Supplement and Medicine Interaction with Enzymes

last updated 8.25.05

General Interactions

There is usually no chemical interaction between enzymes and most medications. Always be sure to consult your health care practitioner or pharmacist about any potential interaction if you will be taking any medication and enzymes at the same time, particularly time-relased medications.

In past experience, some families were considering medications, such as an antidepressant or stimulant, but once they started enzymes, their child improved to such a degree that the medication was no longer considered necessary. The medication or supplement was being considered for symptoms or behavior which were no longer there.

One possible interaction is that the enzymes may be breaking down the medication or other supplements more thoroughly, or enzymes may be healing the gut, so that the medication or supplement is now being absorbed more completely. This means that the person may now actually be taking in a slightly higher dose of the medicine or supplement than before; that is, their body is now metabolizing slightly more. If you are giving a particular medication or supplement, please be aware of any possible effects from the body responding to a slightly higher dose than before. A few parents have noted side-effects when starting enzymes, but they were side-effects from a medication or other supplement now being absorbed more thoroughly. For example, suppose a supplement had a side-effect of drowsiness. This is not a typical effect of enzymes. Decreasing the supplement or ending it usually resolves these effects.

There is one caution with time-released medications and the specific enzyme cellulase. Some time-released medicines or supplements use cellulose to slow down the digestion and release of the product. Not all do. Cellulose is virtually indigestible in humans since people do not produce that enzyme internally natually. If you take an enzyme product with cellulase (the enzyme that breaks down cellulose), the cellulase may break down the cellulose in the medication and mess up the time-release design.

If you are taking a time-released medication and want to use enzymes, please consult with your doctor or pharmacist. If they feel it is a concenr, you could see if there was another time-release formulation for that medication, or use an enzyme product without the particular enzyme cellulase.

Last spring someone called saying her son was on time-release seizure meds and what type of broad-spectrum enzyme could she use. After looking around, I suggested Lypo from Enzymedica. Although intended as a product for higher fat diets, it just happens to have a blend of amylases, a blend of protease, a blend of lipases, and lactase...and no cellulase! This pretty much covers the main food groups. Add in Purify, Peptizyde or other strong protease with it for extra proteases (or in the case of Peptizyde, for any casein/gluten issue). It worked out quite well. Her son was 19 years old and showed good improvement. So that combination is a good workaround for someone where cellulase may be a problem.

In addition, some people are able to reduce or discontinue medications or supplements they were on after starting enzymes. My family was able to reduce the amount of two medicines and quit taking over a dozen supplements after taking enzymes for two months. I would say it is probably because the benefits from enzymes decrease the need for taking as much of these other items to begin with, but we also might be absorbing and metabolizing them better.

With continued enzyme use, you might very well be able to reduce the amount of supplements and medications because the enzymes can pro-actively help the gut heal. Also, the enzymes will improve the absorption of not only food, but also any of the nutrients and meds you are giving.

This link goes to a list of possible interactions to be aware of between over-the-counter supplements and medications:

Nutrient-Medication Interactions

Start the enzymes first, then add in the allergy meds one at a time. The enzymes can increase absorbtion and utilization of everything you put in your mouth (foods including diet foods, supplements, medications). So enzymes may improve the effectiveness of the medications. If you start enzymes first, you will be able to tell
better if the med is helping and what dose you need. If you start the med first, the body may not be metabolizing it well, so you either think it isn't helping or you need much more of it. Same principle applies to supplements.

Here is more on medications:

One other point to consider...many medications have artificial coloring on the outside to help a person readily distinguish them apart. If your son is reacting to artificial colorings, you might try washing it off (some do) or asking for the med without coloring.

If the allergy medications don't seem to help as you want them to, there are two relatively new enzyme products designed just for allergies. Both are by Enzymedica. The first is Mucostop which appears to work extremely well on asthma and respiratory illnesses, if that is part of your son's reactions. I've noticed a medication called Muconex(sp) very recently being advertised on TV for the same situation. Mucostop helps with scratching throat, stuffy nose, and some other related things besides just asthma.

The other is Allerase and I have no feedback at all on it because it is very new. I haven't studied it enough personally to be able to explain its mode of action, but I think it is supposed to get into the blood stream and break down the compounds that provoke the allergy reaction. The medications are to treat symptoms after the allergic reaction happens so you feel better. Two different approaches. Maybe a combination of both will work out best.

The Rate Limiting Factor
Caution with Mega-doses of Nutrients

In nutrition, there is the principle of the rate-limiting factor (or nutrient). It holds in soil fertility as well as in plant and animal nutrition.

Whatever is 'limiting' the process is the rate-limiting factor. Once this limit is filled, the next limiting factor becomes the rate limiting factor. And, adding 3 times as much of the first factor does not improve growth by 3 times as much. english...

Think of a factory that makes cars. One spot puts on tires, one spot puts on windshields, one does doors, one puts in seats, and so on. Each of these can represent a specific nutrient. To make a car, you need ALL of these in the appropriate quantities. If there are not enough windshields, you can only make cars as fast as you get windshields. They cannot send out cars without the windshields. The entire production line is help up because of a deficiency in windshields. Windshields becomes the rate-limiting factor.

So the factory finally gets in enough windshields. In fact, they have more windshields than they know what to do with. Now production picks up again. But having 10 times as many windshields (mega-dosing only certain supplements) does not mean you can produce cars 10 times as fast. You may have enough windshields, but as you pick up production speed, you might now reach your limit on tires. Now production is limited by the supply of tires, because the car still can't go out without tires. Tires is the rate-limiting factor. and so on...

Just something to keep in mind with mega-dosing and why many nutritionists and doctors are very cautious, or unsupportive of this as a general practice.

Will enzymes interfere with probiotics/probiotic foods?

The enzymes in question are usually proteases. Probiotics consist mainly of proteins so there is the thinking that protease enzymes might break down the probiotics or make it harder for them to securely attach and anchor in gut. I searched a lot of the research literature several times on this.

It depends greatly on the probiotic strain in question and how it is manufacturered. Some strains are totally unaffected by enzymes, whereas other strains are slightly affected, and others very affected. Some probiotics are destined to function in the small intestine and some in the large.

The other consideration is how it is manufacturered. Some are enterically coated, some are not. Some can be mixed with foods, some can not. Some *must* be taken with meals, some *must* be taken between meals. Some in the morning, some it doesn't matter.

If you aren't sure, the safest bet is to just give the probiotic at the end of the meal (the enzymes are given at the beginning) or between meals (unless it specifies with food). I always gave probiotics at bedtime.

>Check the label of the probiotic and call the manufacturer of the probiotic to be sure how *their* product needs to be taken. They could comment on their own products. You can also just try giving probiotic with enzymes, and then without...and see if it makes any noticeable change.

Should enzymes be taken with probiotics or probiotic foods, such as dairy yogurts, nut yogurt, kefir, and cultured vegetables?

The probiotics in food are already 'established' and hard at work digesting the food as you are eating it. Probiotics in supplements are not. They are preserved in the capsule or tablet. They get to the gut, then they need to 'attach' and colonize. Then they start digesting food as it comes down the hatch.

Some of the supplement makers have sales line: Our probiotic supplements provide much higer counts bacteria than a cup yogurt. You would need to eat 6 cups yogurt equal it. However, many probiotics in capsule may very well get wiped out going through gut and attempting colonize.

The yogurt makers will say: You don't need that high a culture count because the probiotics are already established and going in a whole-food form. So in the final tally, the yogurt culture may well outperform the supplement. In addition, the yogurt supplies other beneficial factors that a supplement does no.



Selecting Products
Which Enzymes?
Dosing Guidelines
Mixing Suggestions
Interactions w/ other things
What to Expect Starting
General Trends
At School
Getting Started Step-by-Step
Enzyme Safety

Sensory Integration
Digestive Disorders
Food Sensitivities

Leaky Gut
Bacteria / Yeast

PDD/Autism Spectrum

Autoimmune / Neuro Cond.
Heart/ Vascular Health
Sports Medicine

This independent site is for education and information about digestive enzymes. There is a large need to provide practical and general information on enzyme therapy for a wide range of uses.

Enzymes have been around a very long time. Hopefully this site will help reduce the learning curve.

Ideas, comments, and questions are welcome.

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