Imagine taking a supplement that can help break down FODMAPs in your foods? Well new product, the FODZYME enzyme, proposes to do just that and shows potential in the management of IBS.
It works by helping you digest three specific FODMAP components:
Fructans, found for example in wheat, onion, garlic
GOS, found for example in beans and pulses
Lactose, found for example in milk & yoghurt
The specific enzymes include fructan hydrolase, lactase and alpha-galactosidase. They also have an enzyme to address polyols (sorbitol and mannitol) in development, which will potentially make it the only product that can address FODMAP sensitivities without having to avoid your favourite high FODMAP foods, at least not all the time!
FODMAPs are poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates that have been shown to promote abdominal pain, bloating, and other symptoms related to IBS. It\’s really imporatnt to know that the low FODMAP diet is not a long-term diet as risk of nutritional deficiencies, disordered eating and negative gut microbiome changes have being reported (1). Although lactase and alpha-galactosidase enzymes have been on the market for some time and are known to help a subset of people with IBS, the new era enzyme, fructan hydrolase, to help break down fructans is what makes this product unique.
Is it an evidence-based product?
FODZYME effectiveness has been demonstrated in two clinical trials to date. Firstly, it was administered alongside 3g of inulin (a common supplement form of fructan) in SHIME®, artifical model of the human gut, to help study the efficacy of FODZYME’s fructan hydrolase in fructan degradation (fructans are chains of fructose and FODZYME liberates fructose from fructan molecules). In this study (2), 90% of the inulin was rapidly broken down to fructose in gastric conditions within 30 minutes, showing it works, and can resist gastric pH and protease activity along the way.
You may be wondering will the increased fructose cause any extra issues (as fructose in excess of glucose is part of the FODMAP family!). In this study, the reintroduction of fructose did not result in worse symptoms in a statistically significant manner compared with FODMAP elimination. In fact, it was shown that a significant portion of the released fructose was absorbed during simulated small intestinal transit which resulted in decreased microbial gas production, meaning it didn’t get to make its way to the large intestine bypassing the normal fermentation process by ones microbiota. One negative outcomes is that it recued the levevs of short chain fatty acid (SCFA), which are beneficial metabolites produced by the friendly bacteria in your gut (which we want to keep, not reduce!)
In another small but blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trials with healthy volunteers where participants were given 40g of fructan (a mega dose that is approximately 10 times the average daily consumption) in the form of chicory root fiber bars at once, with the fructan hydrolase enzyme or placebo. They were then instructed to record symptoms for the next 24 hours, including detailed bowel movement information as well as every single fart along the way! Participants observed a greater than four times reduction in flatulence compared to placebo as well as a 100% reduction in diarrhoea.
Although, these results are impressive there are some obvious limitations. Firstly, and most importantly, trials have not been conducted in people with IBS. I hope this is in the pipeline! And secondly, although the SHIME simulator of the human digestion system provides detailed information on the fate of the enzymes during digestion and the associated changes in the human gut microbiota, it would be great to try and gather this information in actual humans and compare outcomes. In addition, it would be great to see the results published in a well-known gastroenterology journal, with peer review, to increase the reliability of results.
How do you take FODZYME?
FODZYME comes as a powder, in individual sachets or a tub, and is sprinkled and stirred into your food as you start eating your meal rather than mixed into water. This helps it take advantage of the optimal pH range for enzymatic activity immediately following a meal. It is also certified as low FODMAP by Monash in Australia.
I feel you will get the most benefit using it ad hoc, for example, when you are going out for dinner or when you plan to eat a meal higher in FODMAPs, or when travelling. This will likely limit the negative impact on your short chain fatty acid (SCFA) levels.
How do I purchase FODZYME in Ireland?
Up until now, it has been a bit tricky to get your hands on FODZYME in Ireland. However, their retail partner, Fodcorner, can now ship directly to you: https://fodcorner.com/en-ie/collections/fodzyme, with the current price tag of €103 for 60 servings (or €34 for a tester pack of 5), and €8 shipping fee. If you live in the UK you can bypass the high shipping cost using: https://fodmarket.co.uk/search?type=product&q=fodzyme+-tag%3Ahidden_
Hill P, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Controversies and Recent Developments of the Low-FODMAP Diet. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2017;13(1):36-45.
Van de Wiele T, Van den Abbeele P, Ossieur W, Possemiers S, Marzorati M. The Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®). The Impact of Food Bioactives on Health. Published online 2015:305-317.
Ochoa K, Samant, S Liu,A., Duysburgh, C, Marzorati, M, Singh, P, Hachuel, D., Chey, W., Wallach, T. In-Vitro Efficacy of Targeted FODMAP Enzymatic Digestion (FODZYME®) in a High-Fidelity Simulated Gastrointestinal Environment. Gastro Hep Advances, 2022, ISSN 2772-5723