Probiotics vs Digestive Enzymes: Why Take Both

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes work hand in hand to enhance Digestion

Probiotics and digestive enzymes complement each other pretty well and can be considered as ideal partners for optimal digestion.

Functions of Digestive Enzymes

A digestive enzyme does a highly effective job of breaking down complex food into easily digestible particles. For instance, a protease enzyme breaks a protein, an amylase splits carbs, and lipase helps digest dietary fat. This allows for complete absorption of contained nutrients within the food so that they can be utilized for energy and several biological processes going on within your body. A lack of adequate food absorption would otherwise contribute to GI issues like gas, tummy aches, bloating etc.

Enzyme deficiencies also give rise to problems outside the GI tract like fatigue and unstable blood sugar levels.

Digestive enzymes may also alleviate various symptoms of IBS by: [1]

  • Breaking down hard-to-digest foods
  • Optimizing nutrient absorption, which relieves bloating, gas, and constipation
  • Supporting overall colonic health

Moreover, bacteria in the small intestine should normally move to – and execute their job – in the large intestine. However, in the presence of an enzyme deficiency, especially protease, these bacteria will sit around in the small intestine and feed on the food we eat. [2] As a result, the small bowel grows acidic. Referred to as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, this condition represents another example where both enzymes and probiotics are helpful for curbing the growth of bacteria in the small bowel.

Functions of Probiotics

Probiotics are helpful in the long run as they keep the gut healthy by filling it with friendly bacteria while warding off disease-causing bugs. An improved digestion, a recharged immune system, increased energy levels, and positive impacts on mind and mood are just a few worth mentioning benefits of probiotics. [3]

In addition, factors such as excessive use of antibiotics, stress, and overeating processed foods alter the balance of the microbial community, causing the disease-causing strains to take over. Again, this is where probiotics come in to save the day.

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes can address a variety of Digestive and Non-digestive disorders

The probiotics can benefit tons of gut-and-non-gut-related disorders, including but not limited to:


  • IBS
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation


  • High bad cholesterol levels, and thus, are good for the heart ( reuteri NCIMB 30242 is particularly effective at this)
  • Obesity
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Yeast infection in women
  • Oral caries, dental plaque, gum bleeding, bad mouth odor
  • Skin diseases like acne and rosacea
  • Inflammatory joint problems

Likewise, the digestive enzymes are also beneficial for several ailments such as:

  • Lactase for lactose intolerance
  • Pancreatic enzymes for cystic fibrosis, inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer [4]
  • Pepsin for bloating, belching, fullness, and abdominal pain following meals
  • Bromelain for IBD
  • Aspergillopepsin for gluten insensitivities [5]
  • Papain for IBS, intestinal worms, sore throat, dental plaque, and gum disease [6]

The Benefits of Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes

Probiotics and digestive enzymes can be the best partners for enhanced digestion. When taken together, probiotics and enzymes ensure that your body gets everything it requires to process the food you eat, speed up digestion, fend off fatigue and increase the energy levels, help boost your immunity, and alleviate the blues.

The overall effect of these two combined complementary therapies is the maintenance of an optimal milieu within your body that keeps you in good physical shape and free of ailments.


  1. Money ME, Walkowiak J, Virgilio C, Talley NJ. Pilot study: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial of pancrealipase for the treatment of postprandial irritable bowel syndrome-diarrhoea. Frontline Gastroenterology. 2011;2(1):48-56. doi:10.1136/fg.2010.002253.
  2. Bures J, Cyrany J, Kohoutova D, et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2010;16(24):2978-2990. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i24.2978.
  3. Shi LH, Balakrishnan K, Thiagarajah K, Mohd Ismail NI, Yin OS. Beneficial Properties of Probiotics. Tropical Life Sciences Research. 2016;27(2):73-90. doi:10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6.
  4. Mössner J, Keim V. Pancreatic Enzyme Therapy. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 2011;108(34-35):578-582. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2011.0578.
  5. Ehren J, Morón B, Martin E, Bethune MT, Gray GM, Khosla C. A Food-Grade Enzyme Preparation with Modest Gluten Detoxification Properties. El-Shemy HA, ed. PLoS ONE. 2009;4(7):e6313. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006313.
  6. Tadikonda A, Pentapati K-C, Urala A-S, Acharya S. Anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis effect of Papain, Bromelain, Miswak and Neem containing dentifrice: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry. 2017;9(5):e649-e653. doi:10.4317/jced.53593