There's little evidence to support their use for common digestive distress like heartburn.
Image: © Julia_Kuleshova/Getty Images
Digestive enzyme supplements promise to fix everything from bloating and flatulence to heartburn and gut health. The supplements are so popular that global sales are expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025, according to recent marketing research. But don't be too quick to reach for them. Some of them are clearly beneficial, in certain situations. But enzyme supplements also are often used in situations where there is little evidence that they do any good.
What are digestive enzymes?
Naturally occurring digestive enzymes help break down food so we can soak up nutrients. Your mouth, stomach, and small intestine make some digestive enzymes. However, the majority come from your pancreas, which floods the small intestine (when food arrives there) with enzymes such as
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.