digestive enzymes

Top Signs You Might Be Lacking Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes play an important role in breaking down food into nutrients that our bodies can absorb and utilize. Without them, our digestive system may struggle to efficiently process food, leading to various discomforts and health issues. 

In this article, we will explore what enzymes are, the importance of digestive enzymes, common types of digestive enzymes, and signs that you might be lacking them.

digestive enzymes supplement malaysia

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts, speeding up chemical reactions in the body without being consumed themselves. In digestion, enzymes play a vital role in breaking down large food molecules into smaller ones that the body can absorb and use for energy, growth, and repair.

Understanding Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes specifically aid in the breakdown of food components such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Produced by various organs including the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine, these enzymes work together to ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Common Types of Digestive Enzymes


This enzyme is primarily responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into simpler sugars like glucose and maltose. 

Produced in various locations along the digestive tract, including the salivary glands and the pancreas, amylase begins its action in the mouth during chewing, where salivary amylase initiates the breakdown of starches into maltose. 

Once the food reaches the small intestine, pancreatic amylase continues the process, further breaking down complex carbohydrates into easily absorbable sugars for energy.


Protease enzymes play a crucial role in digesting proteins into their constituent amino acids. 

Produced primarily in the stomach and small intestine, proteases help break down dietary proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids, which are then absorbed through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream. 

This process is necessary to ensure the body has an adequate supply of amino acids, which are crucial for building and repairing tissues, synthesizing hormones, and supporting immune function.


Lipase is responsible for the digestion of dietary fats into fatty acids and glycerol. 

Produced in the pancreas and small intestine, lipase enzymes are essential for breaking down triglycerides, the primary form of fat found in food, into smaller molecules that can be absorbed through the intestinal lining.

Once absorbed, fatty acids and glycerol are utilized for energy production, cell membrane synthesis, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.


Although humans do not naturally produce cellulase, this enzyme is found in certain digestive enzyme supplements and is important for breaking down cellulose, a type of fiber found in plant-based foods. 

Cellulase enzymes help break down the rigid cell walls of plants, releasing valuable nutrients trapped within, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Through enhancing the breakdown of cellulose, cellulase enzymes support healthy digestion and may help alleviate symptoms of bloating and gas associated with fiber-rich diets.


Lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, into its component sugars, glucose, and galactose. Produced in the small intestine, lactase enzymes are essential for individuals to digest lactose effectively. 

However, some individuals may have insufficient levels of lactase, leading to lactose intolerance, characterized by symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea after consuming dairy products. 

Digestive enzyme supplements containing lactase can help alleviate symptoms and improve tolerance to lactose-containing foods.

Bromelain and Papain

These proteolytic enzymes, derived from pineapple and papaya, respectively, are known for their ability to aid in protein digestion. 

Bromelain and papain supplements are often used to support digestive health and may help alleviate symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and discomfort after meals containing protein-rich foods. 

Additionally, these enzymes possess anti-inflammatory properties and may support immune function by helping to break down immune complexes and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.

Why Do You Need Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are essential for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Without adequate enzymes, food particles may not be fully broken down, leading to malabsorption of nutrients and potential nutrient deficiencies. Furthermore, undigested food can ferment in the gut, causing discomfort, bloating, and other digestive issues.

Signs of Digestive Enzyme Deficiency

Bloating and Gas

Difficulty digesting certain foods, especially those high in carbohydrates, can lead to bloating and excessive gas. Digestive enzyme supplements, such as those available in Malaysia, can help alleviate these symptoms by aiding in the breakdown of carbohydrates, reducing fermentation in the gut.

Indigestion and Heartburn

Insufficient digestive enzymes can result in incomplete digestion of proteins and fats, leading to symptoms like indigestion and heartburn. This occurs when undigested food sits in the stomach for longer periods, causing discomfort and acid reflux.

Constipation or Diarrhea

Imbalances in digestive enzymes can disrupt bowel movements, leading to either constipation or diarrhea. For example, a lack of lipase may result in difficulty digesting fats, leading to loose stools, while insufficient fiber-digesting enzymes can contribute to constipation.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Without proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, individuals may experience deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, even if they consume a balanced diet. This can manifest as fatigue, weakness, hair loss, and compromised immune function.

Food Sensitivities

Difficulty digesting certain foods, such as dairy or gluten, may indicate a deficiency in the specific enzymes needed to break down these components. This can lead to food sensitivities or intolerances, characterized by symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea after consuming trigger foods.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Inefficient digestion can divert energy away from other bodily functions, leading to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels. Without proper nutrient absorption, the body may struggle to produce adequate energy for daily activities.

Skin Issues

Poor digestion can manifest in the form of skin issues such as acne, eczema, or dry skin. Nutrient deficiencies resulting from inadequate enzyme activity can impair skin health and contribute to inflammatory skin conditions.

Weight Changes

Digestive enzyme deficiencies may impact metabolism and nutrient absorption, potentially leading to weight changes. Some individuals may experience unexplained weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients, while others may struggle with weight gain due to impaired metabolism.

All in All

Digestive enzymes play an important role in ensuring proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Signs of digestive enzyme deficiency can vary from bloating and gas to indigestion, nutrient deficiencies, and skin issues. 

If you experience persistent digestive discomfort or suspect enzyme insufficiency, consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate course of action, which may include dietary changes, enzyme supplementation, or other interventions.