Digestive enzymes may alleviate symptoms of functional dyspepsia, says new study

Oct 9, 2018

Supplementation with a brand-name multi-enzyme complex called DigeZyme can help manage symptoms of functional dyspepsia, according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by DigeZyme’s supplier Sabinsa Corp. (East Windsor, NJ). The study was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food1.

Researchers divided 40 subjects with functional dyspepsia into two groups that took three capsules per day of either DigeZyme or a placebo for 60 days. The enzymes in the DigeZyme complex are of bacterial and fungal origin and produced through a fermentation process. The enzyme of bacterial origin is protease from Bacillus subtilis. The enzymes from fungi are alpha-amylase and lactase from Aspergillus oryzae, lipase from Rhizopus oryzae, and cellulase from Trichoderma longibrachiatum.

Results showed that supplementation with DigeZyme had a significantly greater effect on efficacy values compared to placebo. For example, symptom severity scores as measured by the Short-Form Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire saw a significant reduction in symptoms such as epigastric pain, postprandial distention, indigestion, heartburn, and nausea, while the placebo group saw none of these improvements. In terms of the measure of dyspepsia, Glasgow Dyspepsia Severity Scores among subjects who took the DigeZyme complex were significantly lower, meaning that the severity of their dyspepsia decreased.

According to the researchers, epidemiological studies have shown that symptoms related to functional dyspepsia are meal-associated in 50%-80% of the population, and transient deficiency in digestive enzymes is known to have a causal relationship with the disorder. Physicians will therefore often prescribe oral digestive enzymes to patients with dyspeptic symptoms.

“The rationale for prescribing digestive enzyme supplements could possibly be related to the fact that various digestive enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down several complex carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into smaller units, which are then assimilated,” write the researchers. “Hence, it can be postulated that supplementing with digestive enzymes in [functional dyspepsia] patients having dyspeptic symptoms may aid in the digestive process and, in turn, alleviate symptoms associated with undigested and poorly absorbed nutrients.”

While some digestive enzymes experience stability issues with oral supplementation, certain enzymes from plants and microbes are known to be stable under a broad pH and temperature range, making them capable of acting throughout the human GI tract, state the researchers. The plant- and fungi-derived enzymes in the DigeZyme study, for example, interact with undigested foods in the upper region of the stomach before coming into contact with gastric secretions in the lower portion of the stomach in a process called predigestion. Predigestion, say the researchers, may allow certain enzyme supplements to withstand denaturation and hydrolysis.

“We’re pleased to see additional research on our carefully designed digestive enzyme formula confirm health benefits that improve quality of life,” said lead researcher Muhammed Majeed, PhD, founder and chairman of the Sami-Sabinsa Group, in a press release. “Good digestion plays an important role in overall health and now we can clinically say that DigeZyme is part of that foundation.”

References: 

1. Majeed M et al. “Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a multienzyme complex in patients with functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 0, no. 0 (2018): 1-9