weight (usually listed in mg.) means nothing when comparing the activity units of the enzymes.  Quality enzyme products will use the standard FCC (Food Chemical Codex) units of measurement which establishes activity levels for the enzymes. But, there are even a few versions of these units so here’s a handy table to give you some approximate conversion factors.

Enzyme Name Common Labeling Units Conversion
Protease HUT, USP, SAP 1 HUT = approx. 6.5 USP
Amylase DU 1 DU = approx. 48 USP
Lipase FIP, LU, FCCLU 1FIP = approx. 2.5 LU/FCCLU No conversion available to USP


I’m always stunned when I see major national retail chains with products that list enzymes only in milligrams (mg) as this truly doesn’t tell the buyer anything about the potency of the enzymes, but metric weight is all that is legally required by the FDA for enzyme supplements. So, when you are selecting an enzyme product, you want to be sure to choose one that lists more than just the mg. and also compare the units of activity to the price. One product may have a higher price, but when you truly compare the activity units you may need to take 3 or 4 capsules of one product to equal the enzyme activity in 1 capsule of a competitor product.

The enzyme activity of  products should be measured and reported in FCC units.  These unit measurements are usually expressed as follows:

Protease – HUT (Hemoglobin Unit Tyrosine base), USP
Amylase – DU (Alpha-amylase Dextrinizing units)
Lipase – FIP, LU, FCCLU (LU= Lipase unit)
Cellulase – CU (Cellulase unit)
Invertase – IAU (Invertase Activity unit)
Lactase – LacU (Lactase unit)
Maltase – DP (degrees Diastatic power)

When comparing enzyme products make sure measurements are listed using FCC standard codes.  Some manufacturers make up their own abbreviations.  Others use weights such as milligrams (mgs).  Still others will list measurements based on dosage which may be more than one capsule.

Because of the variety of labeling formats used it is important to read carefully and make sure you are not comparing apples to oranges.

Another item to think about when choosing an enzyme product is “does the product contain fillers?” Many supplement products contain magnesium stearate, silica, rice bran, etc. to “fill-up” a standard sized capsule or to prevent caking or clumping. Enzyme Essentials tries to eliminate fillers whenever we can and all our capsules are sized for each product so we never need to add inactive ingredients to “fill” a capsule. Our philosophy is we don’t put ingredients you don’t need in our products.