By 2025 people are expected to spend around $1.6 billion a year on digestive enzyme supplements, which are being offered to help manage the discomfort of bloating, flatulence and heartburn. But Harvard University researchers say that in some cases they may be a waste of money. Our body naturally makes digestive enzymes that help break down food, so nutrients can be distributed and used throughout the body. Most enzymes are made in the pancreas but sometimes the body doesn’t make enough. People can then be prescribed enzyme treatments that are regulated and approved by medical authorities.
But health food stores and the internet are awash with supplements that are not medically approved. Dr Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist, says if they lead to bleeding or a change in the colour of your stools, talk to your GP.