The Best Time to Take Digestive Enzymes

Moss Nutrition has just launched an updated version of our potent digestive support product, Pancreatin Select®. The new formula combines broad-spectrum pancreatic enzymes with ox bile, bitters and betaine HCl.

Since its release, the question on many people’s minds has been: “At what point in the meal should I take Pancreatin Select®?” We are not aware of any conclusive studies that favor taking digestive enzyme products at any particular point in a meal, but based on our understanding of the digestive process, we believe that the best time for most patients is likely near the beginning of each meal.

To clarify, by “near the beginning” we mean any time from 15 minutes before mealtime to shortly after the first few bites are swallowed. One capsule is generally sufficient, but consider two for larger meals, or when a patient’s own digestive capacity is severely impaired.

During the early, cephalic phase of digestion, the thought, sight and smell of food, as well as its taste, stimulate parietal cells to secrete gastric juice before even a morsel of food has entered the stomach. Our own pancreatic enzymes-amylases, lipases and proteases-are also released by the exocrine pancreas into the duodenum during this phase, and as food continues to be swallowed. These enzymes facilitate the breakdown of dietary macronutrients as they leave the stomach and enter the upper small intestine.

Supplemental digestive enzymes also must be present in the duodenum to carry out their function. The best way to get them there without delay is to take them shortly before or near the beginning of the meal. This enables the contents of the capsule to leave the stomach promptly and be in place do its job with the first arrival of chyme.

Bitter tasting herbs such as Artichoke and Gentian, both contained in Pancreatin Select®, are also best taken at the beginning of a meal because their presence in the mouth and stomach has been shown to stimulate a cephalic phase response and activate the flow of gastric juices and bile. Because bile itself is active in the upper small intestine, the Ox Bile in Pancreatin Select® also may be best consumed early in the meal to facilitate its early release into the duodenum.

There is no reason to think that taking Pancreatin Select® halfway through a meal, or even just after eating will cause it not to work! Anecdotally speaking, practitioners have reported good results using digestive enzymes within a variety of timing structures. However, theoretically it makes sense that best results may be achieved when the product is taken near the beginning of each meal.

By Diana Allen, MS, CNS; Product Development Manager

07/07/2015 – Moss Nutrition Digest #3

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