To find out which products were potent and efficacious, ConsumerLab tested and compared popular digestive enzyme supplements sold in the U.S., checking to see if they contained the amounts of enzyme activities claimed on their labels. The tests showed that activity in fat digestion (lipase activity) ranged 25-fold across products, carbohydrate digestion (amylase) ranged 50-fold, and protein digestion ranged 100-fold. Among products containing bromelain and papain, which contain proteases that are absorbed and may have activity outside the gut, such as reducing muscle and joint pain, activities ranged 17-fold. The tests also revealed that a product that claimed to contain lipase had no quantifiable lipase activity.
Among the products that were approved, ConsumerLab selected a top pick for obtaining a good all-around blend of enzymes with substantial activity. Products covered in the report are: Doctor's Best Best Digestive Enzymes, Dr. Tobias Digest Plant-Based Enzymes, Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro, Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Enzymes, GNC Natural Brand Super Digestive Enzymes, Healthy Origins Digestive Enzymes, NOW Optimal Digestive System, Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra, Renew Life Digest Smart, Synergy Mega Digestive Enzymes, USANA Digestive Enzyme and ZenWise Health Daily Digestive Enzymes. Nine of the products were selected for testing by ConsumerLab and three others underwent the same testing through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program.
The report discusses the evidence for and against enzymes for improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients, preventing indigestion, and helping with conditions such as lactose intolerance and ulcerative colitis and other uses such as reducing pain and inflammation. It also explains which enzymes to take with certain foods, the amount of activity and type of activity units to look for on labels, tips when taking enzymes, and potential side-effects and drug interactions with digestive enzymes.
The results are available online now in ConsumerLab's new Digestive Enzyme Supplements Review.