Are you trying to repair a leaky gut? Do you suffer from chronic gas, bloating, indigestion, or constipation? Do you experience reflux after a meal? Or do you see undigested food or fatty substances in your stool?  If so, your body may have enzyme deficiencies. This is a common issue I see in my patients with chronic disease. It’s one of the reasons I recommend taking digestive enzyme supplements. 

What are digestive enzymes, and what causes enzyme deficiencies? Most importantly, how can you maintain healthy levels of digestive enzymes?

What Are Digestive Enzymes?

When you eat, your body breaks food down into smaller nutrients that your body can absorb and use. Digestive enzymes are small proteins that act on specific molecules within foods to break them down.

Similarly, other enzymes work on other types of molecules. If you have enzyme deficiencies, your body may not be breaking down food as well as it should. This often leads to major issues in the digestive tract.

The digestion process begins in your mouth, where saliva breaks down your food. From there, food travels to your stomach. This is where stomach acid begins breaking down proteins. At the same time, the pancreas releases digestive juice into the small intestine. The majority of digestive enzymes are made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juice contains several digestive enzymes, as well as bicarbonate. Bicarbonate neutralizes the acid from your stomach. The enzymes work in the small intestine to break down the food further. That way, it can be better absorbed.1. Enzymes produced by the pancreas include:

In addition, there are a number of enzymes located near the lining of the small intestine (the brush border.)2). Most of these break down disaccharides into simple sugars. After this stage,  the intestines absorb and release sugars into the bloodstream.

How Do Digestive Enzymes Affect Gut Health?

“You are what you eat” is a famous saying. I say you are what you digest and absorb. If your food is not properly digested and absorbed, it can lead to malnourishment. Malnourishment happens when you’re not absorbing enough nutrients. Undigested food traveling through the digestive tract can also provide food for the “bad” bacteria.


As a result, you may experience gas, bloating, and dysbiosis of the gut. Dysbiosis is when the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria. The amount and type of undigested food can influence the balance of good and bad bacteria in the colon.

To help combat this, I recommend pairing a probiotic with digestive enzymes. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a balanced gut environment. There are many types out there, but I recommend 30 billion probiotics. Together, this dynamic duo can help heal your gut that much faster. 

What Causes Digestive Enzyme Deficiency?

Now that we understand the importance of digestive enzymes, let’s look at what causes enzyme deficiencies.

Right now, conventional medicine recognizes very few causes of digestive enzyme deficiencies. For the most part, only extreme cases are recognized. Acute or chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, or gallbladder removal are examples. Small intestinal disorders like Crohn’s or Celiac disease also affect enzyme function.

Functional medicine recognizes other underlying issues that can contribute to enzyme deficiencies. Leaky gut is the most common culprit. Why is that? The process of leaky gut destroys the brush border of your small intestine. Inflammation from food sensitivities and toxins also decreases enzyme production. Other factors that affect digestive enzymes include chronic stress, genetics, and aging. Low stomach acid can also play a role. A healthy, acidic environment is necessary to activate enzymes responsible for protein digestion.

Functional medicine also differs from conventional medicine in that conventional medicine views enzyme deficiency as a black-and-white issue. You either have “normal” levels or you are severely deficient. In functional medicine, we see wellness as a spectrum. Just because you’re not to the point of severe deficiency, it doesn’t mean your levels are optimal. Many people’s health can improve by adding digestive enzyme supplements to their regimen.

Increasing digestive enzymes often eases the burden of inflammation. As I say, inflammation is often the root cause of many chronic diseases. Simply adding digestive enzyme supplements can improve leaky gut, Candida or SIBO, and chronic inflammation due to a poor diet.

How Do You Treat Digestive Enzyme Deficiencies?

In functional medicine, we use the 4R Approach to heal your gut. Part of this approach includes replenishing enzyme deficiencies with digestive enzyme supplements. Restoring digestive enzymes promotes better food breakdown and absorption. Additionally, they may improve uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

Digestive Enzyme Supplements

If you’re healing from leaky gut, or have digestive issues like gas, bloating, reflux, diarrhea, or constipation, I recommend giving digestive enzymes a try. Choose a supplement that contains a complete range of enzymes. Complete Enzymes offers a broad spectrum of plant and microbial-based enzymes for optimal digestive support. It also comes in a chewable form, making this an excellent choice for digestive enzyme supplements.

What if you have low stomach acid levels or are suffering from acid reflux? Try adding Gut Restore with Betaine and HCL to your routine. If you don’t know whether your stomach acid is low, there is a simple test you can do to find out. 

Take one capsule of Gut Restore with Betaine and HCL with water before a meal. See how you feel after about 30 minutes. If you feel a burning sensation, you don’t need to take supplemental HCL. However, if you feel fine, you probably need to add an HCL supplement.

From Gut Health to Total Health

In addition to taking digestive enzyme supplements,The Myers Way® can show you how certain factors come together to create a state of health. These factors can also create a state of disease. Even when symptoms seem unrelated to your gut, trust me when I say your gut health affects the rest of your body.

My plan to reverse and prevent inflammatory diseases and symptoms is outlined in The Autoimmune Solution. What you’ll soon learn from this program is that it all begins with repairing your gut. This is the same approach I used in my clinic to treat thousands of patients successfully. 

Complete Enzymes Bottle - Promo Image - Amy Myers MD