Pancreatic Enzymes 101

Pancreatic Enzymes play a vital role in your body’s digestive process.  It can be difficult trying to understand what enzymes do and what they are. For that reason, this is a beginner’s introduction to Pancreatic Enzymes.  You’ll learn the basics about what they are, what they do, and how to fix any abnormalities.  Hopefully this will point you in the right  direction which will benefit you. Pancreatic Enzymes

Enzymes Functions and Responsibilities

Enzymes are a chemical produced naturally by your body.  Pancreatic Enzymes, like their name states, are made by your pancreas.  There are various enzymes produced like Lipase, Protease, and Amylase which each have a different role. For our purposes here, simply know that these enzymes created by your pancreas help to break down what you eat specifically carbs, proteins, and fats. After breakdown, your body is able to use the result to pass on to your body. A normal healthy pancreas should make about 8 cups of something called “enzyme fluid” each day. This is produced and passed on to the small intestine.  This “fluid” helps neutralize the acid level making the process of breakdown easier and less irritable.  When your body produces a sufficient level of enzymes (or “enzyme fluid”) the process of breaking down food should be rather easy and normal.

Malfunctions with Enzyme Creation

When there are insufficient levels of pancreatic enzymes or “fluid” produced by your pancreas, your body can suffer from some uncomfortable abnormalities.  These effects can vary in severity and frequency depending on each individual.  Some of these issues which result from an insufficient level of enzymes are:

  •      Indigestion
  •      Extreme Gas (more than usual)
  •      Bad cramping after meals
  •      Weight loss (uncontrolled)
  •      Smelly and greasy stools (more than usual)

If you are experiencing some of these effects, or have been told you need to increase your enzyme count, there are remedies and treatments which can help.

How to fix it?

The easiest and best known way to fix a decreased level of pancreatic enzymes is by taking enzyme supplements.  Pancreatic enzyme supplements can help your body to function at the appropriate level of enzymes helping the digestive process. These supplements come in both prescription and non-prescription form.  They vary in price and are usually very easy to find.  Essentially you take a pill with a high dose of enzymes which will bring your enzyme count up leaving everything else in your body the same.  We recommend consulting with your doctor to find out which supplement is recommended for you.

Side Effects

Although side effects from taking enzyme supplements are not very common and have a relatively low risk, it is worth mentioning what some of those risks are. They are:    

  •      Constipation (most common)
  •      Nausea
  •      Abdominal cramps
  •      Diarrhea
  •      Allergic Reactions
  •      And others

In the preparation and making of these supplements, sometimes foods are used.  If you have a serious food allergy, we recommend researching the process by which the supplement was made and if it contains anything harmful for you in it. Some of the most common foods used in their preparation are beef, pork, and pineapple. Once again, these are low risk and actually very good for you to take.


If you have further questions and/or would like to find out more information on these various topics, please contact us and we will get you that information.