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Supplements for Digestive Health: Get Results with This Duo

Author: Gale Maleskey, MS, RD
Source:, February 10, 2010

Taking both enzymes and probiotics restores function faster than either one alone.

If you’re older and having some age-related GI symptoms, like gas, acid reflux, bloating or irritable bowel syndrome, you should consider taking two supplements for digestion—both digestive enzymes and probiotics—not just one or the other. You’re likely to have better relief of your symptoms, and a faster restoration of normal function.

These two natural supplements for digestion work in different, but very complementary ways.
Digestive enzymes act like “scissors,” breaking food into simpler components that can be absorbed. We normally secrete digestive enzymes when we eat, but secretion drops off as we age, and with illness and antibiotic use.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that live in our gut and help keep it functioning properly. For instance, probiotics keep pH levels in balance, so that digestive enzymes work better, support an internal environment that supports our immune system and keep bad bacteria and yeast in check. Probiotics also help break down and remove waste products.

Since antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria along with harmful bacteria, it helps to replace those beneficial bacteria by taking a probiotic.

Digestive enzyme supplements and probiotics can both be taken with meals. For best results, buy a digestive enzyme that has 4-5 different enzymes that work on fats, proteins, and starches. Buy a probiotic that has billions of CFU (Colony Forming Units) and contains the most beneficial strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus (Bifidobacterium longum or Bifidobacterium bifidum).

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: If you’re older and want to continue to have optimal digestion and bowel health, both digestive enzymes and probiotics are a necessity.