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Do Digestive Enzymes Have a Role in Managing Food Intolerances?

As a gut health dietitian, I've seen firsthand the impact that food intolerances can have on individuals' daily lives. From bloating and discomfort to more severe symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea, managing these intolerances is crucial for improving quality of life. That's where digestive enzymes can come into play, offering a promising avenue for symptom management and dietary flexibility.

Food Intolerance Dietitian Perth

Understanding the Science Behind Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes play a vital role in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the digestive system. When there's a deficiency in these enzymes, individuals may experience difficulties digesting certain foods, leading to uncomfortable symptoms. By supplementing with specific enzymes, we can enhance the body's ability to digest these problematic foods, reducing symptoms and improving digestion.

As a gut health dietitian, I've seen firsthand the impact that food intolerances can have on individuals' daily lives. I have also seen how life changing getting help from an expert IBS Dietitian can be!

Ele Stojanoska 

IBS Dietitian Perth

Navigating the Enzyme Landscape


When it comes to managing food intolerances, not all enzymes are created equal. That's why it's crucial to work with a qualified IBS dietitian. They'll help you achieve symptom control, identify specific food intolerances, and tailor enzyme supplementation to your unique needs.


Let's take a closer look at enzyme supplementation targeting carbohydrates (FODMAPs), a common intolerance in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).


  • Lactose: If dairy products leave you feeling less than stellar, lactase enzymes can lend a helping hand. Brands like Intoleran offer effective options to aid in lactose digestion. (Image 1, demonstrates lactose intolerance vs normal digestion) 

  • Excess Fructose: For those sensitive to fructose overload, xylose isomerase enzymes hold promise. However, more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness.

  • Polyols: Currently, no specific enzyme supplements target polyol intolerance. In these cases, dietary modifications may be your best bet.

  • GOS (Galacto-Oligosaccharides): Alpha-galactosidase enzymes, like those found in certain enzyme blends, can help break down GOS, easing symptoms in individuals with IBS.

  • Fructans: Inulinase enzymes show potential in reducing fructan exposure, though their impact on symptoms requires further investigation.

One notable brand in the market, Intoleran, offers a range of FODMAP enzymes designed to target different types of carbohydrates commonly associated with digestive discomfort.

Image 1: normal digestion Vs lactose intolerance.

Food Intolerances Perth

Maximising Efficacy: Enteric Coating and Timing

When selecting digestive enzyme supplements, it's crucial to consider factors like enteric coating. This protective coating helps ensure that the enzymes reach the small bowel intact, where they're most effective. Without enteric coating, enzymes may be deactivated in the acidic environment of the stomach, reducing their efficacy. Additionally, timing of enzyme ingestion, such as taking them right before meals, can further enhance their effectiveness.

Evidence-Based Approach to Enzyme Supplementation

Food Intolerance Dietitian Perth

While digestive enzymes offer promising benefits for managing food intolerances, it's important to approach their use with a critical eye. Research supporting the efficacy of specific enzymes, especially in the context of whole foods and real-life scenarios, is still emerging. Working closely with a IBS Dietitian and monitoring your response to enzyme supplementation is key to optimising outcomes.

Why Dietetic Gut Clinic for Food Intolerances?

The Dietetic Gut Clinic is a Perth based private practice with special focus on diet and Gut Health and disease. We believe that food intolerances are best managed by Gut Health Dietitian with an interest in that field.

At Dietetic Gut Clinic our mission is to empower and support our patients, to take charge of their digestive condition and health in order to optimise their quality of life.

We have clinics both north and south of the river which means that we are able to accommodate patients across the Perth metropolitan area, in addition to also providing Telehealth services.



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