Do we need to add Enzymes to our Soylent?

Does anyone here add enzymes to their Soylent? I don’t really know about enzymes. Do our bodies actually produce them? Should we supplement with enzymes? Does anyone have any good information on the subject of enzymes?


Enzymes are a class of thing that does a number of different things. Lack of the enzyme that can break up the lactose molecules is lactose intolerance. When you read about ‘dry aged’ steak, they let it sit at cool room temperature for a while so the enzymes in the meat can break it down some and tenderize it. Enzymes in laundry detergent are intended to break down the biological dirt on clothes when washed.

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Unless you’ve got grass in your soylent or are missing body parts, consuming enzymes (which are naturally produced by multiple organs) should be unnecessary.


@BriBy No, for the following reasons:

  1. Cells in your body produce the enzymes they need, as they are needed. In some cases some cells release enzymes, such as cells in your stomach lining.
  2. your stomach denatures most proteins and breaks down “most” of the organisms you ingest, as such any enzymes you would try to supplement with wouldn’t work, unless specifically able to remain in its conformation
  3. some enzymes lyse (undergo lysis, or break down) cells, which in most cases, is bad for you.

@isaackotlicky, grasses use enzymes too, unless you mean enzymes to break down the grass?


Thank you everyone for the info. I know I’ll be getting this question at some point soon, and I feel very confident that Soylent hits the mark as usual.

I’ve been using a digestion enzyme pill before drinking my soylent. I’ve specifically notice less indigestion and gas.

Most foods have enzymes in them that aide with digestion. Yes, your body can make enzymes too, but I believe it helps to give it enzymes to use to help balance the work. I imagine the additional enzymes helping to break food down to forms that are easier for my intestines to absorb, boosting absorbed nutrition and easing digestion.

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Yes. Cows and other ruminants break down grass into useful sugars by way of the enzyme cellulase. Makes sense - it breaks down cellulose.

As an aside, I really love it when science gives us really useful and easy to remember systems like the enzyme/compound dichotomy - Lactase/Lactose, cellulase/cellulose, lipase/lipids, protease/proteins. Fun!

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One thing to note about taking digestive enzymes, you may be consuming more calories than you think - if the indigestible fiber content in your soylent is causing gas, and the addition of enzymes mitigates it, it may be due to the enzymes breaking down the complex starch into more easily digestible sugars, essentially nullifying the point of having fiber in the first place.


@isaackotlicky Yup, makes it easy to remember, -ase endings are enzymes, -ose endings are sugars and the list goes on and on.

I’ll reiterate this: starch is a polysaccharide, meaning many sugars. Its not something our cells can break down, but it is something our live-in guests can break down. (meaning gut bacterium). Ingesting enzymes to break this down cheats out your gut bacterium and makes them sad :frowning: .

Found a site that lists whats in that enzyme pill. You already make most of what they put in it, and some of it seems to be put in without any real studies to support its inclusion. Maybe a good idea if you already have issues with digestion, but if that’s the case I would have expected natural selection to have taken its toll.

HAAAA!!! Oh man, that was good!

I know this is an old thread, but I believe Matt88’s post can be misleading some people reading this.

It is correct that we don’t ‘need’ to supplement enzymes because the body produces the enzymes it needs - but only in the short run. The majority of people are eating foods containing only a very little amount of natural enzymes (cooked food etc.), and therefore the pancreas are working overtime producing enzymes, which has shown to be connected with several serious (long run) diseases and a shorter lifespan.
Supplementing with high-quality enzymes could therefore be beneficial. There is of course much more to this subject and plenty of benefits from supplementing enzymes other than longevity.
Source: Dr. Edward Howell, who was the first to do some serious research on the subject of enzymes.
There is a very interesting interview with him on the subject here:

I would be more than happy if you can prove me/him wrong as this would broaden my knowledge. But please support your claims with reliable sources if you choose to do so :smile:

You first.

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Lol. Please do explain why Edward Howell isn’t a reliable source.

What are some of the papers which Dr. Howell published in peer-reviewed journals?

The interview with Dr. Howell bothers me a bit. I’m always skeptical when someone tells me there is a new problem they found that can’t be solved without supplementation.

Here is a decent counter augment against Edward Howell’s work:

He’s just one guy claiming he has discovered a problem. So far you haven’t supplied any evidence supporting his claims.

Thank you, that was exactly what I was looking for :). Some of the counter arguments seems valid. Others just leave room for speculation IMO.

I can’t supply more evidence than Dr. Edward Howell has tried to supply in his books, sorry dude.

Well, my point with my post was just to say that there exists other claims on how supplemented digestive enzymes affects your digestion of nutrients, than the claims coming from Matt88.
Sadly, most of the claims from both sides are still just speculations, and my point was just to say that Matt88’s claims isn’t neccessarily the truth.

Telling me to go read a book isn’t exactly a convincing argument in your favor. If there is anything to Dr. Howell’s claims there should be some evidence of it somewhere on the internet. You could start by finding this evidence and posting links to it here. You are asking us to post proof of our claims but you have yet to post proof of yours.


I wouldn’t waste my time trying to convince you by posting evidence. If you were interested in the subject you would check out this researcher and his research yourself. I have made it possible for you to go check him out.
I would be more than happy if someone posted some counterarguments and linked to a well-known lifetime researcher on the subject so I could check it out if I was interested.
I merely wrote the last sentence to avoid a lot of posts with unsupported opinions.