If you’re generally bloated, gassy, and have a hard time digesting food, digestive enzymes or digestive bitters may be able to help. In this article, I am comparing digestive enzymes vs digestive bitters.
What are Digestive Enzymes?
We naturally produce digestive enzymes throughout our digestive tracts.
They help us break down our food so that we can absorb its nutrients. Efficient food breakdown also prevents gas, bloating, and other common digestive issues.
Sometimes though, for a variety of reasons – stress, inflammation, leaky gut, etc. – our body doesn’t produce enough enzymes. This leads to inefficient food breakdown, digestive symptoms, and impaired absorption of nutrients.
Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Digestive enzymes are proteins naturally found in the body, which are used to break down food into smaller particles so it can be absorbed into your bloodstream.
Digestive enzyme supplements contain one or a combination of enzymes (isolated from plant, animal, or microbial sources), that are meant to temporarily stand in for your lack of enzymes, so you can better digest your food.
Different enzymes digest different types of food – so be sure to choose a supplement that contains the enzyme to break down the specific food(s) you’re having trouble with:
- Protease breaks down protein into peptides and amino acids.
- Amylase breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars
- Lipase breaks down fats into fatty acids and a glycerol molecule
- Alpha-Galactosidase helps break down high fiber foods like vegetables of beans
- Cellulase breaks down the cell wall of plant foods like certain vegetables, beans, and grains
This is my go-to digestive enzyme, as it is wide spectrum to help you digest the widest range of foods – carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and protein. It’s the #1 selling digestive enzyme supplement in the US – and with good reason. It works! It uses a blend of different enzymes that work at different pH levels, ensuring effectiveness.
Digestive bitters are a liquid derived from bitter plants, meant to be sprayed on your tongue before meals to prompt your body to create its own digestive enzymes.
From the moment they hit the tongue, they stimulate enzyme release throughout the entire digestive tract, as well as other integral digestive secretions such as stomach acid (HCl) and bile.
Bitters supports your body to digest all varieties of foods, since they prompt your body to excrete its own digestive juices and enzymes, rather than taking over the job.
Digestive Enzymes VS Bitters
Personally, I prefer digestive bitters on a day to day basis, but sometime enzyme use makes more sense, depending on what you’re dealing with. If you have chronic digestive issues, go to a gastro or functional MD to help figure out the underlying issue, and find a holistic health coach who can help.
These are my go-to bitters.
How Else Can you Support Gut Health?
When it comes to gut health, there are many factors involved. Consuming a whole food, fiber-rich diet is important, as is a high quality probiotic. Avoiding unnecessary rounds of antibiotics, chlorinated water, sugar, and stress, are also key.
If you need help improving your digestion, eliminating bloating and gas, and figuring out your food sensitivities and what is causing your digestive issues in the first place, sign up for my Nutrition Course.