Background: Digestive enzymes are able to break down proteins and carbohydrates and lipids, and their supplementation may play a role in the management of digestive disorders, from lactose intolerance to cystic fibrosis. To date, several formulations of digestive enzymes are available on the market, being different each other in terms of enzyme type, source and origin, and dosage.
Methods: This review, performed through a non-systematic search of the available literature, will provide an overview of the current knowledge of digestive enzyme supplementation in gastrointestinal disorders, discussion of the use of pancreatic enzymes, lactase (β-galactosidase) and conjugated bile acids, and also exploring the future perspective of digestive enzyme supplementation.
Results: Currently, the animal-derived enzymes represent an established standard of care, however the growing study of plant-based and microbe-derived enzymes offers great promise in the advancement of digestive enzyme therapy.
Conclusion: New frontiers of enzyme replacement are being evaluated also in the treatment of diseases not specifically related to enzyme deficiency, whereas the combination of different enzymes might constitute an intriguing therapeutic option in the future.