The following describes general trends that have been tracked over the past two years. This is intended to give a rough idea of what to expect, yet each person is an individual and actual results may vary. These trends hold for appropriate good quality enzyme supplements of which there are several brands and product lines.
last updated 8.25.05
Enzymes are probably one of the most basic and fundamental supplements to give. You get a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak. The consistent trend is that:
- 90% of people using a good quality therapeutic enzyme product see at least some improvment. This varies between extrodinary improvement to slight benefits. Some see more improvement in behavior and others in physical issues (like improved stools; better skin color). This stills leaves about 1 in
10 people not seeing any improvement. Other brands have not been tracked but may give somewhat similar results or less, depending on what your goals are.
- about 90% of people can tell if enzymes are working in 3-4 weeks, or one bottles worth. For older kids, teens and adults allow a little longer. but that is your basic investment, not months and hundreds of dollars of doing something before determining if it helps.
- besides food breakdown, enzymes (particularly the proteases) can help with gut healing, controlling pathogens, and immune support. Many people with gastrointestinal problems need assistance in these other areas as well.
- enzymes help the body breakdown and metabolize other supplements, so you get more value from your other supplements.
- over time, people can give less supplements, so this saves time, money and hassle the longer you use enzymes. We cut out about 20 other things. Way cool!
- over time, you need to give less enzymes themselves, not more. The gut healing and overall improvement in health are probably why but this is speculation. I give about half the enzymes I did before and timing is not critical like in the beginning...and we have some meals/snacks regularly with out enzymes at all (after one and a half years of regular use).
- over time, many people see steady improvement. So any improvement in the first 3 weeks usually keeps on going plus a bit more.
Older Children and Young Adults
There is excellent news for those with ‘older’ children, meaning around age six and up. Older children through the age of ten were just as likely to show improvement with enzymes as younger children were. The improvements in older children were just as significant and just as immediate as with younger children. This trend appears whether the child was on a restrictive diet or not.
For those over ten years old, there is not as much information simply because fewer individuals in that age group happened to come along or report results. Of the cases reported, children between 10 and 18 years old fall fairly evenly into four groups of improvement:
- those showing no change
- those making slow, marginal yet progressive improvement
- those making moderate to good improvement
- those making amazing, impressive improvements
Overall, teenagers are very likely to show some sort of improvement but the degree may be lower and it may simply take a bit longer. However, good improvements do come for many and it is quite wonderful because by this age there are fewer alternatives to try.
Another reason that older children or adults may take longer is because they have learned various coping skills and patterns along the way. It may take longer for them to adapt to feeling better and learn newer, different ways of acting, and reacting.
Why do older children as well as adults generally show greater positive results with enzymes than with restrictive diets? Some possible reasons include that children under the age of six often show much more improvement on the casein-free, gluten-free diet than those over this age. One reason could be that older children have had more time to develop far more gut damage, food intolerances, and metabolic problems than younger children. Eliminating just gluten and casein (or any one or two foods) may simply not be enough to achieve the higher levels of improvement. Because the older child had more time to develop more extensive gastrointestinal problems, the parent would not see as many positive results by only removing a couple food types. Even if many foods are removed, this may not enhance gut healing.
Using enzymes breaks down all foods at the same time. So if a younger child is intolerant of three foods and an older child is intolerant of 17, both would have all their problem foods addressed by enzymes. Thus, more age groups would show greater improvements immediately. Enzymes may also introduce the proactive gut-healing benefits, as well as other health improvements that address a multitude of the other dysfunctions at the same time.
Another factor could be that parents have more absolute control over the diet and environment of younger children, whereas older children are more independent and have more opportunities for exposure to off-diet products. Parents of elementary school-age children trying both the enzymes and restrictive diets find their children are far more willing to comply with taking enzymes plus foods they enjoy than adhere to a strict diet. School-age children and teens tended to be surprisingly cooperative in taking enzymes, even reminding their parents and teachers. Children were better able to decide they just felt better taking enzymes. The main reasons given by the children themselves were wanting to participate in social activities like others, have school lunches, feel better, and just eat something they preferred.
Success with Enzymes versus the GFCF Diet
see Off GFCF Diet with Enzymes
see Opiate Receptor Mechanics
see Dairy - the Multi-faceted Substance
What if I Don't See Any Results, or Poor Results
No one thing usually works for everyone because of basic biology and people are so different. Although most people do see some type of improvement with enzymes, others do not. About 5% see negatives for one reason or another (including the enzymes not being tolerated themselves), and other times there is no reaction at all. Nothing positive or negative. A blank. Nothing at all. Here are some of the possibilities families have reported.
- If you only see negative symptoms and no positive responses at all past the first three weeks, discontinue enzymes and/or consult your doctor, the manufacturer, or other people using enzymes (such as in the enzyme discussion group given on the Home page of this site). Often these sources can review your situation and lend suggestions on what you might be able to adjust or do. People who participate in the discussion group tend to have more positive results than those that do not simply because of the assistance and sharing of experiences. If you or your child shows only positive reactions and no negatives at all, then count your blessings. This is common, too.
- If you know you have a yeast or bacteria overgrowth, you can expect to see more reactions from die-off to get through and positive improvements may take a little longer to see. Yeast or bacteria flare-ups tend to mask the benefits the enzymes are providing.
- Having heavy metal toxicity may also cloud improvements with enzymes. Some people saw no results at all with enzymes but then went on to start a detoxification program. After that, they saw improvement. If enzymes were reintroduced, the enzymes now showed benefits.
- If the person is older, allow more time...like 2-3 months. Some older people see improvement immediately, but some show improvement more slowly and steadily.
- Another possibility is that there may still be a food or chemical that needs to be removed and it is masking other improvements. In particular, enzymes may not help with a true allergy, intolerance to nuts, artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives, or other additives (such as sulfites, benzoates, etc) A different enzyme formulation may give better results as well.
see Feingold Program
see Epsom Salts
At this point, if no reaction at all is seen by the third or fourth week, then it is up to the individual whether to continue with enzymes or not.The enzymes might be working well behind the scenes and we just cannot tell. Continuing enzymes while pursuing other avenues has many advantages. The gut may be in better condition, nutrition improved, and the body better supported while implementing other measures to improve health. However, it is also hard to justify spending time and money on an avenue that is not producing visible results.