What are the benefits of taking digestive enzymes on empty stomach? You will never guess what we’re about to tell you! Stick around to find out the 6 benefits.

Do you ever get terrible bloating after eating? What about feeling gassy or having constant diarrhea? Have you found yourself searching for “best supplement to stop bloating?” Or even, “the benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach?”

If this is you, you are in the right place. Digestive enzymes have become more popular over the years as they have been used to help with symptoms like gas, bloating, and fatigue. 

Read on to learn more about what happens if you take digestive enzymes on an empty stomach, why you need them, and our favorite supplements.

What are Digestive Enzymes?

Let’s start with a little bit of background information. Digestive enzymes have been clinically available since the 19th century. These enzymes are proteins that break down food in order to undergo the digestion process. When we eat, our saliva releases proteins that break down food. After the food is broken down, it can be sent to other body parts to be absorbed.[1,2]

Digestive enzymes are made from the stomach, small intestine, and pancreas. But the pancreas is the main enzyme in digestion. The pancreas produces primary enzymes in order for our body to break down macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.[3]

If you have read our post about the best glutathione supplements, you will remember that digestive enzymes pair well with glutathione. It helps bind enzymes in order for chemical reactions to occur and be carried out in our bodies. 

On the other hand, lacking natural digestive enzyme support can lead to painful symptoms after eating. This is why we are digging deep into the benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach.

What are the Main Digestive Enzymes?

There are many different digestive enzymes. The three main digestive enzymes made in the pancreas are:

  • Protease: breaks down protein into amino acids
  • Lipase: breaks down fats into fatty acids
  • Amylase: breaks down complex carbohydrates to simple carbohydrates

Have you ever wondered about the science behind lactose intolerance? Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk and milk products. With lactose intolerance, your body cannot break down the lactose. This causes symptoms like bloating and diarrhea. Lactose is made in the small intestine. Other common digestive enzymes like lactose that are made in the small intestine include: [3,4]

  • Lactase: breaks down lactose 
  • Sucrase: breaks down sucrose 
  • Maltase: breaks down maltose

Proteolytic Enzymes vs Most Other Enzymes

Proteolytic and digestive enzymes play an important role in digesting protein in the body. 

In chemical terms, proteolytic enzymes (proteases) break down proteins into amino acids. Digestive enzymes break down complex food molecules like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into smaller particles like glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and glycerol. Proteolytic enzymes can also be named pancreatin, papain, bromelain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin [25].

The difference is proteolytic enzymes are not just used in the digestive process. They are used to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. One study showed that supplementing with protease seemed to help in the recovery of muscle strength after exercise by regulating inflammation [26].

Proteolytic enzymes also have been known to help with many other things, such as cellular repair and cleanup. For this reason, it is often recommended to take them while fasting to enhance the autophagy / cellular clean-up process that occurs during periods when there is an absence of food.

When Should I Take Enzymes? 

Taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach is the best way to get all the benefits. When you take enzymes and eat, the digestive enzymes help break down the foods you’re eating. This can help stop symptoms of bloating and gas. 

On the other hand, when taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach, enzymes become metabolic. This is where proteolytic enzymes digest the undigested proteins. The undigested proteins can come from the meal the day before or even things like inflammatory molecules, dead cells, diseased organs, and so many things that are bad for the body [27].

Autophagy can occur when undigested proteins are digested first thing after you wake up. Autophagy helps with cell turnover (creating new cells to keep the body healthy). Autophagy has been known to give many benefits, which we will talk about later. The benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach can also help to improve digestion and reduce inflammation [6, 28].

What Happens if You Take Digest Enzymes on an Empty Stomach? 

Just like anything else, when you first start taking digestive enzymes on empty stomach you may experience side effects. These side effects are signs that the enzymes are actually working. Side effects can include similar symptoms to what you may be experiencing before.

Start With a Low Dose

It is best to start with a low-dose digestive enzyme in order for your body to adjust. Gradually increase the dose every few days with meals. This way, you will get all the benefits from the supplements while avoiding side effects. [5]

Follow the Instructions on the Label

In order to get the best use out of your digestive enzyme supplement. Make sure you carefully read the instructions on the correct dose to take as well as if you need to take it with water. Taking the supplement incorrectly can also lead to unwanted side effects.

Follow your needs. Everyone’s body is different. You may need to take a specific or multi-enzyme based on your symptoms. There are so many different enzymes to help treat all of the digestive issues that come around. 

For example, a study shows that taking a higher dose of digestive enzymes for people with fat malabsorption may help relieve symptoms. This would be different for someone with carb malabsorption. [6]

Let’s get into the benefits of taking enzymes on an empty stomach.

The Benefits of Taking Digestive Enzymes on Empty Stomach

  1. Boosts Autophagy

Autophagy is when old cells are replaced with new cells in order to keep our bodies healthy. In other words, autophagy means “self-eating” or “self-cleaning”. Autophagy has been known to aid in weight loss, longevity, and chronic disease prevention and has anti-inflammatory purposes. It is something that slows down as we age, so it’s important to keep this in mind [27].

Enzymes boost autophagy because autophagy cannot occur if there is still food trying to be digested in the body. Taking proteolytic enzymes on an empty stomach allows the body to digest leftover food and fully undergo autophagy. 

  1. Improves Gut Health

Gut health is an important part of looking and feeling your best. It breaks down food and nutrients in order for our bodies to work to their full potential. Studies have shown that our gut microbiome is responsible for every organ in our body! I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to keep my gut as healthy as possible. [7]

Digestive enzymes aim to boost gut health by breaking down macronutrients into smaller particles as well as sending out nutrients to all parts of the body. Probiotics also play a huge role in gut health by improving overall digestion and reducing inflammation in the body. When taken side by side, digestive enzymes and probiotics benefit gut health greatly. [6]

If you want to learn How to Reduce Inflammation in the Body Fast visit our blog.

  1. Stops Uncomfortable Symptoms 

Often having an enzyme deficiency comes with unwanted symptoms. Painful symptoms can actually inhibit your body from working to its full potential. This is because the body is working hard to try to fix the unwanted symptoms. 

Taking digestive enzymes on empty stomach can reduce cortisol– the body’s stress hormone, allowing your body to reach its full potential. Digestive enzymes may also help with leaky gut.

Research has shown that taking a multienzyme has reduced symptoms of bloating, gas, and uncomfortable symptoms after eating. It has also been tested that consuming digestive enzymes on an empty stomach can reduce unwanted symptoms you may get after eating a high-fat meal. [8]

  1. Increases Nutrient Absorption

The process of digestion consists of mechanically and enzymatically breaking down food particles to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Food requires the three macronutrients: carbs, fats and proteins, to be digested before they can be absorbed and used in the body. Absorption occurs when the products involved in digestion cross the mucosa and enter the lymph. [9]

If food is not able to be absorbed, it may cause gastrointestinal issues. When taking digestive enzymes, this can help the production of digestion and absorption, relieving GI distress.

  1. Increases Energy Levels

Who here hates feeling tired throughout the day? I know I do.

A common symptom of enzyme deficiency is constantly feeling sluggish or tired. When broken-down food particles are absorbed into our body, it is also providing us with nutrients and energy. Being malnourished caused by digestive issues can lead to fatigue symptoms. [5]

One study demonstrates a 2-week supplementation of enzymes and probiotics leading to the reduction of both mental and physical fatigue in post Covid recovery patients. Patients improved “brain fog” as well as their muscle weakness after supplementation. [10]

Exercise plays another role in energy levels. When we have more energy, we can exercise more. Athletes need energy so that they are able to perform without getting injured. Increased energy can also allow for more exercise which means burning more calories.

  1. Stimulates the Immune System

Taking digestive enzymes on empty stomach helps to stop the bad bacteria from getting into our body. Neutrophils (a type of white blood cell), plays an important role in fighting off infections. Because they release substances with antibacterial properties, this allows them to kill off unwanted bacteria in the body.

Neutrophils can also play a role in breaking down tissues. This allows them to travel through damaged tissue, reaching the area of infection and performing protective functions. [11,12]

Who Should Take Enzymes?

The benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach can help with many types of different digestive issues. Common conditions include lactose intolerance, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis (CF) or diabetes. Many people also have or develop an enzyme deficiency. People who have an enzyme deficiency should take digestive enzymes on an empty stomach [13]. 

On the other hand, you do not have to be diagnosed with a deficiency in order to take digestive enzymes. Some people who experience gas, bloating, acid reflux, fatigue, or the inability to gain or maintain lean muscle mass can benefit.

Say you felt super bloated after eating broccoli. Try taking the enzyme alpha-galactosidase. Though, if you aren’t eating broccoli, you wouldn’t need to take this digestive enzyme [14].

Say you have uncomfortable symptoms with about almost every food you eat. Consuming a multi-enzyme before meals can help with your symptoms. 

Quick pro tip though – if you attempt to take enzymes and you notice extreme discomfort or a “burning” feeling in your stomach, or even esophagus, this can suggest that your body does in fact have enough enzymes and does not need additional support digesting meals. Proteolytic enzymes are a bit of a different story, though, as they are used differently and for different purposes.

Our Favorite Digestive Enzymes

Below is a list of our favorite enzymes. There are gluten-free options, vegetarian, vegan, and more.

1. Ortho Digestzyme by Orthomolecular 

If you can’t seem to pinpoint the cause of your gastrointestinal issues, Ortho Digestzyme is a great option. 

Ortho Digestzyme is a full-spectrum enzyme, meaning it promotes the body’s own production of enzymes. Containing 22 digestive enzymes, this helps to digest carbohydrates, fats, proteins and more as well as supporting regular bowel movements.

Ortho Digestzyme is designed to support all phases of digestion: the gastric phase and the enteric phase:

The gastric phase: the perfect ph needs to be reached from betaine HCl and pepsin getting the stomach ready for the second stage

The enteric phase: protease, amylase, lipase, and trypsin get released into the small intestine in order to break down proteins and help absorb fat. [15]

Suggested Use:

Take 1-2 capsules before each meal.

Ortho Digestzyme by Orthomolecular is available on Amazon, but a better option is to 👉purchase on Fullscript👈, which is $31 cheaper 🤯when you use our affiliate link to create your Fullscript account (there is zero cost to you, but we may earn a commission which helps support our website). You will also receive 20% off all Fullscript orders for life when you create an account with our link.

Additionally, all supplements shipped from Fullscript come directly from temperature-controlled warehouses and are shipped in temperature-controlled packaging.  IT IS CRUCIAL TO LIMIT SUPPLEMENTS FROM EXCESSIVE HEAT EXPOSURE. For this reason, we buy all our supplements, directly from Fullscript. 

If you want to save some money and purchase the best digestive enzyme supplement on Fullscript, use our link to create your account. This link will take you directly to our favorite digestive enzyme supplements. Free shipping on orders over $49 too.🙂

2. NOW Super Enzymes

Another great all-around support enzyme is NOW Super Enzymes. 

NOW Super Enzymes help break down carbs, fat, and protein, benefiting almost everyone. It is made with bromelain, ox bile, pancreatin, and papain. These tablets are soy-free, gluten free, and keto friendly [29].

NOW Super Enzymes was named a top pick by Consumer Labs for its papain and bromelain enzymes. Papain and bromelain are two proteolytic enzymes which we learned are amazing anti-inflammatory enzymes and they are used to help boost autophagy.[30]

If you’re looking for a great all-around proteolytic enzyme and you’re looking to start taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach, NOW Super Enzymes is a great option for you.

Suggested Use: 

Take one tablet with a meal.

👉Buy now on Fullscript for $5 less than on Amazon.👈

3. Digestive Enzymes Ultra by Pure Encapsulations 

For all our vegetarians out there, Digestive Enzymes Ultra is the perfect choice.

Digestive Enzymes Ultra has many benefits other than being a vegetarian enzyme. It supports carbohydrates, fats, fiber, protein and even dairy digestion.

Proteases help to break down proteins as well as di- and tripeptides. Lipase breaks down lipids, and at the same time, amylase stimulates polysaccharides to break down starch and glycogen. Lactase supports carb digestion, like lactose (sugar in dairy).  Alpha-galactosidase also helps to break down complex carbs found in vegetables, legumes, and grains, which relieve gas and bloating. [16]

Suggested Use:

Take 2 capsules with each meal.

4. Digestion GB by Pure Encapsulations

Do you ever find yourself running to the bathroom or feeling like there’s a rock in your stomach after eating fatty foods? If so, Digestion GB is a great resource. 

Digestion GB is another supplement from Pure Encapsulations. This enzyme consists of bile salts, taurine and herbal extracts to promote fat digestion and gallbladder function. When fats metabolize, a complex process occurs where a healthy liver, gallbladder and pancreas is needed. 

Taurine, a nonessential amino acid found in fish and meat, helps stimulate secretion of bile acids. Bile acids, which are mostly used as ox bile salts, support the emulsification of fats in order to digest. 

Digestion GB contains enhanced lipase to give you even more support in fat digestion. It is free of gluten and non GMO.[17,18]

Suggested Use:

Take 2 capsules with each meal.

👉Buy Pure Encapsulations Digestive GB now for $6 less than on Amazon by using Fullscript.👈

5. ProBiota HistaminX by Seeking Health 

ProBiota HistaminX is a great digestive enzyme for people with histamine intolerance. It is also vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Histamine is a chemical found in the immune system that causes allergy symptoms. The body reacts to harmless substances like peanuts. Most probiotics already contain histamines which can cause reactions in people with this intolerance.

ProBiota HistaminX is the perfect probiotic for those struggling with histamine intolerance. The bacteria in a capsule help to make sure probiotics are delivered right to the lower digestive tract. Dealing with histamine intolerance may make you want to avoid foods to ease your symptoms. This can actually deprive your body of getting the nutrients you need. 

Adding ProBiota HitaminX is a great supplement to your diet if you want to stop avoiding nutritious foods and make the best of your meals.[19, 20]

Suggested Use:

Take 1 capsule daily with or without food.

*This product does not contain proteolytic enzymes.

👉Buy now for a discount on Fullscript.👈

6. Bio-Gest Digestive Enzymes by Thorne (Also called Thorne Advanced Digestive Enzymes)

Biogest is a multienzyme that we recommend for athletes. It is NSF for sport, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and is derived from natural colors and flavors.

Key features in Biogest include that it contains pepsin and pancreatin, it does not contain lactose and it does contain ox bile. It is best used after containing a meal high in fat or red meat. Biogest should be taken when consuming foods that commonly cause gas and bloat. It is also good to take as you age because less digestive enzymes are produced over time, especially after complications like gallbladder removal.[21]

Suggested Use:

Take 1-2 capsules with each meal

*This product does not contain proteolytic enzymes.

👉Save $10 by buying Bio-Gest Enzymes by Thorne on Fullscript.👈

Foods that Contain Natural Digestive Enzymes

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to get the benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach, we have four different foods that contain natural digestive enzymes.

Apple Cider Vinegar has become popular in the media over the last decade due to its aid in treating many different health issues. It is known widely to aid in digestion and reverse gut health. We actually recommend consuming 1 tablespoon of ACV with 4 ounces of water before a meal to act as a digestive enzyme.

Drinking apple cider vinegar can help balance the acidity in the stomach, which aids in easier digestion. Drinking fermented ACV with “Mother” is known to have many enzymes, health-boosting proteins, and healthy bacteria[22]

Pineapples contain bromelain, a mixture of enzymes. These enzymes aid in the digestion process. Specifically, it is effective in breaking down proteins. [23]

Kiwi being paired with a protein at meals has been known to increase protein digestion in the stomach based on a study. Foods that have the greatest digestion benefits from pairing kiwifruit include beef, chicken, fish, and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt. Gelatin and gluten digestion was also boosted when kiwi was also being consumed.[24]

Overall, eating a balanced diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats can also help with enzyme function. 

Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Enzymes on an Empty Stomach 

Most people don’t know the benefits of enzymes on an empty stomach. They will only take digestive enzymes during or with a meal, which can aid digestion and bloating. For those wanting to level up their lives by increasing longevity, reducing inflammation and stopping chronic diseases, you should definitely start taking proteolytic enzymes on an empty stomach. 

Digestive enzymes are proteins that break down the food we eat so it can be digested and absorbed. The three main enzymes are protease, lipase and amylase. Many people take digestive enzymes because their body cannot digest foods properly, causing unwanted symptoms like gas, diarrhea, and bloating. 

Whether you specifically know which food is causing your symptoms or you’re not sure, digestive enzymes range from treating multiple deficiencies to just one. It’s important to read the label before taking supplements because all enzymes are different.

The benefits of taking digestive enzymes on empty stomach include boosting autophagy, avoiding uncomfortable symptoms, providing energy, aiding in gut health and improving the immune system. Some foods also contain natural enzymes like apple cider vinegar, pineapple and kiwi paired with protein sources.

Have you ever taken digestive enzymes? If so, what has been the best supplement? What have you tried to improve the unwanted symptoms? Please comment below and share your personal reviews. We’d love to hear from you!


  1. https://thenutritioninsider.com/wellness/when-to-take-digestive-enzymes/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913179/#R30
  3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/digestive-enzymes-and-digestive-enzyme-supplements
  4. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance/definition-facts#:~:text=of%20lactose%20intolerance%3F-,What%20is%20lactose%20intolerance%3F,like%20cheese%20or%20ice%20cream.
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  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8472462/
  11. https://ojuslife.com/blogs/blog/when-to-take-digestive-enzymes#:~:text=However%2C%20when%20taken%20in%20between,fight%20cancer%2C%20and%20much%20more.
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5993548/#:~:text=Enzymes%20drive%20key%20processes%20in%20immunology&text=Within%20the%20innate%20immune%20system,through%20damaged%20or%20diseased%20tissue.
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923703/
  14. https://thenutritioninsider.com/wellness/when-to-take-digestive-enzymes/
  15. Ortho DigestzymeOrtho Molecular Productshttps://orthomolecularproducts.com › product › ortho-…
  16. Digestive Enzymes Ultra b…
  17. https://www.pureencapsulationspro.com/digestion-gb.html
  18. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Taurine#:~:text=Taurine%20is%20an%20essential%20amino,a%20neurotransmitter%20in%20the%20brain.
  19. https://www.seekinghealth.com/products/probiota-histaminx-60-capsules
  20. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/24854-histamine
  21. https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/bio-gest-reg-60-s-1
  22. https://www.thehealthylifefoundation.org/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19152478/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23394986/ 
  25. https://www.differencebetween.com/what-is-difference-between-proteolytic-enzymes-and-digestive-enzymes/#:~:text=Proteolytic%20enzymes%20break%20down%20proteins%20into%20smaller%20substances%2C%20such%20as,%2C%20fatty%20acids%2C%20and%20glycerol.
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19727022/
  27.  https://daveasprey.com/bioptimizers-611/ 
  28. https://siimland.com/why-i-take-digestive-enzymes-while-fasting-autophagy-shorcut/ 
  29. https://www.amazon.com/NOW-Super-Enzymes-180-Capsules/dp/B0013OXKHC/ref=sr_1_5?hvadid=177812788933&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9015414&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=11742208737655826805&hvtargid=kwd-28242956489&hydadcr=21223_9690787&keywords=now+super+enzymes+capsules&qid=1688675856&sr=8-5
  30. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/proteolytic-enzymes#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3