A digestive enzyme is a protein that helps speed up a reaction involved in digestion. Enzymes act as catalysts. Digestive enzymes refer to a broad category of enzymes including pancreatic enzymes, plant-derived enzymes, and fungal-derived enzymes. The pancreas is the main producer of digestive enzymes however, they are found all along the digestive tract from the mouth to the small intestine.
Before a Meal
The ideal time to take digestive enzymes is 15-20 minutes before a meal. The reasoning is that this gives time for the enzymes to reach the stomach and mix with the gastric juices before food does.
During a Meal
Digestive enzymes during a meal can also be effective when the enzyme targets ingredients in the food. For example, peptidase alongside a meal that contains gluten and lactose with a meal that contains dairy.
After a Meal
If you have reached the end of the meal and you realize you forgot to take your digestive enzymes, you have not necessarily missed your opportunity. The enzymes can still help aid in digestion if you are experiencing bloating and abdominal pain associated with indigestion.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.