Enzymes vs Probiotics: Is There a Difference?

You’ve heard a lot about probiotics and how they can improve your gut health, but you have probably also heard about digestive enzymes. Often the two are often confused and are considered to be interchangeable as it seems there isn’t a clear understanding of the difference between them.

Both probiotics and digestive enzymes are essential to the overall health of your body and both deal with the health of your gut. But what is the real difference between them and how do you know which one you need?

One of the most fundamental differences between digestive enzymes and probiotics is simple: digestive enzymes are proteins and are non-living, while probiotics are made up of living organisms.

But there is more to it than that.

In this post, you’ll learn…

  • The difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics
  • What your symptoms are telling you
  • Tips for supporting your digestion

WHAT ARE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

Digestive enzymes are proteins that help to break down the food that you eat into something that is more absorbable by your body. These enzymes are found throughout the digestive tract and have a hand in every digestive step.

Within your gastrointestinal tract lies several different types of digestive enzymes, each with their own particular function. For example, amylase enzymes help to break down starches into sugar, lipase breaks down fat, and protein breaks down proteins into amino acids.

Some of the digestive enzymes that we rely on can be found in the food that we consume, however, due to their fragile nature and sensitivity to temperature, they can often be destroyed in the cooking process.

When you apply heat your food and cause destruction to the enzymes that are present in the food, it makes the body work harder to break that food down into more digestible and absorbable material.

Enzymes are not just needed for digesting food, as it is also used in the production of energy, fighting infections, regulating hormones, and removing waste and toxins from the body.

WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS

Unlike digestive enzymes, probiotics are living organisms that can help to balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut. This bacteria supports many different functions within the body, including digestion, gut health, and our immune system.

We can get some probiotics from the foods that we eat, including in food that is fermented, yogurts, and cheese. However, today many of the medications that we take, such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and birth control can disrupt our natural bacterial balance as good bacteria is destroyed. The good form of bacteria, which is essential to our health, can also be destroyed through the consumption of grains, refined sugars, and stress.

If you are not getting enough probiotics through your diet, then you may want to look into getting a probiotic supplement. And, just like enzymes, there are different kinds of probiotics, each responsible for doing different jobs.

The most common species of probiotics are Lactobacillus, which is ideal for people who are lactose intolerant. Bifidobacterium, on the other hand, is good for people with gastrointestinal disorders.

 HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ONE I NEED?

There are many symptoms and signs given by our body telling us when something isn’t quite right and when it comes to the need for probiotics and digestive enzymes, your body is no different.

Signs you may need enzymes:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal cramping after eating
  • Trouble digesting fatty foods
  • Acne
  • Headaches

Benefits of adding an enzyme supplement:

  1. Supports Immune System – When you break down your food through the natural enzymes secreted by your gut and in the raw foods that we eat, this frees up your immune system so that it is free to break down inflammatory and autoimmune proteins, while also repairing cells and tissues.
  2. Alleviate Food Intolerance Symptoms – Food intolerances and food allergies are not uncommon and can vary from slightly irritating to severe, but when you add enzymes into your diet, it can help relieve some of these symptoms [1].
  3. Manage symptoms of AutoImmune Disorders – Enzymes can also contribute to relieving some of the symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders, such as celiac disease and cystic fibrosis [2].

Signs you may need a probiotic:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Yeast Infections
  • Allergies

Benefits of adding an enzyme supplement:

  1. Weight Loss – Probiotics can affect the way your body handles and processes the fat you consume from your diet [3, 4]. For the most effective weight loss, you want to take multiple types. In a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, people who made various species of probiotic, rather than just one, lost the most amount of weight [5].
  2. Supports Immune System – Just as with enzymes, probiotics have an effect on your immune system. Studies have found that using certain probiotics can reduce the occurrence of respiratory infections and urinary tract infections [6, 7, 8, 9].
  3. Digestive Health – Most importantly, probiotics can help with digestive issues and diseases, and can be effective for people in remission with ulcerative colitis, necrotizing enterocolitis and irritable bowel syndrome [10, 11, 12].

Probiotics are essential to maintaining essential gut health, as well as having many other benefits, and may be something you want to start considering to relieve some of the symptoms above.

It is easy to see why so many people would get enzymes and probiotics confused as the signs of needing more of either can be pretty similar.

Taking a good probiotic and supporting your digestion with added enzymes can help alleviate many of the symptoms listed above, but this isn’t the only way you can support your digestive health.

The bottom line is you should take both to protect your digestive tract and better break down foods into absorbable nutrients.

HOW ELSE CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR DIGESTION?

Taking digestive enzymes and probiotics are an excellent way to boost your gut health and improve your digestion, but there are also many other ways that you should consider.

The first and best way is to get on a Custom Meal Plan, because when you are not eating properly, your body may not be benefiting from your probiotic or digestive enzyme supplement. If your nutrition is not in check and dialed in, you may have bigger threats to your gut health and digestion than a lack of enzymes or an imbalance of bacteria.

You can also support your digestion through supplements like X-Cell and Detox Organics. When you take a supplement like X-Cell, you improve your nutrient absorption, making the food you eat more valuable to your body. It does this through repairing the lining of your gut.

Detox Organics is a supplement that uses 26 different superfoods to support and improve your digestive health, as well as detoxing your body of harmful toxins.

Proper nutrition and supportive supplementation are essential to support your digestive health and should be taken into consideration if you want to live a long, healthy lifestyle.

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