Thoughts on Digestive Enzymes?


What are your thoughts on digestive enzyme use alongside a Keto diet? Everything I’ve read indicates that they can only help with a keto diet, especially at the beginning when the body is transitioning from a “normal” unrestricted diet to a keto one. Has anyone read about or experienced any negative side effects? Is there any chance these enzymes could do “too much” and digest some unwanted carbs that otherwise the body wouldn’t digest?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

Never heard of needing digestive enzymes on a keto diet. The big issue with cutting carbohydrate intake is getting the skeletal muscles re-used to metabolising fatty acids—mitochondria have been damaged, and certain pathways have been deactivated. That is not a digestive problem, and it simply takes some time for the pathways involved to be reactivated and for the mitchocondria to heal and make new ones.

This process, which we call “fat-adaptation,” takes six to eight weeks, normally. Less time than that for some people, a bit longer for others.


Digestive enzymes do what they do, Keto or any other diet. Makes zero difference. There’s no negative side effects.

They can’t do “too much”, only do what they do. The only thing that will digest fiber as carbs is Cellulase. Even then, even if the one you want has some, it most likely wouldn’t matter to any level you ever noticed.

Are you having digestive issues? I use a broad spectrum one with everything in it including Betaine HCL (stomach acid). Some people do that one on it’s own. As far as keto specifically is concerned, the Protease and Lipase would be doing most of the work.

(Joey) #4

I must confess to knowing nothing about why one would need supplemental digestive enzymes in connection with cutting out dietary carbs. Do you have a preexisting issue that taking enzymes helps alleviate?

I’d have thought that (by restricting glucose/lactose/other carbs) one’s digestion becomes easier on keto - not more challenging.

I can understand their use in cases where it’s clear that production of one’s own digestive enzymes is impaired. But this would likely be a genetic or preexisting disease condition independent of carb-restriction.

Unless you’ve been diagnosed with a known enzyme deficiency, taking them seems ill-advised for an otherwise healthy individual. I’d be concerned that ingesting digestive enzymes may potentially serve to down-regulate one’s own natural production over time (like reliance upon melatonin taken chronically to fall asleep reduces one’s own natural production)?

Of course, if you’ve got a digestive enzyme deficiency already, or if perhaps a serious associated illness (like pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, certain cancers) then by all means, get serious medical help in deciding which - if any - enzymes would be helpful in your situation.

That’s my free overrated internet advice (since the OP asked for thoughts :wink: )

(Michael) #5

I take ox-bile and lipase to help with fat digestion. I was able to get away without aids at 65-70% fat intake, but I am currently attempting 80-85% fat intake, and as such, I am using and appreciating the enzymes as my stools are acceptable, as opposed to unacceptably loose otherwise. Hopefully I can function without assistance in the near future.

(Eve) #6

I think that if the stomach acid is not good enough, then the various subsequent digestive signals are affected, resulting in fewer digestive enzymes being produced, primarily by the pancreas. That would be a situation where enzymes would be recommended, along with the betaine HCL to improve the stomach acid.
So, as mentioned in the posts here, I don’t see that a keto or carni diet per se would required enzyme supplements unless there was some thing else going on as well.

(Michael) #7

I had severe IBS-D for 12 years prior to carnivore, I am sure you are correct on thinking something else was also going on.

(Eve) #8

Did the carnivore diet help your IBS-D? I have some degree of IBS- c and am hoping the keto diet will help it

(Michael) #9

Did keto for a few months and then 3 more months on carnivore before I started to notice improvements. Improved slowly for 6 more months until now when I am having normal stools. So much healthier and happier now.

(Eve) #10

That’s good news, as IBS can be a horrible condition and it makes sense that it will take a while for improvement in symptoms. Had you noticed you were getting better on the keto or is that why you switched to carnivore?

(Michael) #11

That was why I switched, and upon having success I tried to reintroduce keto vegetables without success. I may be able to now but I have not checked in a while

(Eve) #12

It’s a hard one though, because starting to experiment means you risk becoming symptomatic again which l am sure you would prefer to avoid! But I guess it is the only way to see if your system is now more tolerant to some veg.


So, if a digestive enzyme contains cellulase (500 CU), and I take it with a meal high in fiber, there’s a chance that some of the fiber that normally wouldn’t be digested at all can now be digested and treated as a regular carb in my body?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

That is correct.


Yikes :grimacing: probably best to avoid anything with cellulase then.

One other question: any idea how much 500 CU is? Would that have a pretty big impact on fiber I eat, or is that too small of an amount to notice a difference? For reference the same digestive enzyme pill has protease (20,000 HUT) and amylase (8,440 DU). I’m not sure what those units of measurement are.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #16

“U” usually stands for “unit,” but a “unit” is the effective dose, and is therefore a variable quantity. Not only that, but when the reference solution runs out and they prepare more, then the whole “unit” value changes and everyone has to recalibrate. You need to know the strength of the current reference solution in order to determine the quantity in terms of mass per volume.

I’ve never seen the abbreviations CU, DU, or HUT before, and a quick Internet search failed to turn up anything useful, except that Cu is the elemental symbol for copper, and a hut is a small, simple house.

If they were written cU and dU, then they could mean centi-unit (0.01 U) and deci-unit (0.1 U), but that is just a guess.


Yup! Problem is you’ll never know how much so it’s still a trial and error thing. I’ve never seen a difference I can tell, but I don’t eat a ton of plant carbs either, but if you were to eat something that had a massive amount of fiber (can’t even think of an example there) you’d want to leave it out that time.

One thing that kills me with the digestive enzymes is lots of them use different units, so it’s pretty much impossible to compare the difference ones. Probably by design.