A Deep Dive into Digestive Enzymes

Mt. Angel Vitamins has two digestive enzyme products - one that is vegetarian and is made to help digest plant materials and another which is animal-based and has enzymes that are most identical to those in the human digestive system.  In this post, we discuss the different types of enzymes, what they do specifically, and how and where they act in your digestive tract.  

Good Digest is a vegetarian product which uses five different enzymes: proteolytic enzymes papain and bromelain (aka proteases, which break down protein into smaller units), a starch digester (amylase enzyme), a fat digesting enzyme (lipase), and a cellulose digesting enzyme (cellulase).  The idea behind this particular product is that it approaches the full vegetarian need for digesting plant materials.  The total vitamin load that is in a plant cell wall is trapped, essentially, by the cellulose, so that is where the cellulase comes in.  

The proteolytic enzymes are two very nice ingredients: papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple.  Both are natural, fruit-sourced enzymes. The bromelain has many properties, but specifically in the digestive process it is a non-specific proteolytic enzyme.  If you take this on an empty stomach, the body absorbs the proteases independently of your digestive system and it utilizes the proteases to help rebuild muscle and increase arterial support for helping to maintain the arteries and the veins of the body. 

Good Digest comes in a tablet form, which is designed to digest (fall apart) very easily in the stomach.  All of the enzymes are acid stable; we did not need to do an enteric coating on them to keep them alive. [Enteric coatings are used to prevent or minimize dissolution in the stomach, but allow dissolution in the small intestine.]  The amylase, lipase, and cellulase are fungal enzymes and fungal enzymes have stability in an area around a pH of 1, so they do survive quite well in the stomach.  

The next product we have is our Super Enzymes, which we believe is the best enzyme product in the market today.  The only negative is that it is not a vegetarian-sourced material.  However, the enzymes in this product are almost identical to those in humans.  If you need enzymes that are going to act in the same way your body's enzymes act, then this is the product you want to take.  The bromelain has some nice properties, but it does not digest proteins in the same way that animal-based enzymes digest. 

In this product, we use a pancreatic complex that has a delayed-release coating on it.  It can survive very easily in the stomach, move over the duodenum into the intestinal tract and activate where these enzymes would normally be located.  It creates an environment that is very normal for the human body to experience.

This product is used by individuals who have some digestive challenges.  The owner of our company has had a problem with his pancreas and his pancreas started to auto-digest.  He uses this product now exclusively to support his digestive system.  He reports very frequently that this is one of the best things that he's made a decision to not only manufacture, but also to then utilize as part of his daily living.  

The pancreatic complex is comprised of pancrelipase, pancreatin, and diastase.  Again, all of these are animal-based enzymes.  Pancrelipase is composed mostly of trypsin and chymotrypsin.  These are a family of enzymes which are very targeted at very specific amino-acids on the protein sequences.  

We also include a bit of Betaine Hydrochloride in here which is outside of the delayed release.  We want the betaine to be activated in the stomach. 

Ox Bile Salts are included to mimic the bile duct, specifically the generation of cholic and deoxycholic acids that the bile generates and kicks into the intestinal tract.  Those are absolutely essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.  If you do not have cholic or deoxycholic acid present in your diet, or in your bile duct as it discharges (if you are missing your gall badder), then it becomes important for you to have cholic and deoxycholic acid to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.  

We have an acid-stable protease present in this product.  This is a very unique material in that its activity - not its stability - occurs at a pH between 1 and 3. That pH range is normal for the stomach until it has food or beverages which change the pH.  [The normal stomach pH is 1 and runs up to about 3 when you start eating food.]  It's that low pH which allows this acid-stable protease to go to work.  

We also have papain, which adds more proteolytic actvity.  It sits outside of the delayed-release portion of the capsule because it is also acid stable. 

Finally, we have a blend of a few other ingredients present which give a unique calming effect on the intestinal tract, as well as support for general feelings of well-being.  

This is a synergystic product, meaning that if we took out any one of those main ingredients, it would definitely lose efficacy and would not have the benefits that are commonly associated with it at this time.

As far as timing of the enzymes goes, you can use this product on an empty stomach.  If you do take it on an empty stomach, the body does absorb the proteases independently of your digestive system and will use them for muscle support and arterial support.  The other alternative is to use this just prior to eating food [15 minutes before a meal], so that it will have time to fall apart as it reaches the stomach and, with food present, it would move into the intestinal tract and act as a digestive product.  It is not recommended to take this product after a meal.  


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