Digestive Enzymes vs Probiotics

While Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics are two completely different things they work together well.

In separate ways they can help with gut health and the entire digestive system.

In this guide I will go over the differences for Digestive Enzymes vs Probiotics and explain how they both work.

What Are Digestive Enzymes?


Digestive Enzymes Supplement

Digestive Enzymes are vital for breaking down foods in the gut and are vital for the digestive process. These enzymes break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins which once small enough are able to then absorbed into the bloodstream for the body to use.

There isn't one type of Digestive Enzyme that can break down all foods and there are in fact different types that can break down different foods. The three most important are;

  • Amylases
  • Lipases
  • Proteases

1) Amylases are able to break down Carbohydrates (Starch) into smaller sugars (Glucose) and they can be found in salivary glands in the mouths of humans.

2) Lipases are produced in the mouth, pancreas, stomach and are able to break down fats (triglycerides) into free fatty acids and glycerol.

3) Proteases are present in Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus Licheniformis, Bacillus Thuringiensi8 bacteria and can also be found in animals, fungi, algae & archaea. These Proteolytic Enzymes are able to break down protein into amino acids.

What Are the Benefits of Digestive Enzymes?

Without the necessary digestive enzymes the human body would not be able to break down important macronutrients in the stomach before passing through digestive tract.

If this were to happen then malabsorption could happen and lead to symptoms like heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, gas and more. If you experience any of these symptoms you should consult with a doctor.

Foods like fat need to be broken down so the body can absorb the vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E which are needed to maintain good health so without enough Lipases you could be malnourished.

Likewise, Starch has important fibers, calcium, iron and B Vitamins and Protein is important for repairing and growing cells. It is important to have enough Lipases and Porteases enzymes.

Lactose Intolerance

If you have Lactose Intolerance and suffer from an upset stomach after eating dairy it's likely because your are lacking the Lactase (lactase-phlorizin hydrolase) digestive Enzyme.

This enzyme breaks down lactose into sugar glucose and when you don't have enough enzymes to break it down the lactose may sit and ferment in your gut without being absorbed properly.

Interestingly strains like Lactobacillus Reuteri have also been studied to show benefits for those suffering with Lactose Intolerance so taking Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics for Lactose Intolerance could be beneficial.

Similar effects can also  happen with bean & legume intolerances which contain complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides. Likewise with celeliac disease and gluten allergies the same process happens when you don't have the required enzymes but supplementation doesn't always help with every intolerance.

What Foods Contain Digestive Enzymes?

You don't always have to use OTC digestive enzyme supplements to nourish your body since you can get some of them naturally from food.






Actinidain (Cysteine Protease) 








Proteases, Lipases and Amylases





Raw Honey

Diastases, Invertases and Proteases

If you have a serious Enzyme deficiency then eating foods wont be sufficient in providing your body with enough enzymes and you may need to consult with a doctor to get prescription digestive enzymes.

Eating foods like Kimchi also has the benefit of providing potent Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria along with digestive enzymes and foods like Ginger, Avocados are a great prebiotic fiber. One thing to note is high heat may kill digestive enzymes so try eat them raw.

Digestive Enzyme Side Effects

Digestive Enzymes from natural whole foods aren't likely to cause side effects provided you are not allergic to the food you are eating. Most OTC digestive enzyme supplements are also not reported to contain side effects.

According to RXList serious side effects may result from prescription digestive enzyme supplements like Pertyze, Pancrelipase, Pancrease and more. The side effects mentioned are Gastritis, Muscle Spasm, Asthma, Indigestion, Rash, Swelling Of The Legs & Feet and more.

If you experience any side effects it's important to consult with your doctor asap. I am not a doctor and this guide is not medical advice.

Taking Probiotics And Digestive Enzymes Together

Some fermented foods like Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Kefir already contain both digestive enzymes and probiotic bacteria and so it is perfectly fine to take probiotics and digestive enzymes together.

There are no known interactions of taking probiotic and digestive enzyme supplements together and on the contrary they may even work together to support your gut health.

The Difference Between Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

Digestive enzymes and Probiotics are two different things that play a vital role in the digestive process. Enzymes are naturally produced in our body by several glands present in the stomach and mouth. While Probiotics are the good bacteria that help us digest food and are only found in the gastrointestinal tract or gut.

Unlike enzymes, probiotics cannot be produced naturally in the body. So, any imbalance or deficiency of Probiotics can be dealt with only by taking Probiotics supplements, Probiotic-rich foods or eating prebiotic fibers to feed existing probiotic bacteria in your microbiome.

What Are the Benefits of Probiotics?


FlowFlora Probiotic Supplement

Probiotics may help people suffering from stomach ailments, including diarrhea, constipation, relieve symptoms of IBS, help with symptoms of IBD, and generally help you improve overall gut health.

Our gut is full of bacteria that help us digest food, and any imbalance in the number of these good and bad bacteria in your gut are often the underlying cause of several stomach issues.

Probiotics contain the good ones, and you can restore the balance of bacteria in your gut by taking probiotics supplements, thus improving conditions caused by the imbalance. If you already have a diverse gut flora you may not experience any health benefits from probiotics.

Sources Of Probiotics

Probiotics are available in the form of natural food and supplements which come in the form of tablets or capsules.

The best sources come from fermented food and drinks such as yogurt, natto, miso, kombucha, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and tempeh.

Probiotics supplements differ from each other significantly and may even contain completely different strains or the types of bacteria.

Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus, Leuconostoc, Bacillus, and Escherichia coli are some of the best-known good bacteria strains used in probiotics. You must carefully read the label of a supplement to know which strain it contains before making a purchase.

Final Thoughts

Digestive enzymes and probiotics. Enzymes are natural proteins produced by several glands in our body, whereas probiotics are the good bacteria that are only found in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Our body can produce enzymes, but probiotics cannot be produced by the body naturally, so you have to take food rich in probiotics or probiotic supplements to deal with any deficiency of probiotics in the gut.

There are no known interactions form taking enzymes together with probiotics but it's always a good idea to consult a physician before deciding whether you need enzymes or probiotics. Nothing in this guide is medical advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *