Digestive Enzymes Vs Probiotics which is Right for You
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Misbah Wasi

Functional Nutrition Specialist, Scientific & Regulatory Advisor for Health Supplements

Misbah Wasi is a seasoned professional in the field of Nutrition Science and Food Regulation for over 15 years. Currently, she is lendin her expertise in the area of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals and is an active member of the Standards Review Group (SRG) - Nutraceuticals FSSAI Ms. Wasi is a post-graduate in Food and Nutrition. Certified Lead Food Safety Management Systems Auditor (FSMS, FSSC 22000) and a certified FoSTaC traine for Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals. She is also a Subject Matter Expert for ‘Food Regulations in India’ for IFLR (International Food Laws and Regulations) course at Michigan State University.

Digestive Enzymes Vs. Probiotics: Which Gut Health Supplement Is Right For You?

Which Gut Health Supplement Is Right for You?

“Gut health is the key to overall health”, rightly quoted by Kris Carr. Most of our health problems arise due to disturbed gut and can be solved by correcting the gut. But the question is how to balance the gut microbiome. So, this is where probiotics and digestive enzymes come into action. A healthy gut includes healthy bacteria and immune cells that fight off infectious agents and foreign materials like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. And most processes require probiotics or digestive enzymes.



Probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts provide a health benefit to the host. Probiotics have the ability to restore the balance of gut microbiome by increasing the number of beneficial microorganisms; making it a healthy choice for those individuals who suffer from GIT disturbances and gut disease due to an imbalance in gut microbiota. The imbalance of gut microorganisms may occur due to excessive medication, mental health problems, digestive issues, an unhealthy diet, or a sedentary lifestyle. Probiotics are composed of a variety of microorganisms. The most common group of probiotics belongs to Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and many yeasts such as Saccharomyces which are Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) and are also known as “friendly bacteria”. An appropriate dosage of these microorganisms will provide excellent support to reduce the symptoms and treat various disorders. According to a recent study, a probiotics dose of 108 CFU/day is recommended for ingestion. The most important benefit of probiotics is improved
 gut health, but other health areas that probiotics support are:

  • Improves digestive health

  • Fight Antibiotic resistance

  • Promotes mood & memory

  • Strengthen immunity

  • Prevent skin irritation, healthy hair, skin & nails

  • Promote healthy cholesterol

  • Fight toxins & pathogens and support liver function

  • Increase energy

  • Fights IBS, constipation, and Lactose intolerance

    The probiotics multi enzymes market is fast growing on the global front with a wide range of products. The main supplements existing in the Indian market are in the form of powder, sachet, liquid, tablets, capsules, gummies, etc. Dairy-based ones include fermented milk, cheese, ice cream, buttermilk, milk powder, and yogurts, the latter accounting for the largest share of sales. Non-dairy food applications include soy-based products, nutrition bars, cereals, and a variety of juices as appropriate means of probiotic delivery to the consumer.

What are digestive enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are proteins that are produced and secreted by the gastrointestinal system to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, into simpler molecules for digestion and absorption of nutrients.

The major benefits of digestive enzymes are:

  •  Reduces food sensitivities and allergies

  •  Reduces inflammation in the gut & improves the body’s immune response

  •  Improves digestion of food by increasing nutrient assimilation from meal

  •  Reduces stress on the digestive system

  •  Healthy microbiome balance

  •  Helpful for reducing autoimmunity

  •  Improves skin and tissue healing

The three main types of digestive enzymes are:

  •  Amylase: It is produced by salivary glands and pancreas which breakdown carbohydrates into smaller molecules

  •  Protease: It breaks down protein into amino acids. The three crucial protease enzymes are trypsin, pepsin, and chymotrypsin.

  •  Lipase: It breaks down dietary fats into smaller molecules i.e., glycerol and fatty acids. Pancreas is the primary source of lipase in the digestive tract.

Although amylase, lipase, and protease are the major enzymes that your body utilizes to digest food, there are many other specialized enzymes also contributing to the process. There are some cases, where the digestive enzymes are unable to function or are less in number, which results in a disturbed digestive system. In this situation, digestive enzyme supplements offer the maximum support.

When you should start taking probiotics or digestive enzymes?

There are some signs and symptoms that you will notice in your body that indicate that you should consume probiotics or digestive enzyme supplements. Some common signals are Bloating, Indigestion, gas, irregular bowel movement, skin issues, feeling full, mood changes, like anxiousness and irritability, and frequent burping.

Probiotics and digestive enzymes work together

Both probiotics and digestive enzymes have their own mechanisms and benefits to improve gut health. So, to answer which health supplement is right i.e., probiotic or digestive enzymes, it totally depends on the body’s needs and goals. But together
 digestive enzymes and probiotics function in a complementary way. The function of both supplements cannot be interchanged, i.e., probiotics influence the environment of the digestive system, while digestive enzymes enhance the basic process of digestion. Here are some ways to show how digestive enzymes and probiotics work together:

1. Enhances Gut Health & Digestion

Probiotics restore the balance of the gut microbiome by increasing the good bacteria and decreasing the bad bacteria. Bioavailable digestive enzymes decrease the stress on the gut and increase efficient nutrient absorption, thus contributing to the major benefits of digestive enzymes.

2. Reduces bloating & gas

Digestive enzyme supplements will enhance food breakdown and reduce bloating in a short period of time. probiotics multi enzymes stimulate the activity of digestive enzymes which impact bowel movements and enhance metabolism.

3. Strengthen Immunity

Digestive enzymes are responsible for providing essential nutrients from food to the body for complete functionality. probiotics multi enzymes are in constant contact with the maximum immune cells of the body hence, have a direct effect on the immune system

4. Enhanced metabolism

An increased number and variety of digestive enzymes help in speeding up the breakdown of macromolecules into simpler molecules which leads to improved assimilation of nutrients and hence, improved metabolism. probiotics multi enzymes support the digestive enzymes and enhance the process.

5. Improves Mental Health

Many studies have shown that brain health and healthy gut bacteria are directly connected. Stress, anxiety, and depression can be reduced with a balanced level of digestive enzymes and the correct probiotics dose in the gut at the right time.

Therefore, in the dilemma of digestive enzymes vs probiotics, both supplements are helpful and effective both together and separately as well.


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