Choosing Healthy Supplements & The Benefits of Enzymes for Optimum Gastrointestinal Health

by Dr. Christine Kaczmar, D.C., guest author

As an Enzyme Nutritionist, I see many types of gastrointestinal problems present in practice.  Whether it is Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac, Constipation, Metabolic Syndrome, etc. I see 3 very similar and distinct concerns in ALL of these digestive complaints.  I would like to take a moment to describe these issues in greater detail so that more informed and educated decisions are being made to further enhance your gastrointestinal health.  I know that the following tips will not only improve your health, but they will also save you time when searching for the proper products.

1.  Synthetic Versus Whole Plant-Based Supplements

The first common concern is that there are too many synthetic supplements being taken. I can honestly tell you that taking a low-quality synthetic supplement isn’t going to provide benefit.  This is because synthetic supplements are fractions or derivatives of the whole plant.  For example, a Vitamin C complex encompasses many components.  Unfortunately, the supplement manufacturers extract pieces from the whole, such as ascorbic acid, and try to pass off this one tiny component of the complex as the full, whole complete nutrient.  That would be exactly the same as taking a car, removing the wheels and selling just the wheels as a car.  I highly encourage my patients to look for whole plant-based supplements versus their more popular synthetic counterparts.  You will know that you are purchasing a whole plant-based multi-vitamin when you read the label and see things like barks, stems, roots, leaves, etc. are in the product.  Or when you see the whole food itself listed on the label such as alfalfa, carrot, garlic, etc.  Conversely, synthetic supplement labels will list an ingredient like ascorbic acid versus acerola cherries which would be found in a whole plant-based supplement.  My suggestion is that you inquire at your local health food store or health practitioner’s office about your desire to be on whole plant-based supplements and not synthetic supplements.  Plus, I certainly recommend you further researching this comparison as well.

2.  Magnesium Stearate Is Added To Most Products 

In practice, I emphasize patients to bring in any of their existing products for me to review.  I enjoy helping them sort through their supply and letting them know what I think is a high-quality product versus what I would recommend they no longer consume or purchase.  I completely understand the desire for people to be proactive when consuming various vitamins, minerals, fish oils, etc., but they need to be mindful of what their money is truly providing them.  I urge everyone to READ THE SUPPLEMENTS LABEL!

One common ingredient within most supplements is magnesium stearate or vegetable stearate.  This is an additive to provide lower production costs to the supplement manufacturers.  However, magnesium stearate significantly lowers the ability to absorb the nutrients contained within the capsule.  This is because magnesium stearate is added to bind the nutrient powder so that it is easier to guide the powder into the capsule during manufacturing.  The staggering problem is that when magnesium stearate is combined with the vitamin and mineral-rich powder, it forms a soapy-like binder to these nutrients which prevents the nutrients from being properly absorbed, assimilated, and utilized within the human body.  So, what we have here is a situation in which the supplement manufacturers are saving money but the end product for the consumer is one that is not the highest quality.

3.  The Essential Need For Plant-Based Digestive Enzymes

Enzymes are the tiny little miracles we learned about in 8th grade biology class.  They make things go.  They are the catalysts.  They are responsible for so many of our body’s functions that without these enzymes, we would simply die in an instant.  Enzymes make our hearts beat, our lungs fill with air, our muscles move, etc.  We are also all born with a specific amount of healing enzymes.  Consider this to be similar to a bank account if you will.  When we eat cooked, baked, refined foods, we lose these enzymes forever.  When we take prescription medications, we lose enzymes as well.  We have made withdrawals from the enzyme bank account if you will. Yet, there are ways to make deposits to this bank account too.  The main way is by eating raw foods which are still alive and contain their enzyme benefits.  They are still alive because they haven’t been cooked.  Deposits are also made to our enzyme bank accounts when we supplement with plant-based enzymes at the start of every meal. Simply put, enzymes are essential for digesting food as well as healing the body.  Our bodies make thousands of enzymes daily.  Unfortunately, we eat so many cooked, baked, refined, packaged, pasteurized foods that the additional plant enzymes are critical to take the burden off of the immune system.  Since 80-90% of the immune system is located within the gastrointestinal tract, it is paramount to add back enzymes at the start of meals to lessen this stress.  At 118 degrees fahrenheit, enzymes within the foods are destroyed.  This is when the immune system is called into action to try and defend the body.  The three main nutrients in our diets are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  Only a protein enzyme will digest a protein.  Only a carbohydrate enzyme will digest a carbohydrate.  A high-quality digestive enzyme is one that contains amylases, proteases, lipases, and is free from magnesium stearate.  Finally, by taking the appropriate digestive enzymes at the start of a meal, your meal will be up to 80% pre-digested before it reaches the duodenum or small intestine.  This is a wonderful way to take away unnecessary stress from the entire immune system.  I can honestly say, that in the 13 years I have been in practice, the tipping point for me has been the addition of Enzyme Nutrition to my practice.

Christine M. Kaczmar, D.C.


 Dr. Christine Kaczmar is a Digestive Health Specialist, Internal Health Specialist, and Doctor of Chiropractic.  Her practice in Shelby Township, Michigan focuses on natural solutions for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac, Diarrhea, Constipation, etc.  

You can learn more about Dr. Kaczmar by visiting her website:, following her on, or  

To reach Dr. Kaczmar directly call 586-685-2222



                                                                  Thanks Dr. Christine!

Be sure to check out Dr. Christine’s videos on: Lowering Cholesterol Without Statins, Not Soy Good, Enzyme Power & Five Immune Boosters, How Safe is Your Water Bottle!


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On February 5th, 2013, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by
14 Responses to Choosing Healthy Supplements & The Benefits of Enzymes for Optimum Gastrointestinal Health
  1. Interesting article! I will share this link to my friend who has been diagnose with celiac disorder.

  2. Thanks, enjoyed the article. Always looking for healthy options.

  3. I started taking digestive enzymes right after being diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity. I was having stomach problems for as long as I can remember. The enzymes seemed to help quite a bit, so I continue to take them.

  4. Digestive enzymes are a must for me

  5. Will now look out for magnesium stearate or vegetable stearate and stay clear. Thanks

  6. Informative article. I started taking enzymes after my celiac diagnosis and I noticed improvements right away. I digested food much better.

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