Protein shakes, powders and bars are everywhere these days. Many people are on high protein diets to keep up with training needs or reach a weight goal, but did you know that a diet high in protein can put a lot of added stress on your digestive system and your kidneys? If you are eating a healthy diet and involved in an exercise program, you are likely a very healthy individual. But while the energy bars, sports drinks and protein powders help you reach you body weight goals, they may also add digestive stress to your body.

Why do we need protein?
But let’s start with the reason people may be taking the protein in the first place. Muscle, bone, connective tissue along with antibodies, and hormones are all made up of mainly proteins. We constantly need to replenish our body’s cells and need the amino acids found in protein to do this. Proteins must be then broken down into amino acids to be bio-available to our body’s cells and this begins in the stomach and continues into the intestines. However, the further along the proteins get without being broken down into amino acids, then the more likely they are to cause issues within your gut and immune system. This is where digestive enzyme supplements, particularly those high in protease, can help can be so important.

What happens to undigested proteins in your body?
These protein fragments can produce allergic reactions and even lead to irritation of the mucosal lining of the intestines. The undigested proteins can putrefy in the gut and lead to embarrassing (and stinky) gas.

How can I better support protein digestion?
That’s where digestive enzyme supplements can help. Every time you eat a protein bar, shake or even just a meal, your pancreas and gall bladder have to produce enzymes to help digest those foods. That’s their purpose. But as we age, our body becomes less efficient at producing enzymes. But when you take supplemental digestive enzymes, you support your body in proper digestion.

So when you are working to build those muscles and improve your outer body, don’t forget to stay fit on the inside and take a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement with at least protease, lipase, and amylase to help support maximum nutrition, optimal circulation and immune function.

Our Digest 90 and DigestZyme products provide the complete digestive support you need and PureZyme is our protease-only product to support your high protein needs.

Have a question about protease supplements and supporting complete digestion? Contact us! We are here to help!

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

Four pints milkA few weeks ago, the story blew up on blogs and social media that the dairy industry, namely the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), was petitioning the FDA to allow them to put aspartame along with other artificial sweeteners in milk. And while my family buys organic milk, which wouldn’t be affected by this request, I was right there in the mix and headed straight to the petition at to add my name to the protest list about adding “hidden” sweeteners to milk. I was doing a little reading recently and found out there is a BIT more to the story than was originally reported. (Isn’t there always?)

Here’s the real issue – and some surprising facts. Apparently, dairy manufacturers currently have the ability to add these artificial sweeteners to milk. AND, they have always had to reveal all ingredients. So no “hidden” aspartame, really. But, the change they want now is to remove the marketing labels on the front such as “Reduced calorie” or “Low Sugar” primarily because the dairy manufacturers think kids buying milk at school will not opt for these products. It’s a marketing request, not a “hidden ingredient” request.

But it brings up the interesting fact of “buyer beware” in our food industry. Wouldn’t you be more likely to look at the ingredients in a “low calorie” or “low fat” item? I choose fresh foods but can’t get around buying lots of packaged items and if any nutritional claims are made on those items, I do look at the labels more carefully. If I pick up milk or yogurt that is simply labeled as milk or yogurt, then it wouldn’t likely occur to me to check the ingredients label. This is the crux of the problem in my opinion. They want to remove the “clues” that the product I’m buying has been altered or added to in a way I might not like. Will “low-calorie yogurts” that often contain aspartame now simply say “yogurt” and it will be up to me to stand in the yogurt aisle amongst the dizzying array of choices and read every label? And yes, ice cream, yogurt, cream, and many other dairy products are included in the FDA Petition Request, so get ready to spend a little more time reading labels at the grocery store if this request is granted by the FDA.

So, even though the facts are a little more complex on the aspartame in milk issue, ultimately most consumers want transparency. Let’s make it easier for people to make the best nutritional choices instead of trying to confuse them by removing these “clues” to artificial ingredients in our food.

Here are a few other great blog articles and links about this issue as well:
The Lunch Tray
SpoonFed petition – which makes some wrong statements since this is not a “new” thing to allow artificial sweeteners, but simply a change in the way they can be labeled (or not labeled as the dairy industry prefers).

Go to the FDA site where you can leave a comment on the proposed rule.

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.

I will preface this by saying this story is completely true! I promise. It was just too cute not to share and shows how much our children really do pay attention to all they see and hear. The other day my youngest daughter, who is 7, asked me what I would do if she became a famous singer like Taylor Swift and went on tour. I said, well, of course, your dad and I would hop on that big tour bus and go with you. I said something along the lines of I wouldn’t sell enzymes and I could be your tour manager. And she was having none of that. She said “Mama, you can’t stop selling enzymes. People love your enzymes and they help people.” And I realized how wonderful it is that she does see that this business is important to people. So, I told her I would bring my laptop on tour and could keep selling enzymes and she seemed satisfied with this response. So, to all my customers, you’ll be happy to know I won’t throw you under the proverbial (and in this case) “tour bus” when my daughter’s singing career takes off as I am now required by her to keep selling enzymes to help people. Just made my day.

A LOT! WE are thrilled about our new and improved powdered digestive enzyme formula called Kidz Digest.

 What makes it such a great product?

  • Our enzymes are derived from plant sources so they will survive the high-acid of the stomach and also the lower pH of the intestines to help support digestion from “end-to-end” as we say. Most animal enzymes made from pancreatic fluids need a special coating to get them through the stomach acid before they begin working. Wouldn’t you want to buy a product that STARTS working as soon as possible in your stomach?
  • Contains Protease and DPP-IV digestive enzymes for complete protein digestion. One of the most common sources of allergies is protein (think gluten, dairy, etc.). Our DPP-IV is a protein digesting enzyme that works with your body’s own digestive enzymes to help break down difficult-to-digest proteins. The rest of the protease blend is specifically tailored to assist in the digestion of all dietary proteins. So your children have a whole mess of protein digesting enzymes at work on their food!
  • We’ve also made sure to include plenty of carbohydrase enzymes to help break down starch, fiber and sugar and lipase enzymes for complete digestion of fats along with a probiotic to help maintain good flora.
  • We removed the maltodextrin (corn-based) found in the previous formula and replaced it with flax seed. Flax seed is a balanced source of omega fatty acids with fewer allergy issues for most people.

Read more and view the full ingredient list of our Kidz Digest Powder. 

How much do you spend on anti-aging products? If you are like me, it’s too much. Especially when, in reality, the best way to have better skin is to start from within.

How youthful is your skin?
Try the following simple experiment. Pinch the skin on the back of one hand between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand for five seconds. Then let it go and time how long it takes to return to normal. If it takes five seconds or less, the biological age of your skin is less than fifty. Ten to fifteen seconds indicate an age range of sixty to sixty-nine. Time exceeding fifteen seconds shows the biological age of your skin as seventy or more. It takes longer as we age. This is reflected in the wrinkles we bear from the deterioration of tissue under the surface of the skin.

Foods for Radiant Skin
Your skin needs fats, proteins and carbohydrates to remain healthy and vibrant, and the health and appearance of your skin is determined by the nourishment it receives from the blood. So, eating a balanced, healthy diet is a first step to help improve skin appearance.

It is no surprise that the foods that promote healthy skin are the same foods that promote health everywhere else in the body. You know the list – fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and lean “clean” proteins. These foods provide the vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants necessary to repair and replenish the skin. Also a diet high in fiber helps clear toxins and stays ahead of the waste. And last but not least, one of the most important nutrients for healthy skin is water!

But if your body isn’t completely digesting these nutritious foods, your skin isn’t benefiting as much as it could from their nutrients!

Feeding from Within
How can digestive enzymes support the health and appearance of our skin?

  • Digestive enzymes help break down the food we eat, releasing nutrients for energy production, cell growth and repair which can help us achieve glowing skin.
  • Digestive enzymes are the power source behind supporting delivery of nutrients to the skin and keeping your dermis healthy.
  • Digestive enzymes can help in reducing the various unsightly signs of detoxification that come through our skin (like pimples!)

So when you ask yourself, “have I been feeding my skin the nutrients it needs?”, check for pimples, wrinkles, dry patches. Find any? Then what do you think is your answer?

Find out the best products to use when starting a digestive enzyme regimen or ask us!


Exciting news – Enzyme Essentials now has a blog! Stop the presses. Whoa Nellie. Haven’t blogs been around for quite awhile now? Yes. I know. I’m a little late to the game here. But better late than never, right? I’ve just been in denial about this but kept finding myself constrained by social media and wanted to add more detail about health articles, sustainable food issues, and enzyme and probiotic research. We’ve also got some new products coming out and this is a much quicker place to post about new items. Also, it allows customers and readers to provide some feedback as well! Stay tuned and check back in – things are about to get interesting around here!