I have heard many people say that they’ve tried enzymes and probiotics but didn’t get a lot of results. Most likely this is because they were using a low quality supplement. There are many different kinds of probiotics and enzymes that are being sold and some are of better quality than others. Most probiotic supplements contain less than 5 different strains and many digestive enzyme supplements contain only the major digestive enzymes and not the minor.
We use “Digestive Health” sold by Core Health Products. Although I have not tried any other brand, I would highly recommend Digestive Health because it is what has helped my children and so many others. Also I know that it is a very high quality supplement.
Please note that it is very important to take enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics together for proper delivery and balance of the GI system. Although they do not need to all be in the same capsule, it is more convenient and possibly less expensive.
If you wish to look for a different brand of probiotics and/or enzymes than we use, then here is are some pointers that I found in an article titled “How to Choose Your Supplements”. Although it was not written by myself or Core Health Products company, their products do meet these criterias. I assume though that there are other products that meet them too.
How to Choose an Enzyme Supplement
All enzyme supplements are not the same.
Supplemental enzymes should:
- Be supplied as plant-based food enzymes. Plant based enzymes are more effective than animal or pancreatic enzymes. For a couple reasons. First, plant enzymes have a broader pH activity range, which means they can help digest foods and remain active throughout the intestinal tract. Second, they do not interfere with the natural functioning of the body and therefore have no side effects. Enzymes such as pancreatin, trypsin and chymotrypsin are animal/pancreatic enzymes. Avoid enzyme formulas that contain these ingredients. Instead look for formulas which list enzymes such as protease, lipase, amylase and peptidase. Also with animal based enzymes the body can become dependent on them and slow down in making its own. Whereas plant based enzymes encourage the body to make more of its own.
- Include all the necessary co-factors (vitamins, minerals and coenzymes). All the nutrient cofactors (vitamins and minerals) must be present for each enzyme to be fully active and to insure maximum enzyme activity. For example, enzymes require calicium and magnesium to be able to function properly. So, when you look at the supplement facts on any probiotics and/or enzymes be sure they have more than just probiotics and enzymes in them. If they do not contain those co-factors, then the supplement will rob the body of them to make them work properly. If the body for some reason does not contain enough of these co-factors then the supplement will not be as effective. Also over time, taking a supplement without the needed co-factors can cause a deficiency of them in the body.
- Include the full spectrum of enzymes. When choosing a digestive enzyme formula, an additional recommendation applies. Specifically, a digestive enzyme formula should include the full spectrum of enzymes necessary to break down all types of foods completely. To completely break down a food, all the enzymes for each component of the food must be present. This means that a digestive enzyme formula should not only include the major enzymes (e.g. protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase), but the formula should also include the enzymes for the next steps (e.g. peptidase, lactase, glucoamylase and malt diastase).
How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement
Look for a high-quality stabilized probiotic. Probiotics are live microbial food supplements that provide health benefits by improving the intestinal balance of microflora (gut bacteria).
An effective probiotic should :
- Exert a beneficial effect on immunity and digestion. To have the most beneficial effect on health a probiotic supplement should contain at least eight different strains of bacteria (the ideal is twelve or more).
- Be nonpathogenic and nontoxic. To ensure that the bacteria are truly beneficial and not harmful look for the following bacteria listed on the label Lactobacillus acidophilus, L bulgaricus, L brevis, L lactis, L reuteri and Bifodobacterium longum . (This list is not all inclusive)
- Contain a large number of viable cells. One way to help ensure that a supplement contains a large number of viable cells is to look for whole food fructooligosaccharides (FOS), such as Jerusalem Artichoke. Fructooligosaccharides, more commonly known as FOS, are a class of simple carbohydrates found naturally in certain plants (Jerusalem artichokes, onions, and bananas) and act as “food” for the bacteria in the probiotic supplement. Be sure that the FOS (Jerusalem artichokes, onions, and bananas) listed on the label is a whole food and not a chemically produced FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), which may have toxic effects.
- Be capable of surviving metabolism in the gut. The probiotic should be in capsule form to help ensure that the bacteria survive the trip through the digestive tract to the colon.
….Here is some more info from the same article about quality supplements in general but would certainly pertain to probiotics and enzymes too….
Be sure the supplement supplies nutrients that the body can use. This means the ingredients of the supplement must be both absorbable and useable. A supplement is of no use to you if the cells of your body can’t use it. Use the following guidelines to ensure that the supplement will be absorbed and used by the body.
- Look for supplements in capsule form. The nutrients in capsules are more available to the body than tablets. Tablets often have binding agents and a protective coating added, which make it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients. Even if the tablet dissolves, the nutrients in the tablet are often inactive. The processing techniques used to put nutrients into tablet form require extreme temperatures and/or pressures to compress the ingredients, which destroy the vitamins, enzymes and food complexes rendering them useless to the body. Capsules are created under much milder conditions allowing the nutrients to stay in their original form and remain available to the body.
- Don’t play the milligram game. It makes no difference how much of a nutrient is contained in a supplement if it isn’t absorbed and if it isn’t in a form that can be used by the body. Avoid supplements that play the numbers game and advertise large amounts (milligrams) of nutrients. Guaranteeing the ingredients are available to the cells of the body is more important than how much of a nutrient is listed on a supplement label. A rock contains large amounts (in milligrams) of a variety of minerals, but those minerals are not available for use by the body if you eat the rock. To be sure the nutrients in your supplement are in a usable form, choose whole food vitamins, amino acid chelated minerals, plant enzymes and stabilized probiotics.
- Look for supplements that ensure cellular delivery. Cellular delivery is the key to true nutrition. If a nutrient cannot reach the cells that need it, it is useless. To achieve cellular delivery, a nutrient delivery system must be included as part of the supplement. An effective nutrient delivery system will include the specific enzymes that are required for a nutrient to be absorbed and delivered to the cells of the body. The delivery system should also include the necessary nutrient cofactors and minerals required for those enzymes to function optimally. Look for phrases such as “guaranteed nutrient delivery” , “guaranteed cellular delivery” , or “assured cellular delivery” on the label.
Digestive Health has over 20 different types of broad spectrum digestive enzymes, 13 different strains of pH stabilized probiotics, prebiotics (food for the probiotics), and several herbs that are soothing to the gut. It is in capsule form and also contains all the necessary co-factors. You can find a detailed ingredients list under “close up” on their site.
I have heard a lot of good about Klaire Labs probiotics but personally haven’t used them. They have products that contain around 10-14 strains of probioitcs but I do not believe that they sell a digestive enzymes product.
Also one mom in the Chicago area told me that she found probiotics and digsestive enzymes (sold separately) from a local store called Karyn’s Raw and although their website doesn’t give a detailed list of ingredients, the mom told me what they were and I felt they compared closely.
I assume there are others that are comparable also but so far I haven’t run across them in my searches. If you have found a probiotic and/or digestive enzymes product that has really helped you or child, I would be interested in knowing about it. Feel free to comment here. I know that what works for one, may not work for the next, and vice versa so I like to be able to give people options. 🙂
If interested in trying the Digestive Health you can do so by ordering on their website Core Health Products, call them at 800-342-4792, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you would have.
Shan Stratton is the owner of the company but is also a nutritionist to many professional athletes and travels all over the US and internationally giving health education seminars. I appreciate that even though he is well-known, he cares about the everyday person. He rarely is the one to take calls for his business anymore but has a very knowledgeable man named Chris that does. I find it extremely nice and helpful to always talk to the same person when I call in to place my order or ask questions.
One bottle of Digestive Health contains 60 pills and costs $35.24. If you order 2 or more bottles it costs $29.95 per bottle. If you buy by the case (12 or more bottles) they cost $24.95 per bottle, but you have to call instead of ordering online to get case pricing. If you have a store in which you would like to sell their products, you can contact them for a retailer’s price.
If ordering online, enter “reflux” in the coupon code box to get a $5 discount.
They will ship anywhere in the world. If you are ordering outside of the United States, call in or email Chris directly at email@example.com and you can probably get a cheaper shipping price than if you order online.
To learn more about the symptoms our children suffered from and what we found to help tremendously with their reflux and digestive problems, go to my Home Page!
Martha Koehn, wife to Russ and mom to Quinton, Jackson, Shiloh and Branson