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Do I Need Digestive Enzymes?

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digestive enzymes

It is probably no surprise that I am talking about digestive enzymes.  I mean, we love gut health here at Oh Lardy!  If you have hung around here for any period of time, you understand that we believe gut health is a cornerstone to overall wellness.  We love fermenting foods, making bone broth, supplementing with Collagen.  But, do I need digestive enzymes?

I used to think NO!  Our body makes them and we eat them when we consume raw foods!  Why would we need to add MORE?  

Y'all, I did some research on the topic and, well, I am now a HUGE fan of digestive enzymes.  During my research I was learning all of the benefits to supplementing with enzymes.  But, it wasn't until I actually NEEDED them, did I really become a believer!  I did Whole 30 a while ago, all with the mission to learning which foods, if any, I may be sensitive to.  I knew that Dairy was a big offender based on my food sensitivity testing with EverlyWell.  When I started reintroducing foods, I learned that taking enzymes before my meal prevented some issues (gas, bloating, etc) – especially with beans, dairy, and grain.  For the most part, I avoid the foods that I am sensitive to.  But, when I go out to eat, I am going to order what I want, because I like food.  Enzymes help so much in this situation!

So, what interesting things did I learn, other than my own personal experience?

What are enzymes good for?

Holy moly, pretty much everything.  You understand that enzymes break down the food we eat into nutrients that our bodies can then absorb and use!  This is important because when food is properly broken down, it can prevent irritation and inflammation of the gut lining.  Enzymes help to clean up that gut lining and they even can digest certain pathogens and move them on out!  

Wait, but don't we make enzymes all on our own?

Yup, we sure do!  Our healthy bodies are really good at making them all on our own!  But, what if our systems are compromised?  Leaky gut and the conditions that contribute to it (celiac, IBS, Crohn's, SIBO, etc) reduce your ability to produce enzymes.  Also, I hate to break it to you, but the older we get, enzyme production goes down.  By the time you are in your late 40s to early 50s, your enzyme production has gone down by 50%.  WHAT?  Well, darn.  

So, do I need digestive enzymes?

Maybe!  That leaky gut, man, is one tough cookie!!  Digestive enzymes prove to be helpful because enzymes break up your food into small particles that are less likely to irritate the gut lining.  Do you ever feel like you have a brick sitting in your stomach after eating?  Yeah, that should go away after a few days on digestive enzymes.  

4 signs you may need to supplement with digestive enzymes:

  • Your poop is weird (you know if it is weird)
  • You have a brick in your stomach after eating, or you are gassy and bloated.
  • You feel full after only eating a few bites of your meal.
  • You suffer from food intolerances

Is there a good time to take digestive enzymes?

Right before you meal is the best time to take a digestive enzyme.  However, I like to take them in between meals, sometimes.  On those days where I ate something that I may need extra help with OR I ate something close to bed, I like to take a digestive enzyme right before bed so that it can work over night!  When a digestive enzyme is taken on an empty stomach, and doesn't have a job to do there, it moves on over to your blood stream.  There, it will remove toxins and waste.  Your liver and immune system give digestive enzymes serious high fives because they don't have to work as hard!  

Which digestive enzyme is best?

Oh buddy!  I do have some favorites.  I actually keep them in my purse so that they are always with me when I eat out.  

When shopping, look for a plant-based enzyme.  They survive digestion well and are stable.  If you have taken your enzyme before a meal, they get right to work!  AND, there are busy working at least an hour before your own pancreas sends its enzymes.  

Also be sure that your enzyme has multiple enzymes!  You want it to cover all of the food groups!  So, which enzymes digest which food groups?  I am glad you asked.  Protease will take care of the proteins, lipase eats up the fats, amylase gobbles up carbs, and cellulase takes care of fiber. 

I love love LOVE the Essentialzymes-4 from Young Living before my meals and Detoxyme before bed.  I have found that when I take Detoxyme before bed, I have zero bloating in the morning.  So awesome.  

You can grab these from Young Living, easy peasy!  Grab yourself a membership if you don't already have one (it's like Amazon Prime but BETTER) and then you can get your enzymes 24% cheaper.  Woot!!!  

Have questions about a Young Living membership?  Shoot us an email at [email protected] and we will chat it up!  

What do YOU love about taking digestive enzymes?  Tell us in the comments, we would love to hear!

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digestive enzymes


  1. Thanks for this article Kelly.

    I’m currently bulking and was interested in digestive enzymes due to the volume of food I’m currently eating.

    They have made a HUGE difference!

  2. Thank you for this information, team!
    Quick question, how do I know that the feeling of getting full within the first bite of the meal is a problem or not? I’m an extreme ectomorph, and never had the appetite to eat a full meal. Should I consider investing in digestive enzymes?

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