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what enzymes do to make food digestible . . . part 6

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Dec 01, 2008

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Which enzyme supplement should I take?


If you’re going to eat at least some of your meals that are partially or fully cooked or processed, please always take 1 or 2 capsules of digestive enzymes first.   If you read my site, blog, or book, you know I am generally skeptical of eating pills, period.   I believe synthetic supplementation is massively inferior to the complex way that nature designed food to give us just the right ratios in the most natural, easily assimilated way possible.


Digestive enzymes, however, are a necessity if you’re not planning to buck modern culture altogether and eat a mostly-raw diet every meal, every day.   I know of no controversy about taking enzyme supplements, because so many studies have shown their effectiveness.   I recommend having them in your purse or wallet at all times, as well as in your kitchen.


Enzyme supplements come from animals, plants, or microorganisms.   Supplements made from animal pancreas extracts become inactive when hydrochloric acid enters the lower stomach.   They aren’t particularly adapted, since they operate in the controlled internal environment.   Microbial enzymes, on the other hand, are active at pH as low as 2.0 and as high as 10.0. Microorganisms use their enzymes to break down the plant material they grow on, and since fungus can grow in a variety of places, fungi have very adaptable enzymes.   Manufacturers coat pancreatic enzymes for acid resistance, with chemical coatings I don’t trust.   So I much prefer plant-based or microbial enzymes.


I don’t advocate for lots of supplements, fractionated and processed far from the holistic packages we get in whole plant foods.   I believe nature provided well for us.   The two supplements I do believe in taking on a regular basis are DIGESTIVE ENZYMES and a good PROBIOTIC (to heal and nourish the gut and guard against takeovers by bad bacteria).


Look for microbial or plant-based enzyme supplements. (And no, I don’t have a brand I know to be superior to others to recommend to you.   I am still researching.)


Take one capsule at the beginning of a meal that is 50-70% raw.   Take two capsules if your meal is less than 50% raw.   If you forget at the beginning of the meal, take your enzymes in the middle or even at the end of the meal.   They work on contact!

Posted in: Nutrition, Raw Food, Reader Letters, Robyn Recommends

6 thoughts on “what enzymes do to make food digestible . . . part 6”

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  1. Hey Robyn I knew you would get a comment on here sooner then a email. I am just wondering about the almonds I ordered. Last I heard there were two trucks comming and it would take a little longer. I just was hoping they would be here before Thanksgiving so I could take the part I ordered for family down to them. But it was ok because my husband has to go down again this weekend so I guess I am hoping that I can get them before Saturday. If not that’s ok we can figure something else out but just curious to know where they are. We are looking forward to candied almonds for Christmas! 😉

    Thanks, Tammie

  2. http:// says:

    Tammie, if you are local, perhaps somehow you didn’t get the email? Your almonds are here for pickup. Just let me know via email what DAY you want to pick up and I will have it out for you. Non-locals, all orders have shipped except for the last couple big orders that went out today.

    (And yeah, sorry about me and email . . . I just can’t get to it all, and I’m sorry–but if it’s about your almond order, I do answer.)

  3. http:// says:

    Oh, and anyone who wants more or didn’t get any almonds, we’re trying to figure out how much extra we can get–looks like maybe only a few thousand pounds, so I have a wait list of several dozen people. (The almond growers can’t sell us anything they “declared” to the almond board, so among the couple of growers who will work with us, we’re seeing what we can squeeze out of them.) I will put the group buy back in the store just until those are sold out, and notify you via email, if you let me know you want to be on that list. Just email me:

  4. Hi Robyn,

    Great article on digestion and enzymes.



  5. Anonymous says:

    So, do you have a favorite probiotic and digestive enzyme? Just wondering.

    Thanks, Melanie

  6. Anonymous says:

    do you take a probiotic in addition to the amounts in the green powder??

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