Enzymes work to make sure the body works. Enzymes are chemical substances in animals and plants that help cause natural processes, such as digestion. The human body can make its own enzymes, which are made of amino acids, to aid in digestion, allowing the body to absorb nutrients. Enzymes break down food into small components so the body can use them to heal, supply energy and more. Even though the body makes enzymes, supplementation of enzymes can add extra health benefits.
The metabolic reactions enzymes produce are used to aid digestion and synthesize DNA. Enzymes are so important to the human body that almost every chemical reaction in a cell needs enzymes to function properly. The body, however, can’t always produce the enzymes needed to perform certain functions, which is where enzyme supplementation can help.
Enzyme supplementation aids the body in various ways. With conditions such as lactose intolerance, where the body doesn’t produce enough lactase to break down the sugars in milk and milk products, supplementing with enzymes can help ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Sports nutrition is another market where enzyme supplementation is going strong. Studies have shown enzyme supplementation can increase the rate of absorption of amino acids and proteins, and reduce fatigue.
But even with the success of enzyme supplementation, formulation can still be tricky. According to Karin Wertz, innovation project manager at DSM, making tablets with good enzyme activity requires keeping heat and moisture away. But, it also can be hazardous to the people handling them.
“In an occupational setting, some enzymes may act as inhalatory allergens, so workers have to be protected. With fine powder forms, the risks of inhaling fine particles deep into the lung is particularly high," Wertz said. “DSM’s digestive enzymes are non-dusty, resulting in improved worker’s safety, and the same time in superior handling properties."
Another formulation challenge often seen with enzymes is helping people in the dietary supplement industry understand how enzymes are different from other supplements, according to Smith. He points out that vitamins and minerals and other supplements are based on weight, but that isn’t the case with enzyme formulation.
Overall, enzymes can aid health in many ways, and consumers are taking notice. With research on enzyme supplementation and a wide range of reasons to supplement with enzymes, it appears that this growing market will only grow stronger.
Read more in the article “Encompassing Enzymes" in INSIDER’s Digestive Health Content Library.