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

  • Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?
    Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?

    For a long time, bacteria was the enemy. We were told to disinfect everything and take antibiotics whenever we got a little bit sick, because killing the bacteria was the only way to make us safe. However, as science has progressed, we’ve lea...

  • What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?
    What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?

    In the world of diets, sometimes it may seem like every week there’s something new guaranteeing you’ll lose weight. It can be hard to know what these diets are, how well they work—and if they do work, what you can do to make them even more ef...

  • 5 Surprising Benefits of a Healthy Microbiome
    5 Surprising Benefits of a Healthy Microbiome

    It’s likely that you’ve recently heard about the “microbiome” for the first time and you may have some questions about what it is and why it’s such a big deal. Research is uncovering that our microbiomes are extremely important to not just ou...

  • Glutamine for Gastrointestinal Recovery and the Leaky Gut
    Glutamine for Gastrointestinal Recovery and the Leaky Gut

    Written by Dr. Michael Murray Even though you may not have heard of it, the amino acid glutamine is critical to maintaining a healthy body and gut. Not only is glutamine the most common amino acid in the body, it is the preferred fuel of rap...




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Articles on Natural Digestive Health and Wellness

5 Ideas to Boost Energy (That Don't Take Extra Time)
5 Ideas to Boost Energy (That Don't Take Extra Time)

September 20, 2018

If you’re feeling sluggish and drained as we head into this busy time of year, read up on these natural energy boosters to make the most out of each day. The good news is, none of them take extra time out of your already busy life.

Continue Reading

What Leading Research Is Saying About The Microbiome
What Leading Research Is Saying About The Microbiome

September 20, 2018

Far from a fad, the microbiome is becoming a huge opportunity for growth in both wellness and medicine, with a large body of ongoing studies revolving around it. Some may be surprised to find out how much the microbes in the gut affect our overall health!

Continue Reading

Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?
Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?

September 06, 2018

While the microbiome contains all the bacteria in and on your body, several surprising health benefits have been linked to the bacteria in your gut specifically, and this is what most people are referring to when they talk about all the good the microbiome can do for you.

Continue Reading