An over simplified explanation of nutritional enzymes is that they are catalysts. That is they cause other reactions to occur in the body or they aid in certain metabolic processes. A nutritional enzyme (an enzyme found in nutritional supplements or in the body) is actually a very specific type of protein. In the case of protein digesting (proteolytic) enzymes, they are literally proteins that break down other proteins. Any unused ingested enzymes are simply converted into amino acids and utilized by the body in a different way. Amino acids are what the human body converts protein based foods into for nutrition. This is why proteolytic or pancreatic enzymes are some of the safest compounds to ingest even in very large quantities.



Enzymes that are delivered to the duodenum by the pancreas during the digestive process would be our own naturally produced pancreatic enzymes or a nutritional supplement containing pancreatic enzymes derived from animal pancreas. The most common pancreatic enzymes are: Pancreatin, Trypsin, Alpha Chymotrypsin (also known as a-chymotrypsin), Lipase, and Amylase. There are others, but these are the most common. The enzymes Trypsin and a-Chymotrypsin are potent protein digesting enzymes. The enzyme Amylase digests starch, and the enzyme Lipase digests fat. The enzyme Pancreatin is not really a specific enzyme, but is actually an enzyme slurry that contains all of the previously mentioned pancreatic enzymes.


ACTIVITY UNITS (Don't get caught in the milligram scam)

An enzyme is one nutritional supplement that you can NOT determine the potency by relying on milligrams (mg). The potency of an enzyme is determined strictly by its activity units and nothing else. Enzymes have always been and still are displayed in milligrams and traditionally that is all that was displayed. But that was back when most of the manufacturers were using similar raw materials. Now, it is much different. If you purchase an enzyme product that does not display the enzyme activity units, you don't know what you are getting. Many companies will inflate their milligrams so that their product appears to be far more potent than it is and have it still comply with labeling laws. Some use deceptive practices like showing the activity units on most of the enzymes, but conveniently leaving them off the more expensive and more sought after enzymes in a formula. If you see a product that is listing activity units on only some of the enzymes in their formula, be very suspicious and inquire as to what the activity units are. If they don't answer, you know there is a problem. If they don't list any activity units on any of the enzymes, look somewhere else. Here is why you rely on activity units rather than milligrams (mg) or grams (gm), or micrograms (mcg) when it comes to enzymes. Enzymes can come in highly active units and very low active units. Understandably, this is confusing to most, but it is relatively easily explained. The more active an enzyme, the more potent it becomes. Lets take Bromelain for example. Bromelain enzyme activity is listed in Geletin Digesting Units (gdu). You can find Bromelain in a multitude of potencies and this is where it can get confusing for those who are not familiar with enzyme activity units. You can find Bromelain in 100 mg doses and 500 mg doses and you can find them all with varying gdu potencies. So which is better, the Bromelain tablet that is one hundred mg of 2,000 gdu or the Bromelain tablet that is one thousand mg of 100 gdu? The answer is that the 100 mg Bromelain tablet is twice as potent as the 1,000 mg tablet of Bromelain. There is twice as much enzyme activity in the small tablet even though it is only 1/10 the milligram dosage of the large one. Do NOT be deceived by milligrams! Many manufacturers will elevate their milligrams and not post the activity units. This is done quite often with chymotrypsin and somewhat less often with trypsin. Chymotrypsin is the most potent and the most expensive of all the pancreatic enzymes. Some will list their chymotrypsin with a high milligram content, which is fine as long as the total activity units are displayed. If they are not displayed, be VERY suspicious. 100 mg of chymotrypsin with only 10 activity units is equal to 1 mg of chymotrypsin containing 1000 activity units. Someone listing chymotrypsin (or any other enzymes) displaying only milligrams may be manufacturing their product with only 1 unit per tablet or capsule. It is permitted to put 10 mg of something with 2,000 activity units and claim that it has 40 mg. If asked, they would just say that they have 40 mg of 500 units/ per mg, which is equivalent to 10 mg of 2,000 units/ per mg. They could claim 1 unit per milligram and say they have 2,000 mg per tablet. Most wouldn't do that because at some level it becomes suspicious, but you get the point. There should be at least 100 units per milligram in Chymotrypsin, but as long as the total activity units are displayed, it doesn't matter how much activity there is per milligram because the actual potency of an enzyme hinges on the activity unit, not the weight of the tablet. Some raw materials containing chymotrypsin contain concentrations of activity units as high as 3,000 units per milligram. So, milligram potency means nothing on an enzyme label unless it is accompanied by either activity units per mg or total activity units. One other trick that is commonly used is to combine the trypsin and chymotrypsin (alpha chymotrypsin) together and list the potency of both enzymes combined. The problem is that chymotrypsin is a far more potent and a far more expensive enzyme. Since most people don't know the difference, they combine the two. There could be as little as ½ milligram or just 1 activity unit of chymotrypsin when they are listed together. It is also technically a violation of labeling regulations, but there are a couple of well-known companies participate in this practice.

PANCREATIN: One exception to the enzyme activity unit rule is Pancreatin. However, Pancreatin has its own standards. Pancreatin is measured in 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, etc, all the way up to 10x and even higher than that in some cases. Here is what those numbers mean. If you see a straight milligram (mg) dose for Pancreatin that is not followed by any number with an x after it, then you are looking at a straight forward 1x milligram dose. But, if Pancreatin is followed by a number that is followed by an x such as let's say 4x, that means that the pancreatin is 4x the posted strength. For example if the label says: Pancreatin (4x)….100 mg, then you are looking at a pancreatin dose equivalent to 400 mg, even though there are only 100 mg of Pancreatin. It all goes back to enzyme activity. In the case of Pancreatin, they use a number followed by an x to display the concentration and activity of Pancreatin. As mentioned earlier Pancreatin is a substance that contains a combination of enzymes, but is not an actual enzyme itself. The number followed by the x indicates its potency and concentration. It is good to have a good solid dose of Pancreatin in a product, but you should be putting emphasis on the known quantities of the more potent proteases such as trypsin and chymotrypsin. Although pancreatin contains those two enzymes, it also contains levels of other enzymes of importance that serve other functions, but may not be proteolytic (protein digesting).

All of this explains why an enzyme tablet that might display that it contains 3,000 mg when you add up the weight of all the ingredients, actually only weighs a fraction of the total of all the ingredients when the tablet is weighed. For example, if you use 200 mg of 4x pancreatin, you are actually using 800mg of Pancreatin, not 200 mg. You are using 200 mg of pancreatin with the potency equivalent to 800 mg. If you use 1 mg of chymotrypsin that is 1,000 units per milligram, that could posted any number of ways. One might decide that it is 100 units per milligram which would make it 10 mg. If you decided that it you state it as only 50 units per milligram, then it is 20 mg. Theoretically, one could state that there is 1,000 mg of chymotrypsin at 1 unit per milligram. This would be absurd, but could be done. This emphasizes why you MUST have activity units displayed on enzyme doses. Pancreatin will always be shown with a number followed by an x unless they choose to simply display the actual activity unit dosage in which case you wouldn't see a number followed by an x, just the actual milligrams. We list the straight mg dosage to lessen confusion. Unfortunately, there are some who state the actual dose, but then put a number with an x to display where it came from which is deceitful. If you use 100 mg of 4x pancreatin, you can ethically display that it contains 400 mg of pancreatin. But you can NOT ethically put 100 mg of 4x pancreatin and display it as: Pancreatin (4x)....400 mg. The proper display for pancreatin that contained 100 mg of 4x pancreatin that you wanted to show the source for would be: Pancreatin (4x)....100 mg. The other way insinuates that there is 4 times as much pancreatin than actually exists in the formula.



There is actually no such enzyme as "protease". Protease merely refers to ANY enzyme that digests protein. The category of protease can include any of the protein digesting pancreatic enzymes as well as any of the protein digesting vegetable, fruit, or other based enzymes. Some enzyme formulas display their contents in a "proprietary blend" of protease that displays an impressive list of enzymes containing trypsin, chymotrypsin and other potent pancreatic enzymes as well a number of vegetable enzymes like Bromelain and Papain. Quite often the term "proprietary blend" is just a smoke screen to hide the fact that some are using very small amounts of highly active enzymes and large amounts of lesser active enzymes. The problem here is that you just don't know how much of each enzyme is in the Proprietary blend. A "proprietary blend" only tells you what enzymes are in the blend and conceals the actual potencies of the individual enzymes.



A proteolytic enzyme is also sometimes known as protease which as explained earlier is not a specific enzyme, but a type of enzyme. Proteases or proteolytic enzymes are simply enzymes that break down or digest protein. As explained earlier, there are proteolytic enzymes (proteases) that are also pancreatic enzymes, and there are proteolytic enzymes that are derived from plant sources. The most potent pancreatic enzyme by far is called a-Chymotrypsin (also just called Chymotrypsin) which is also an anti-fibrolytic enzyme (an enzyme that is effective against dense fibrous tissue). Coming in second to Chymotrypsin as far as activity for a pancreatic enzyme is Trypsin. Although these are powerful protein digesting enzymes, there are vegetable based enzymes that break down protein as well. One of them in particular is a very potent anti-fibrolytic protease called Natto-Kinase which is derived from Soy. The enzyme Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapples while Papain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from papaya. Both Bromelain and Papain are decent proteolytic enzymes and are in fact much more resilient in the stomach than pancreatic enzymes, but they have a significantly reduced life span when compared to pancreatic enzymes. Pepsin and Bromelain are most commonly found in digestive formulas, but they are also found in some systemic enzyme formulas as well. The most active proteolytic enzymes are more commonly used in systemic enzyme formulas and MUST be enteric coated to be effective. If they aren't enteric coated, they are subject to destruction from stomach acid. Even the vegetable based proteolytic enzymes that survive the introduction of stomach acid must be enteric coated and delivered directly to the duodenum if they are used in a formula that is designed for the absorption of the enzyme into the circulatory system.

It should be noted here that there are those who are allergic to soy. However, there are rarely issues with allergic reactions to the soy based enzyme, Natto-Kinase by those who are allergic to soy. The reason for this is that most allergic reactions to soy are due to the proteins in soy. Natto-Kinase is a very powerful protein digesting enzyme more than capable of breaking down any remaining protein residue that may be found in the extracted Natto-Kinase.



There is another source of a very potent proteolytic enzyme that is neither a pancreatic source nor vegetable source which is called Serratiopeptidase, but is more commonly known as Serropeptase. It is also know by a number of variations such as Serratiapeptidase, Serrapeptidase, and a number of less common variations. For the sake of this discussion we will refer to it as Serropeptase. Serropeptase was originally discovered and extracted from the silk worm which was and still is an extremely expensive source. Now, it is by far more commonly extracted from ultra-purified fermenting bacteria. This source appears to be just as active as the silk worm extract, but with one potential problem. There are a small percentage of people who are allergic to the bacteria that Serropeptase is extracted from. Although the fermented bacteria are heavily filtered, resulting in highly purified Serropeptase, some miniscule residue of the base apparently remains with the enzyme. For the small percentage that are allergic to it, they cannot take Serropeptase without having an allergic reaction. The most common side effect is swelling of the face and neck. The allergic reaction usually disappears quickly once they stop taking fermented sourced Serropeptase. Serropeptase is argued by some to be one of the most potent anti-fibrolytic enzymes available and I think most would agree on that. However, there seems to be a debate as to whether it is more potent than Natto-Kinase. Whether Natto Kinase or Serropeptase is more potent, it seems to be clear that they are very close in enzyme activity. For these stated reasons, some prefer to produce supplements only with Natto-Kinase to avoid the issue with the small percentage that are allergic to fermented sourced Serropeptase. Others manufacture a product that combines Natto-Kinase and Serropeptase making the argument that they both have a purpose and that their functions are not identical. Most formulas that combine Natto-Kinase and pancreatic enzymes do not use Serropeptase for the previously stated reasons.



Systemic enzymes are not a specific enzyme category. Systemic enzyme is a term that is used to describe an enzyme or enzyme formula that is designed to be absorbed into the blood stream and delivered to the entire body, or systemically if you will. Systemic enzymes can contain one enzyme or multiple enzymes. Systemic enzymes usually contain a combination of enzymes, most commonly formulas that utilize a mixture of pancreatic enzymes and vegetable source enzymes. What makes them “systemic” enzymes is the way that the formulas are designed specifically to be delivered to and absorbed systemically in the duodenum as opposed to acting as a digestive aid. There are a few ways that enzymes can be produced and/or utilized to be absorbed systemically, but only one method insures that the integrity of the enzymes survive the destructive properties of stomach acid. In general, stomach acid is a good thing and is essential to proper digestion. However, it can destroy enzymes, particularly pancreatic enzymes. Although fruit based enzymes such as Bromelain and Papain for example will survive the acid medium of the stomach, those too must be enteric coated for maximum efficiency if they are designed as a systemic enzyme. Vegetable enzymes such as Bromelain and Papain are commonly used as digestive aids because of their ability to survive the acid environment of the stomach. However, their life span is shorter than pancreatic enzymes.

One common technique used to get nutritive enzymes delivered to the duodenum with as little damage as possible to the enzyme is to instruct the person taking them to be certain they are being taken on an empty stomach. Taking them on an empty stomach not only helps the enzyme to survive the stomach, it also helps to get them into the system by not having them tied up digesting food. It is still best to take even enteric coated systemic enzyme formulas are to be taken on an empty stomach. Usually, an empty stomach is defined as nothing to eat at least one hour before you take an enzyme tablet/ capsule and/or do not take them for at least two hours after one has eaten. This works great for enteric coated tablets or capsules, but only moderately well at best for non-enteric coated enzyme tablets or capsules, and is even less effective for non-enteric coated capsules than it is for tablets. When something is taken on an empty stomach, it will indeed stay in the stomach for a far shorter period on an empty stomach compared to a stomach that contains food. In theory, this protects the enzyme tablet (or capsule) from the stomach acid because it is being moved from the stomach to the duodenum much more rapidly. It definitely is being moved more rapidly through the stomach, but how fast is it being moved is the question. There is little doubt that this technique does indeed improve the amount of surviving enzymes through the stomach and into the alkaline rich duodenum where they are absorbed. The problem is without an enteric coating there is still a level of destruction that takes place in the stomach before the tablet arrives in the duodenum. Not a problem for most fruit based enzymes, but it can be a serious problem for pancreatic based enzymes. This is even a bigger problem with capsules for obvious reasons. At least tablets are compressed allowing for more protection from stomach acid with an accelerated ascent to the duodenum on an empty stomach. But, a capsule is very thin and the contents are loosely packed. What is perceived as an advantage of capsules for herbs and other nutrients can become a disadvantage for enzymes that are not enteric coated. Once the thin outer shell of a capsule is breached by stomach acid, the contents are subjected to stomach acid and will easily be digested and destroyed. Again, when taken on an empty stomach, some of the contents of the capsule will most likely reach the duodenum and there will be some assimilation into the system. The problem is that the contents of the capsules could be seriously depleted by the time it gets out of the acid rich environment of the stomach and travels to the alkaline rich environment of the duodenum if the capsule is not enteric coated. Same problem with tablets, but they are a bit more likely to have a higher survival rate due to the fact they are more compact. If coated, the capsules once again have the advantage. Capsules would most likely have a better assimilation rate than tablets do to the fact they are not compacted and the capsule is virtually guaranteed to dissolve in the targeted duodenum. We used to advise that enzymes should never be delivered in capsules because of the potential of cracks in the enteric coating. Technology has advanced to the point that this is no longer a problem, giving enzyme capsules a slight advantage over tablets due to more precise targeting of delivered nutrients.



There is only one way to completely protect pancreatic (and other) enzymes through the stomach and insure that they will be absorbed systemically. Only the utilization of an alkaline (ph) sensitive enteric coating will do the job. Unfortunately, many companies use a simple protein based enteric coating that only works moderately well. The problem with using a simple protein coating is twofold. The first problem is that proteins are subject to digestion by stomach acid. Once the acid gets through the protein coating, it can begin to break down and destroy the enzymes it is "protecting". The protein coating will help the tablet get through the stomach better than a tablet that isn't coated at all, especially if it is taken on an empty stomach. However, this brings up problem number two. Sometimes the protein based enteric coating helps the tablet or capsule survive the stomach, but unfortunately it sometimes also "protects" it from being broken down in the duodenum where it is supposed to be assimilated and absorbed into the bloodstream.

A ph (alkaline) sensitive enteric coating guarantees survival of the tablet or capsule through the stomach AND guarantees that the coating rapidly comes off in the duodenum. Stomach acid is not capable of digesting an alkaline (ph) sensitive coating. And unlike a simple protein coating, the alkaline (ph) sensitive enteric coating is designed specifically to be broken down only when the tablet reaches a specific ph (alkaline) level. Once the tablet/ capsule with the scientifically engineered coating reaches the specific alkalinity of the duodenum, the coating comes off very rapidly. Most coatings designed for duodenal absorption will come off in an alkaline environment where the ph is 6.7 or higher. In contrast, the ph level of the stomach is typically about 1. This technology was pioneered by the German based Mucos Corporation more than fifty years ago. They were using this technique on their well-known pancreatic enzyme formulas Wobenzyme and Wobe-Mugos long before anyone else even gave the enteric coatings a second thought. For years Mucos Corporation was the world leader in nutritive systemic enzyme sales because their products worked so much better than anyone else's anywhere in the world. The secret was and is in the ph sensitive enteric coating, although it isn't much of a secret anymore. Mucos Corporation still has an outstanding reputation and is still a leader in the industry with its Wobenzyme Med and Wobenzyme-N formulas. However, they no longer have an exclusive on the enteric coating that they pioneered and they no longer have the most potent enzyme formula in the world. Mucos Corporation is mostly coasting on their well-deserved reputation, but is still well respected in the industry. Our Fortase and Fortase XL are the most potent systemic enzyme formulas in the world with a scientifically engineered alkaline sensitive enteric coating for maximum absorption.



There is evidence that systemic enzymes help the body: fight inflammation, help to break down certain proteins and fats that make up arterial plaque and more. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of systemic pancreatic and vegetable sourced enzymes, there is evidence that they can aid the body in dealing with virtually all inflammatory situations or symptoms such as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), diverticulitis, arthritis, sprains, strains and other injuries. Although their functions are different, in situations such as IBS and IBD, digestive enzymes can complement systemic enzymes quite well. Breaking food down properly in the digestive tract can ease much of the resulting inflammation that results when the body attempts to process poorly digested foods. In turn, the anti-inflammatory action of systemic enzymes can further aid in easing remaining inflammation.





We believe that the best value for systemic enzyme formulas available on the market today are Fortase and Fortase XL distributed by Holistic Alternatives, Inc. However, we also carry Omnizyme and Omnizyme Forte at a deep discount. These are the formulas that Fortase and Fortase XL are modeled after. Fortase and Fortase XL are very similar, but they also differ in very important ways. Both the Fortase and Fortase XL have a ph sensitive enteric coating scientifically engineered to come off in the duodenum for maximum protection of the integrity of the enzymes in the formula and for maximum absorption of the same. The difference with these two formulas is in the potency of some of the more important and more active enzymes.

FORTASE contains the following ingredients in EACH ph (alkaline) sensitive enteric coated tablet:

Pancreatin- 1250 mg; Papain- 150 mg(66,000 FCC units); Bromelain- 150 mg (12 GDU); Trypsin- 125 mg (18,000 USP Units); Lipase-50 mg 200 FIP Units); Amylase- 50 mg (250 Units); Alpha Chymotrypsin (Chymotrypsin)- 3 mg(3,000USP Units); Lyophilized Calf Thymus- 55 mg; Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD)- 10 mg (80 International Units {iu}); Catalase- 7 mg (140 BU); L-Glutathione- 10 mg. FORTASE XL contains the following ingredients in EACH ph sensitive enteric coated tablet:

FORTASE XL contains the following ingredients in EACH ph (alkaline) sensitive enteric coated tablet (Specific enzymes in all capital letters signal formula potency differences between Fortase and Fortase XL)

PANCREATIN- 1850 mg (1250 in Fortase); Bromelain- 150 mg (12 GDU); Papain- 150 mg (66,000 FCC Units); Trypsin- 960 mg (72,000 USP units {18,000 units in Fortase}); ALPHA-CHYMOTRYPSIN- 60 mg (12,000 USP units {3,000 units in Fortase}); NATTO-KINASE- 20 mg (400 FU {none in Fortase}); Lipase- 50 mg; Amylase- 50 mg; Lyophilized Calf Thymus- 55 mg; SUPER OXIDE DISMUTASE (SOD)- 10 mg (80 International Units {iu}); CATALASE- 7 mg (140 BU); L-Glutathione- 10 mg; N-ACETYL CYSTEIN- 10 mg (none in Fortase).

It is the high potency of Chymotrypsin that makes the Fortase XL unique, although both the Fortase and Fortase XL are in a category all their own. Both are coated with a ph sensitive enteric coating to protect the formula from stomach acid and insure duodenal absorption.

We believe that Fortase and Fortase XL are superior to ALL other well-known enzymes formulas such as: Omnizyme and Omnizyme Forte from Rain Rock nutritionals; Univase, and Univase Forte from Rocky Fork Formulas, Wobenzyme and Wobe-Mugos from Mucos Corporation; Retenzyme and Intenzyme from Biotics Labs, Proteozyme from Douglas Labs, Inflazyme from American Biologics; and Polyzyme from General research Labs to name a few. We believe that our enzyme formula will stand up to any other enzyme formula in the world.

Although high potency systemic enzymes can be expensive, we have low overhead which allows us to pass significant savings on to you for these high quality enzyme formulas. We carry only one other company's systemic enzyme product which is Natto-Kinase Plus produced by Food Sciences of Vermont. It is a high potency Natto-Kinase and Serropeptase complex available in a veggie capsule. It used to be enteric coated, but because Nattokinase and Serropeptase are not as sensitive to acid as pancreatic enzymes, the coating was removed from the formula. We also sell this product at discounted prices well below the suggested retail price.



There are an ever growing number of practitioners that combine various nutrients such as enzymes, vitamins, herbs, homeopathics, and the like with diet as part of a natural alternative approach to dealing with degenerative diseases. Many of them consider enzymes to be one of the most important aspects of their holistic approach to medicine. This ever increasing number of physicians are implementing a complete nutritional program that utilizes diet, nutritional compounds, new techniques and new discoveries made in the natural world to combat an almost never ending list of ailments that the medical profession has not been very successful in its approach. Victims of diseases that the orthodox medical community either gave up on long ago or simply does not do well with such as: cancer, liver disease, hepatitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Leaky Gut Syndrome, candida infections, biofilms, arterial sclerosis and other circulatory disorders, Lyme Disease, and a myriad of other disorders are being treated successfully with alternative and nutritional approaches. And although many of these medical pioneer practitioners are licensed Medical Doctors and Osteopaths, it should be duly noted here that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) does NOT now, nor have they ever endorsed or recognized any alternative or nutritional therapy that deviates from the traditional accepted approaches to disease as being either safe, effective, or legitimate forms of therapy. In fact they have openly opposed any efforts to employ alternative approaches to problems that they have no or few answers for. The examples of abuse and ignorance from the so called "watch dogs" of medicine are lengthy and involved. The discussion regarding medical tyranny is for another place and time, but if you are interested in finding a physician that practices nutritional or alternative medicine, you can find them at this web address: www.acam.org.

These statements have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and none of the supplements or ingredients mentioned above is intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or mitigate any disease.