Ideally, you should get your digestive enzymes from your food (raw foods, fermented foods, homemade yoghurt, etc) and from your body’s own production. However, for those times when you just cannot get enough natural enzymes, or you need some additional support as your own body’s production is not up to par, I have found these high quality, natural enzymes in both a capsule and chewable form that you can eat with or after meals. The chewable ones are an organic grape flavor and yummy enough that even my 4 year old will crunch them!

Many digestive enzymes are cultured on aspergillus oryzae (mold), but then are not filtered properly and you end up ingesting the spores – not good for someone with unbalanced or susceptible gut flora to begin with! This is the main reason I stayed away from using or recommending digestive enzymes for so long.

But, thankfully, filtration technology has improved and these Houston Enzymes derived from Aspergillus have been purified from the fungal matter using 8 to 12 different methods of purification. No fungal matter is present in this enzyme product.

If you have a known allergy to Aspergillus proteins, then caution should be used in taking any fungal-derived enzyme product, however, the allergenic portions of Aspergillus are usually those parts of the fungi removed from the enzymes during processing.

The other reason I like this particular brand is they combine ALL the enzymes needed – for protein, carbohydrate and fat digestion – into one product. They do not contain cellulase though, so they won’t interfere with timed-release medication.

When To Take Enzymes

Take digestive enzymes with the first few bites of your meal or just prior to mealtime. But more important is to take the enzyme, if not at the beginning, then during or after eating. Food stays in the stomach for up to 3 hours, therefore, introducing enzymes anytime during the meal will still provide benefits.

If one is a “grazer”, that is, eats constantly during the day, you may wish to take the enzymes at fixed dosing intervals, such as every 4 or 5 hours during the day.

*Remember, that if you’re having more than 3 bowel movements per day, you must not swallow pills/capsules (gut transit time is too fast) – in that case, it would be best to use the chewables.

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins made by cells in our bodies. They are specialized proteins that do work, such as synthesizing chemicals and compounds, rearranging molecules, adding elements to compounds, and breaking down compounds. There are many types of enzymes, and each type does a specific function. For an enzyme to work, it must have access to its substrate, the material upon which an enzyme exerts an action. If no substrate is available to the enzyme, the enzyme performs no function. For example, an enzyme called catalase is present in our blood. Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen, which is why peroxide bubbles when it is placed on a wound. Since peroxide is not usually in our blood, catalase circulates within the blood, doing nothing until peroxide is introduced into the system. A substrate works as an “on-off” switch for its particular enzyme. Catalase will only be activated in the presence of peroxide and nothing else.

How Do Enzymes Work?

Enzymes work as catalysts of biochemical reactions. A catalyst increases or accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction. The thousands of chemical reactions that occur in our body every second could not happen without enzymes to speed up these reactions. For example, a protein can be broken down into amino acids in the lab without the use of an enzyme, but to do so requires extreme temperatures, high pressure, and very strong acids; conditions not compatible with life. Even with these conditions, it requires hours to complete the reaction in the lab. With enzymes, in this case a mixture of proteases, the reaction can be completed within minutes in water at normal temperatures.

Another unique aspect of enzymes is that they are not changed during the reaction, that is, they facilitate the reaction without being destroyed or changed in the process. Because of this, one enzyme molecule could theoretically change an infinite amount of substrate if given an infinite amount of time. Increasing the amount of enzyme decreases the time required for completing the reaction. For example, one molecule of catalase could convert a whole bottle of peroxide to water and oxygen given enough time. If you double the number of catalase molecules, you decrease the time for converting the bottle of peroxide by half.

This is related to enzyme dosing in the following manner: Higher doses of enzyme will result in the reaction reaching the “finish point” faster. Since a meal resides in the stomach from 90 to 180 minutes, the enzymes have that amount of time to do the majority of their work before the food enters the small intestine, where peptides may be absorbed (no peptide absorption occurs in the stomach). Larger meals will require more enzyme to accomplish the task of food breakdown in a given amount of time. This is the applicable message concerning enzyme dosing; getting the proteins broken down in a specified period of time.

The nice thing about enzymes is that if the particular molecule they work on is not present, the enzyme does nothing. If you take the enzyme lactase, and lactose is not present, the lactase has no job and does nothing, except get passed on in the GI tract as food protein.

Make Sure Digestive Enzymes Don’t Contain Fungus

27 thoughts on “Make Sure Digestive Enzymes Don’t Contain Fungus

  • Interesting post. I bet most people never thought of the origins of their enzymes.

    What species of Aspergillus do they use? A. niger? The reason I ask is that many Aspergillus species are harmful–A. flavus produces aflatoxin. Aspergillus is known for causing persistent sinus infections.

    It’s been a while since my mycology course, but if I remember correctly lots of people have some sort of histamine response to Aspergillus. When we were dealing with it in the lab, we weren’t allowed to touch our ears, nose, or rub our eyes. I still often scratch my eye with the arm of my glasses out of habit. 🙂


    1. Do not use any enzymes grown with aspergillus…..Aspergillus is found in all cancers We have seen many people whose tumors have grown or many bacteria in their blood after using any plant based enzymes…These enzymes are fungus…fungus breaks down everything…They cannot filter out the mycotoxins…no they can’t, no matter what they say…they are much much too small…It’s the mycotoxins that are breaking down the food and breaking you down at the same time. They are an equal opportunity employer. Use only Bromeliad, and papaya or Pancreatin from a good company…All the really smart Drs. and health practitioners know this…DON’T USE PLANT BASED ENZYMES.

  • You would have to contact each individual company to find out which species they use.

    Yet another reason to make sure your brand filters adequately!

  • Hi,

    I started taking Trienza by Houston enzymes. I have taken it for about 9 days.

    Within the last 9 days my right toe has become itchy, my little finger has become itchy and I broke out in a rash on my hands. I think the hands when I was cleaning was contact dermatitis but I don’t know to what.

    I have had a skin prick test done and I am allergic to Aspergillus niger.

    I am going to stop Houston Enzymes Trienza and see if there is improvement!

  • I began taking digestive enzymes in October 2012, and by Christmas my skin was itchy. And I would feel “clammy” all over. No visible rash or bumps showed until I scratched the itchy area. My entire body, scalp to feet would itch randomly. My foot would itch for a few minutes, then my arm pit, then a different area…and so it went.

    I have been off the digestive enzymes for a month and most of the itch has disappeared, and I feel a lot better overall. No doubt the digestive enzymes were the culprit. As with any supplement use with great caution.

    Better yet, stay healthy, or get your health back by eating a healthy diet, lots of organic raw fruits and vegetables, and organic poultry and eat sardines and salmon three or four times a week. Drink 7 to 8 glasses of water each day, throughout the day and evening. Be physically active daily.

  • Yes, it would depend on how strong your allergy is. Think of how homeopathy works – even incredibly minute dilutions, to the point where there is none of the original substance left, can still have a marked effect.

    If you ferment/culture your own veggies, you can also get digestive enzymes from that.

  • cannot tolerate fermented foods… I tried raw kraut and Acv and such, but i get bad histamine reactions. I have a rare genetic susceptibility to molds and fungus and thus need to avoid them. However, i cannot find a digestive enzyme that isn’t grown on mold…. Any ideas?

    Also, are the papaya and pineapple enzyme pills good? Do u know of any that don’t contain sugars and fillers?

    1. Hi Bee,

      I’m afraid we’re not aware of a suitable product that fits the criteria you mentioned. The digestive enzyme product Jini mentioned in the blog post above is the best one she has found because it is purified so thoroughly and contains no fungal matter. If you find a product that meets your needs we’d love to hear about it as well.

      Kind regards,
      Customer Care

    2. Biotoxin Mold illness will make using an enzyme hard as most plant bases enzymes are grown using molds. You can either buy animal based enzymes or something like Quantam Digest. Although the effectiveness of that enzyme is not as high so you may have to take more. But no histamine issues with it.

    1. I l[ked up digestive enzyme. and it is from vegetarian sources. Didn’t this article say not to use plant derived enzyme ?

  • Thank you for the research. I started taking Me+My Gluten Assist, as i’ve been on a gluten free diet for some 8 years. Sometimes it’s hard to always be completely gluten free. Not diagnosed as Celiac but can definitely tell. I thought i caught shingles… i didn’t make the connection till realizing when i started this 10 days back, only one a day…. having welts, sore’s all over the body. Itching, sore, burning pain. I never imagined that something that seemed to help had mold. I am allergic to Pennicillin and anything like it, so i can see the comparison ONCE I KNEW it was derived from a mold.. Very frustrated that it’s not made clear before people buy it. Just hoping i can detox from it. I’m suppose to have surgery next month… don’t need immunity issues compromised.

    1. my daughter had an unexplained itchy rash that turned out to be from gluten as well & I recall as a kid she too was allergic to penicillin.

  • Any Ideas from anyone please. I am going to try an alternate cancer treatment alongside normal medicinal ones ( radiation, chemo) I am going to try B 17 (Laesile). One expert in using this treatment has listed enzymes that are needed alongside but I am unable to find anything. Below is a list and quantities recommended anyone know of a product that fits this bill please. Thank you

    a-chymotrypsin……………………. 45mg
    Rawcalfthymusconcentrate…. 55mg
    Zincgluconate……………………… 10mg
    Super oxide dismutase………….50mcg
    Catalase…………………………….200 Units
    L-Glutathione……………………… 10mg

    1. Hi, I’ve been taking Vegan Digestive Enzymes, by Solgar. I can’t stop scratching my scalp. So itchy and prickly. Driving me nuts right now. So, Ivreckon I’m going to leave the DEs alone, and hope this clears up. I’ve NEVEE suffered from anything like this before. I feel like raking troughs through my scalp. Very nasty indeed. Would appreciate any feedback.

      1. Sorry…You cannot purify the mycotoxins…they are part and parcel of the Aspergillus…My husband is aa microbiologist…Not possible…People always wind up eventually worse from any enzyme that has aspergillus in it…That’s what fungus does…just as it digests the food, it digests you.

        1. good to know thanks a brand I was looking at used aspergillus…that made me look more into this topic as I had sinus infections one after another only to finally find out when an ENT doctor did sinus sugery I had a polyp that was shown to be aspergillus attached to the floor of my sinuses.So I stay away from that…I was surprised that some forms do act as good enzymes but after reading this I will not get that brand. I doneed some kind however as I do not think I am digesting my food properly


  • Aspergillus gets a bad rap from the few straings that are toxic. Aspergillus oryzae (from which lab enzymes are gathered) are entirely safe to consume unless you have a specific allergy or intolerance. The same aspergillus strain is present on rice and has been used in fermentation and the making of miso and soy sauce for thousands of years, so if you feel the need to stay away from those sources, please discontinue the consumption of miso, soy, and rice also.

  • I have a son with autism and he cannot have enzymes due to mold. He does not digest fats though and I need to find a way around enzymes… Any ideas?

    1. Hi Roberta,

      Thanks for reaching out. The only Enzyme brand that Jini recommend is called Houston Enzymes Tri-Enza . Jini searched a long time before finding a digestive enzyme supplement that she could recommend, or feel good about taking.

      Many digestive enzymes are cultured on aspergillus oryzae (mold), but then are not filtered properly. But these Houston Enzymes derived from Aspergillus have been purified from the fungal matter using 8 to 12 different methods of purification. No fungal matter is present in this enzyme product. Here’s a link to the product at Jini’s shoppe:

      Kind Regards,
      Cris B
      Customer Care

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