The proteins which are known for carrying out catalytic reactions in the body are called Enzymes. Enzymes also help break down the more complex molecules that enter our system such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates; turning them into simple molecules. We have a total of 3 enzymes in the body. These are metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes. Food enzymes enter the body via the ingestion of the food that we consume and drink.
Enzymes are produced in the body to help in the digestive process of our food. As we age, or in cases when we are affected by diseases like pancreatitis, the level of enzymes lower and make it harder to digest some foods. Physical issues can also arise such as upset stomach and pain. For those who have an intolerance to certain foods, they can use digestive enzyme supplements which can be bought over the counter. Due to these supplements not needing to go through clinical trials, the quality and content of these supplements can vary. These supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Certain side effects have been known to be caused by digestive enzyme supplements.
Rash – Miglitol is one example of a digestive enzyme supplement which can cause a skin rash when first using it. The rash itself can cause discomfort and itching, however this is considered a non-serious side effect and generally goes away on its own without the need for medical treatment. It is important to seek medical attention if the rash starts to spread, becomes severe, or does not go away.
Flatulence – Excess gas can be produced in the intestines as the digestive enzyme supplement works to break down food, as indicated by Drugs.com. In some people this same symptom is also caused by a lack of proper digestive enzymes. While flatulence can be a bit embarrassing, it is not classified as a serious adverse reaction to the use of these supplements. As your body adjusts to the digestive enzyme supplement, the flatulence will usually cease. If you are having concerns or the symptom does not stop, it is advised that you speak to a doctor.
Pain – Having too small amounts of the digestive enzyme in the body can cause the common symptom of pain which is primarily experienced in the abdominal or stomach areas. However, there are some digestive enzyme supplements which have also been known to cause pain and discomfort in the very same areas. You don’t need to seek medical attention in these cases, especially if the pain recedes. If you start to experience severe and unbearable pain, medical attention should be sought. Lingering or severe pain should be diagnosed by a physician.
Diarrhea – Digestive enzymes usually work within the bowels or the stomach. The integration of these enzymes when taken in supplement form can often create an imbalance in the digestive tract. As a result of this, one may experience bouts of diarrhea, more significantly at the start of using the supplement. Normally this symptom will not last long, but should it persist, seek medical advice from your doctor. Also, be sure that you are drinking extra fluids with this symptom to avoid dehydration, a common side effect of having loose stools.
Other side effects may be experienced for a few days by those starting on digestive enzyme supplements. This is your body’s way of integrating and adjusting to the intake of these enzymes. Side effects that are most commonly reported are:
- Stomach Ache
- Loss of Appetite