What's the Difference Between a Probiotic and a Digestive Enzyme?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I often get the question, what is the difference between a probiotic and a digestive enzyme? There’s a lot of misunderstanding about their separate functions and what we need them for.

Probiotics are bacteria found in the digestive tract and are essential to good health. Probiotic bacteria favorably balances the digestive environment, inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, promotes digestive health, and boosts immune function. We inherit probiotics from our mothers and they can be permanently lost due to antibiotic use or poor diet. They are available in supplement form and in foods like yogurt and fermented vegetables.

Digestive enzymes are chemicals produced by our bodies in the pancreas, small intestine, salivary glands, and stomach. When we eat our food our digestive system requires the food to be broken down into nutrients before absorption and digestive enzymes break down food into those nutrients. Digestive enzyme production slows down after the age of 30 and it’s important to replenish them, for even if we are eating healthy our bodies are unable to absorb the nutrients from the food.  Digestive enzymes are available in supplement form, mostly derived from plants.

Users of digestive enzymes and probiotics supplements often report feeling more energized, not feeling bloated after meals, and having fewer bouts of sickness and infection.

Now it’s your turn: How did you feel after taking digestive enzyme and probiotics supplements?

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