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What are the Side Effects of Digestive Enzymes?

Updated on September 30, 2011

Digestive enzymes are essential for the human body. They break down proteins and absorb nutrients from foods.

Some people occasionally have difficulty digesting their food properly. It could be that the digestive enzymes are not fully breaking down the proteins, fats and carbohydrates, or absorbing all the nutrients as they should be. When this happens, Doctors sometimes prescribe artificial enzymes to assist with the digestive process.

It is not unusual to experience certain side effects when taking artificial enzymes, although they are mostly temporary and mild. However, the side effects of digestive enzymes can sometimes cause other effects and possibly interact with any other drugs that might be in the system.

When thinking about the side effects of digestive enzymes, it is important to have a certain understanding of the types of digestive enzymes and how they work to break down the food we eat. There are essentially three different types of digestive enzymes: amylases, lipases and proteolytic enzymes. Amylases work by breaking down the carbohydrate component of the food, Lipases break apart the fats and finally Proteolytic enzymes digest the proteins.

When additional digestive enzymes enter the body, they artificially distort the harmony of the body’s natural digestive system. So while they work hard to correct the problem of improper digestion they might also cause a few side effects, which is quite normal.

Digestive enzymes side effects are usually noticed in the first day or two of taking them. Some of the temporary side effects include:-

  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Stomach Pain
  • Constipation
  • Mild Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Because most of the side effects are related to the stomach and digestive tract a person taking these artificial enzymes might be quick to assume that the enzymes are not working correctly. After all, bloating and stomach pains could be two of the initial symptoms experienced prior to taking the additional enzymes. However, after a couple of days these side effects usually disappear.

It is important to note, as with any medication, that you always inform a medical practitioner when experiencing digestive enzymes side effects of any kind to ensure that there is not a more serious underlying condition. This is particularly important if taking any other kind of medication because there can be certain drug interactions when taking artificial enzymes. For example, people taking anticoagulants should be particularly cautious and discuss thoroughly with a medical practitioner prior to taking. Generally speaking, artificial digestive enzymes safely help the body break down food and absorb the nutrients without any serious or problematic side-effects.

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained in this hub is based on the Author’s judgment only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health professional regarding your health and wellbeing, and before taking supplements of any kind. This Author does not assume any liability for this information, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages.


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    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Seeker 7 - how are you? Thanks for your awesome comment! Always good to talk symptoms over with a Doctor. Have a great day :-)


    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Really interesting hub! I've known people who have been put on a digestive enzymes supplement but stopped taking them after a day or so, basically due to the symptoms you described and then they would wonder why they were back to square one again! But not only that they didn't tell their doctor about the symptoms. Here's hoping that this excellent hub will insure that people do discuss problems with their doctor before just throwing medicines away.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Thelyricwriter, I do hope your friend feels better soon :-)

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Another great hub with useful information Cloverleaf. You really do such a great job creating these articles. Hope all is well. I know a friend that suffers with stomach pain and I saw that you had wrote this article. He has all those symptoms. He has had real bad headaches though for days at a time. So thanks. I will relay this possible cause.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Very interesting hub!

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 6 years ago from Guildford

      Totally informative. A brilliant hub here Cloverleaf, thank yo for sharing your expertise.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Victoria Lynn,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm pleased to hear that there have been no side effects of digestive enzymes for your boyfriend, I hope they continue to help for himself and his daughter. Take care :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Good information and well-written. My boyfriend started taking these enzymes, and they have helped somewhat. He had the bloating before he started them. I don't think he has had any side effects. He has diabetes, which is probably where his digestive problems stem from, but the enzymes do help somewhat. He has a daughter who takes them, as well, and they do help her, as well, so I can vouch somewhat for the information in your article. Thanks for the info!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information from you. I must give more attention to Digestive Enzymes and side effect behind this thing. Good job, my friend. I learn much from you. Cheers...


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Very good information. I appreciate the information.

    • profile image

      Susieq42 6 years ago

      Great useful hub, Clover. Excellent advise; you could be a doctor! Thank you, Susieq

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi there Rika, it's great to know that digestive enzymes work well for you without any side-effects. Thanks for your comment!

    • rsusan profile image

      Rika Susan 6 years ago from South Africa

      Good hub, Cloverleaf. I actually never realized that digestive enzymes could cause these side-effects! I have been taking them for a while and they have just been very helpful in so many ways. Good to know what to watch for, though.