Enzymes: Your Seven Step Guide, Part 2

Mar 21 22:47 2005 Loring A. Windblad Print This Article

The references for this series of articles is the author’s personal knowledge and experience, the book “Enzymes for Autism and other Nurological Conditions. This article may be freely copied and used on other web sites only if it is copied complete with all links and text, including this header, intact and unchanged except for minor improvements such as misspellings and typos.

Part 4. Compare pricing – Calculating cost comparisons

Once you have picked a product that contains the enzymes you need to meet your goals,Guest Posting and you see that the label lists certified activity units, you have several ways to further compare products. What is the cost per capsule?

To find out what the cost per capsule is, first find out how many capsules are in the bottle from the label. Capsules are better because the process of making tablets is hard on enzyme integrity or activity. Write this number down as Number of Capsules per Bottle. Next, add the price for the bottle, any extra discounts, taxes, and/or shipping charges to find the Total Cost per Bottle. Now divide the Total Cost per Number of Capsules. This gives you the Cost per Capsule.

What is the activity per capsule?
Sometimes it is helpful to compare products by activity per capsule. The product label may already list the activity per capsule. You always want to buy a product that lists the ingredients by acceptable units for activity, not by weight (such as in milligrams – mg). Weight tells you nothing. You can have 100 mg in an enzyme capsule but if it has zero activity, it is worthless to you. 100 mg may contain 5 units of activity or 500,000 units of activity. You can only compare values for activity if the units are identical. FCCLU is not the same as LU.

If the units are not identical, you need to find the conversion factor to get them into similar units. If the units are not identical and there is no conversion factor, you cannot make a side-by-side comparison and will need to look at other factors.

The U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) helped by establishing a standard for the pancreatic enzymes (animal-derived) by which you can compare other enzyme supplements, such as plant_ and microbial-derived. This standard is called ‘X’ and contains an equivalent of:

25 USP units of amylase,
2 USP units of lipase, and
25 USP units of proteolytic enzymes
If a supplement contains 5X pancreatic enzymes, it would provide five times the amount of each of the enzymes in this standard, or 125 USP amylase, 10 USP lipase, and 123 USP protease. There is no direct conversion between USP units and FCC units, because they are produced from different sources, using different methods.

How many capsules will you need to take?
Compare the activity per capsule along with how many capsules you will need to take. Some products say one capsule per mea, other say 4 or more. That can make quite a difference when buying.

Not many products are sold as straight enzyme powder because constantly exposing the powder to air can drop the activity level. So the first doses may have a much higher activity than the powder nearer the bottom of the container by the time you actually get around to using it. Generally, one capsule's worth of enzymes equals about one-eighth teaspoon.

ALWAYS check how many capsules count as ‘one serving’ or ‘one dose.’ Just looking at the list of ingredients and the amount of activity on a label and automatically thinking it is for one capsule is very easy to do. Marketing departments know this too. It may look like you are getting a lot of enzyme activity per serving, however the serving size may be more than one capsule. This is a common practice for many dietary supplements, not just digestive enzymes. Also, note how many capsules per bottle. Usually for enzymes, capsules come in increments of 60, 90, or 120.

Cost comparisons may look something like this:

Bio88+ (Plus)
200,000 CFUs at time of manufacture
88 Vegetarian-based certified organic products used to produce the enzymes
15 Proprietary Pro-Biotics included
45 days, twice daily, supply for $40
40 cents per serving

from Company A:
24.4 Prozyme Protein
21.1 Prozyme All_purpose (contains some protease)
45.5 cents total using 2 capsules for all food groups

from Company B:
24.4 Digestase Alpha_protein
19.1 Digestase Beta_carbs
43.5 cents total using 2 capsules, but have no enzymes for fats and sugars

from Company C:
30.0 Foodase Proteins and Sugars
27.8 Foodase Fats
25.0 Foodase Starches
82.8 cents total using 3 capsules for all food groups

You can go with one complete product, such as Bio88+ (Plus) or you can mix and match enzyme products, so you do not have to buy everything from one company. Check to see that all the products you are considering use a very high standard of manufacturing methods and quality control. All products should use quality ingredients, including sulfite-free papain or a manufacturing method that does not require sulfite. This will not necessarily be listed on the label, so double-check from others or the manufacturer. You may want to note if products come packaged in gelatin capsules (animal based) or veggie capsules (vegetable based), if this is a concern for you.

You will also need to factor in individual responses. Any individual may have a better reaction to one formulation, but not another for some unidentifiable reason. Nothing in a real laboratory, or what other people with similar symptoms say, can always predict how any individual will respond.

Part 5. What other stuff is in the product besides enzymes?

You will also need to check for any additives, fillers, binders, or other ingredients that are in the product besides enzymes. You will have to decide if you need these extras at all, or want to pay for them, or if they may cause an adverse reaction. Possible items are:

* probiotics - usually probiotics in an enzyme supplements may be a nice-to-have but are not sufficient to replace a 'good' or 'strong' probiotic (see Bio88+ (Plus) for probiotics list)
* vitamins
* minerals that may help deliver or transport enzymes (calcium ascorbate, magnesium citrate, zinc or manganese gluconate )
* amino acids
* other stuff _ herbs (such as aloe vera powder, ginger root), whole foods, gelatin, additives, preservatives, colorings, dairy, soy, yeast, gluten, sugar, salt, corn, wheat, or hydrogenated oils
* potential allergens or food intolerances
* ionic minerals – these minerals may help the digestive enzymes become two to three times more active and effective

Part 6. Research the product and manufacturer

This is always a good idea. Call the company or manufacturer and get answers directly. Keep in mind that a company will usually want to paint their products in the best light possible. Usually on health issues, they will not deceive you or lie, although this is not guaranteed and does happen. Most probably, they may not be forthcoming in giving you all the information you need if that information may dissuade you from purchasing their products. Bluntly ask them to explain why you should buy their product over a competitor’s product. This is not being pushy; it is being practical. People who are proud of their work are very happy to talk about it. If their products do not list FCC units, ask for the corresponding values. Have them explain it to your satisfaction. Be cautious about extra things in the formulation that you do not necessarily want to pay for.

Then go to one of the best sources available for information: Ask others if they have any experience with the products. Ask about side-effects and interactions. Find other individuals that have symptoms or a condition similar to your situation. Although parents and other adults have their preferences, they are usually very honest about that. Asking several individuals will give you a much better idea of general satisfaction with the product. In the end, you are paying for it and your family will be using it. Many issues surround the quality of enzymes. Ask about handling, storing, and packaging of enzymes because these all affect enzyme activity. We are interested in the activity of the enzyme as we ingest it, not as it leaves the factory.

Part 7. Understanding enzyme names and activity

Enzymes usually have the ending ‘ase.’ Usually, the first part of the name tells something about what the enzyme is working on. A protease would be an enzyme (ase) that works on a protein (prote). A lipase would be an enzyme (ase) that works on lipids (lipids means fat, so this enzyme breaks down fats). Pectase is an enzyme (ase) that works on pectins (a compound found in some fruits such as apples).

Protease is a broad term referring to any enzyme that breaks down proteins. In the enzyme business, almost all enzymes from microbial/fungal organisms are actually mixtures (or blends) of many different enzymes. For example, you can get a number of ‘proteases’ available from enzyme brokers with names such as ‘protease 3.0’, ‘alkaline protease’, ‘acid-stable protease’, or ‘protease 4.5’. The enzyme blend called protease 3.0 may also contain amylase, pectinase, and a variety of different peptidases. However, the supplier only certifies that blend for units of protease 3.0 which has certain characteristics that make it different from other of the supplier’s proteases. These characteristics may refer to a number of things, including its optimum pH or particular affinity to specific substrates.

There are a few main companies in the United States that produce core basic enzymes. People making formulations buy what they want, similar to buying ingredients from the store and then cooking something special from them. Okay, let’s say a manufacturer purchases three blends of a supplier’s proteases, such as ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C.’ Then he mixes two parts of A with six parts of B. Now the manufacturer has a ‘distinct and proprietary’ blend, which he decides to call ‘Ultrazymase’ and puts it on his label so that other sneaky manufacturers cannot copy his remarkable formula. The problem is, how do you then convey the activity of Ultrazymase? This explains why sometimes you do not get an exact ingredient list – because it is the proprietary information of the enzyme formulator. Or it may contain a proprietary blend from the original supplier, which even the formulator does not know exactly, or is not at liberty to disclose. It also explains why you may see a name that sounds like an enzyme because it ends in –ase, but you cannot find it in any research book or with a search engine on the Internet. These are usually the created names of proprietary blends.

It may seem logical to add as many different proteases in a product as possible to get the widest amount of proteins broken down; however, going with, say, more than three or four different proteases may probably be the optimal number of different proteases, and may do as much protein breakdown as having smaller amounts of six or seven proteases.

see Enzyme Product Guide at Organic Greens CA below.

Disclaimer: These articles in no way should be taken as “medical advice” on any product or condition, nor do they constitute in any way “medical advice” endorsing any specific product, specific result, nor any possible cure for any condition or problem. They are meant as a source of information upon which you may base your decision as to whether or not you should begin using a “greens” product as a dietary supplement. If in doubt, or if you have questions, you should consult your physician and, if possible, consult a second physician for a possible different opinion. The author (nor the book referenced and its authors) bear any responsibility for your decisions nor for the outcome of your actions based upon those decisions.

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About Article Author

Loring A. Windblad
Loring A. Windblad

Loring Windblad has studied nutrition and exercise for more than 40 years, is a published author and freelance writer. His latest business endeavor is at
http://www.organicgreens.us or
http://www.organicgreens.ca presently under construction

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