Digestive enzymes are protein substances secreted by specific organs of the body (pancreas, stomach, small intestine and salivary glands), in addition to being found in some foods; These serve to break down the food that enters the body, allowing the absorption of its nutrients in a better way. Likewise, there is a great variety of digestive enzymes, each of which produces a direct effect on some type of food.

Function of digestive enzymes

The main function of digestive enzymes is to ferment or decompose the ingested food, with the aim of allowing a better absorption of its nutrients and the subsequent elimination of waste. In addition, it also helps to eliminate the toxic substances that they contain and that are mixed with other components of the body.

In this sense, enzymes play an important role in the functioning of the body’s digestive system, since they provide the following benefits:

Improves the digestive process

As mentioned above, digestive enzymes work in the digestive system, breaking down food and promoting the absorption of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it contains. That is why its proper functioning improves the body’s digestive process, creating the right environment for the body to retain the nutrients it needs.

For its part, it benefits the digestive process by promoting the expulsion and elimination of waste and toxins from the body from food; In this sense, sugars, fats and proteins need digestive enzymes to become substances that can be absorbed by the body.

Avoid food intolerance

Food intolerance is the appearance of harmful effects when consuming a certain food, this process of intolerance or sensitivity does not include the immune system, which is why in many cases it cannot be classified as an allergy. This intolerance is produced by a deficiency of digestive enzymes in the body.

In this sense, one of the benefits that result from the correct activity of digestive enzymes is to reduce and avoid food intolerance, since it is produced by poor digestion of food as a result of an insufficient amount of enzymatic substances in the body.

Decreases gastrointestinal disorders

As a result of the main function of digestive enzymes (allowing digestion), they help reduce gastrointestinal disorders related to poor digestion, such as nausea, vomiting, flatulence, heartburn, bloating, feeling of heaviness, constipation, diarrhea , among others.

Combat inflammatory conditions

Finally, digestive enzymes help in inflammatory and degenerative processes, such as colitis (inflammation of the colon), hernias, ulcers, skin or skin conditions caused by food intolerance, among others. All this, due to its ability to ferment and separate food into small molecules, promoting proper digestion.

Types of digestive enzymes

There are different types of digestive enzymes, each one of them is in charge of the correct decomposition, digestion or fermentation of a specific type of substance; Likewise, these can be produced in different organs of the body or be contained in fruits and vegetables for human consumption.


It is a type of digestive enzyme produced by the salivary glands and the pancreas, amylase has the ability to catalyze or disintegrate carbohydrates (cereals, flours, tubers, among others), converting them into sugars through a metabolic process that allows a better absorption of nutrients from these foods.


Bromelain or bromelain is a digestive enzyme of plant origin, found in large quantities in the pulp and stem of pineapples; This enzyme improves the degradation of proteins and fats, which is why it is recommended for the processes of loss or maintenance of body weight.


It is a digestive enzyme that is specifically responsible for the breakdown and absorption of fibers, which are present in food. In addition, it intervenes in the process of degradation of glucose, which is an important source of energy for humans.


One of the most well-known and controversial digestive enzymes is lactase, this is produced in the small intestine and is the main responsible for the breakdown of lactose in dairy products. In this sense, lactose intolerance is a disorder produced by lactase deficiency in the body.


Lipase is a type of digestive enzyme, secreted mostly by the pancreas and its main function is the disintegration of fats and fatty acids and their subsequent absorption; It should be noted that the excessive presence of lipase in the body may be evidence of a pancreatic problem, such as ulcers or inflammation.


For its part, maltase is a digestive enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of sugars or glucose proteins that make up maltose. This enzyme is produced mainly by the small intestine, and to a lesser extent, by the pancreas.


Also called peptidase, it is the digestive enzyme that is responsible for the digestion of proteins in the body, it is secreted by the pancreas; however, it is also found in fruits such as papaya, kiwi, and pineapple.


Finally, this digestive enzyme produced in the small intestine villi, its main function is to convert common sugars into fructose and glucose, which are later digested and absorbed by the human body.

Digestive enzyme medications

Digestive enzymes are chemical substances that are naturally found in the body, since they are produced by organs of the digestive system (pancreas, stomach, small intestine and salivary glands), likewise, they are present in fruits and vegetables that are commonly consumed by humans.

However, technological advances in terms of medicine have developed drugs that contain digestive enzymes in the form of pills, tablets or other presentations, which are administered for the treatment of digestive disorders.

Recommended dose of digestive enzymes

In the first place, it is important to highlight that the consumption and administration of these drugs must be done under the strict supervision of a specialist doctor; however, the general recommended dose of digestive enzymes is 1 tablet or lozenge with each meal, for a maximum of 3 tablets per day.

Likewise, it should be mentioned that this dose is recommended for patients who take medications with digestive enzymes to improve the functioning of the digestive system, in turn, those patients who present disorders or chronic diseases, should consult a doctor before consuming these medications.

Trademarks and prices of digestive enzymes

A wide variety of digestive enzymes are available in the market in tablet form, which vary in quantity, price and brand. Any of the brands of digestive enzymes that you decide to consume must be done under authorization and medical supervision, in order to avoid complications and health problems.

  • Clark Store : this brand produces enzyme tablets, in presentation of 100 units of 500 mg each; with a mixture of various types of digestive enzymes and at an approximate price of € 34.
  • Digestimax from the commercial brand Myvitamins : offers packs of 90 and 180 tablets that contain digestive enzymes, mainly bromelain. The package of 90 pills has an average price of € 20.
  • Full Spectrum Enzimes from the Mercola brand : it presents packages of 90 tablets made up of a mixture of 22 digestive enzymes, with a market price of approximately € 54.

Natural digestive enzymes

Food is an excellent source of digestive enzymes, each of them contains a different type of enzyme that provides great benefits to human health. In this sense, although most of the enzymes are produced by the organism itself, the affections and diseases can alter this production, it is there, where the foods that contain them take on special importance.

  • Avocado : it is a fruit classified as a super food, since it contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals; As far as digestive enzymes are concerned, avocado contains a large amount of lipase, the enzyme used to digest fats.
  • Kiwi : one of the main components of kiwi is fiber, which helps improve the digestive process, in turn, contains digestive enzymes specialized in the breakdown of proteins.
  • Papaya : Papaya contains papain, a natural enzyme known for its properties for the breakdown of meats and other animal and vegetable proteins.
  • Pineapple : it is the source of bromelain, a digestive enzyme that is responsible for digesting proteins, in addition, they help in inflammatory processes and blood clotting.


Digestive enzymes are protein substances that work in the digestive system, helping to break down and divide the food that is ingested into small particles; in order to improve your digestion and promote the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Also, digestive enzymes help prevent the accumulation of toxic waste in the digestive system, thus preventing the development of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders.

Due to its importance for humans it is incredible, because thanks to these enzymes, the body can function properly.

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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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