How to Read an Enzyme Label

April 20, 2018

How to Read an Enzyme Label

Taking enzyme supplements can help support healthy digestive function. Enzymes may help you break down certain parts of your foods, improving regularity and supporting more comfortable digestion.

But not all enzyme supplements are created equal. Some contain fillers; others contain fewer or lower quality enzymes that may not be as effective as higher quality enzymes.

To ensure that you are using high quality digestive enzymes, it’s important that you learn how to read a digestive enzyme label. With proper knowledge of how enzymes are labeled and sold, you can compare products and choose the one that’s right for you.

Let’s look at the type of information you should look for on each enzyme supplement label sold in the United States.

Serving Size
The first number to notice when comparing enzymes is the serving size. Sometimes you have to take one enzyme supplement, and sometimes two. If the serving sizes are not the same, the enzyme product with the bigger serving size may appear to have more enzymes or more active units, even if it doesn’t.

Blends
Some enzyme products may contain oils, extracts or herbs, such as peppermint oil or garlic powder, to offer other natural support for health. These may be listed above the enzymes on the label, but may not contain amounts.
While it is important in reviewing these items to understand what is in the product you are taking, you should continue reading down the label to see what enzymes the products contain.

Enzymes Measured in Active Units
Next, the enzyme label should include the actual enzymes included in the product. All enzyme names end in the suffix “-ase”, such as protease and cellulase. Different enzymes can aid normal digestion of different types of food. For instance, lactase helps break down lactose, the sugar in milk.

Enzymes are different than vitamins or minerals, which can be measured by milligrams and include a percent of daily recommended value. No enzymes should be measured by weight. Instead, they are measured by active units. These are the numbers you really need to pay attention to when comparing enzyme products.

Active units are a standardized measurement accepted by the Food and Drug Administration. These are a measurement of how many active enzymes are contained in each serving. Each enzyme is measured in different units. Examples include:

  • Amylase – DU (Alpha-amylase Dextrinizing units)
  • Cellulase – CU (Cellulase unit)
  • Invertase – IAU (Invertase Activity unit)
  • Lactase – LacU (Lactase unit)
  • Lipase – FIP, LU, FCCLU (LU= Lipase unit)
  • Maltase – DP (degrees Diastatic power)
  • Protease – HUT (Hemoglobin Unit Tyrosine base), USP

Quality enzyme products use these standard abbreviations, not weight, on their labels. When comparing two enzyme products, be sure they both use active units so you can properly compare which offers more support for healthy digestion. In general, the higher the number of active units, the more support you may receive.

However, some products may include more active units than your body can actually use. Before purchasing an enzyme, you may want to research what each particular enzyme does and how many active units is considered to be a good amount for effective supplementation.

Enjoying this blog? Like us on Facebook!

Other Ingredients
At the bottom of the label, you’ll find other ingredients listed. These are generally the ingredients used to create the capsule that contains the enzymes. Some enzyme companies offer vegetarian capsules and others use animal products; some products may contain egg. It’s especially important to pay attention to this section if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Common ingredients include:

  • Cellulose
  • Gellan gum
  • Gelatin (may come from animal sources)
  • Water

Some products may also contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you want to avoid these ingredients, don’t purchase a product that contains:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Polysaccharide
  • Saccharine

Enzymedica digestive enzymes are 100% vegetarian, and they never include any binders, fillers, flow agents or excipients. They are also certified Vegan and Kosher, when available.

Allergy Warning or “Contains No:”
The last section to notice on an enzyme label is a section on common food allergens. This section may not appear on all enzyme product labels, but is important if you have any food sensitivities.

In this section, you can find out whether the product contains egg, gluten, dairy or other common food allergen ingredients. It may also mention if the product was made in a place that works with products that contain egg, nuts or other ingredients. If you have a food allergy, you should make sure that you find this information on the label of any enzyme product that you are considering purchasing.

Learn more about enzymes, nutrition and healthy digestion by visiting our blog.

Related Posts

  • How Cooking Affects the Nutrients in our Food
    How Cooking Affects the Nutrients in our Food

    It’s a common statement that we are what we eat, and there’s a bit of truth to it. However, stats show that we can actually absorb only from 10% to 90% of the nutrients available from any given food.1There are many things that factor into how...

  • High Enzyme Foods
    High Enzyme Foods

    Enzymes are the catalysts for specified biochemical reactions. They are present in all living things and play an important role in chemical reactions within those entities. Enzymes are the worker bees of your body, and they affect every singl...

  • The pH and Enzyme Relationship
    The pH and Enzyme Relationship

    You may get flashbacks to high school science or maintaining your pool, whichever is fresher in your mind, when you see or hear about pH, but it’s important to understand that each of us has our own pH levels in our bodies. While an average h...

  • How Do Ketogenic Diets Work?
    How Do Ketogenic Diets Work?

    You’ve probably been on a diet at some point in your life, and it’s likely that someday you’ll be on another. One of the today’s most prominent diets is the ketogenic diet. Diets can be as trendy as fashion, but the ketogenic diet can yield t...




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Articles on Natural Digestive Health and Wellness

Enzymes for Joint Health
Enzymes for Joint Health

May 25, 2018

Research has shown that living an active lifestyle can be beneficial for your musculoskeletal, pulmonary and cardiovascular health, but there can be a downside. High impact, repetitive physical activity can be taxing on your joints. But did you know that supplementing your diet with enzymes can help protect your joints?

Continue Reading

Apple Cider Vinegar: Better in Liquid or Capsules?
Apple Cider Vinegar: Better in Liquid or Capsules?

May 24, 2018

Apple cider vinegar has become one of the most popular natural health items lately, being touted for a variety of health benefits. It’s believed that one of the most important components of apple cider vinegar is something called “the mother.” Mother is composed of strands of proteins and enzymes that are found only in organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which give it a murky appearance.

Continue Reading

Enzymes – Help for Occasional Digestive Gas
Enzymes – Help for Occasional Digestive Gas

May 23, 2018

You treated yourself to a mouthwatering three bean chili and a deliciously creamy milkshake. Now comes the dreaded gas and bloating to ruin your after-meal bliss. Has this ever happened to you? If it has, I can imagine that it has left you feeling extremely embarrassed. Occasional after-meal gas and bloating are signs of a digestive issue, and digestive problems can be caused by a variety of reasons.

Continue Reading