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What is Wobenzym®?

By C. Martin
Updated May 17, 2024
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Wobenzym® is a natural dietary supplement manufactured originally by German company Wobe-Mucos. It contains a number of enzymes and it marketed as an anti-inflammatory painkiller that also aids digestion, circulation, and immune functions in the body. Like many natural supplements, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not certified Wobenzym®, nor verified its efficacy and safety. The active ingredients present in the supplement are, however, known to have important effects on many human biochemical processes.

Wobenzym® enzymes include three different enzymes extracted from plants, and three enzymes that are secreted by the pancreas. The plant enzyme ingredients are papain, extracted from papaya fruit; bromelain, extracted from pineapples; and rutoside trihydrate, extracted from buckwheat. Papain is an enzyme that aids the digestion process and is claimed to have healing properties. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory and also acts to reduce clotting in the blood. Rutoside trihydrate, also called rutin, has similar effects to those of bromelain, and in addition may assist in the digestion of sugar.

The pancreatic enzymes in Wobenzym® are pancreatin, trypsin, and chymotrypsin. They are usually porcine in origin, which means that they are extracted from the pancreas of a pig. Pancreatin, in fact, is made up of three different enzymes, lipase, trypsin, and amylase. These are digestive enzymes and are intended to boost the digestive system.

Trypsin breaks down proteins and can have beneficial effects on the blood, such as reducing the risk of blood clots. It is also considered an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. Lipase is an enzyme that digests fats. Amylase digests sugars.

Wobenzym® side effects are not widely documented, with the exception of some stomach pain or discomfort, which usually subsides if the dosage is reduced. The supplement should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is also not appropriate for people suffering from liver damage and certain blood problems. It is generally recommended to check with a physician prior to taking this supplement for people who are on any prescribed medication.

One of the criticisms that has been leveled at Wobenzym® is that enzymes that are ingested orally are normally broken down by the body within the digestive system. This may mean that these enzymes do not reach the blood stream, where some of their more important beneficial effects could be realized. Proponents of Wobenzym®, however, contest this view and claim that the enzymes are indeed assimilated into the bloodstream.

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Discussion Comments
By anon266485 — On May 06, 2012

Years ago, prior to the acquisition from Garden of Life, Wobenzym was considered and marketed, for many years, as a digestive product, not strictly for proteolitic consumption! I can't believe no one remembers this!

I have worked in the health field for a long time! While the original enzymatic formula has been maintained, GOL has, in fact, added an enteric coating which, they claim, allows for better absorption in the intestines to aid inflammation. This is a great product for digestion when taken with food, hence the digestive enzymes available! This is a great product for inflammation when taken between meals, hence the wonderful anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain.

By the way, this marketing change just so happened to coincide with what was new research available to the public with regard to the use of enzymes regarding inflammation!

By anon223431 — On Oct 19, 2011

Wobenzym isn't made to help you digest food. It's taken apart from food so it can act throughout your system.

By ceilingcat — On Jun 25, 2011

@starrynight - Interesting that papaya tables work for you. I tried them once and they didn't do anything for me. I didn't experience any relief til I took a tried and true remedy: Tums!

I doubt that I would try this product. I think it promises to do too many things all at once. Also I feel a little skeptical about taking enzymes orally. I don't think the enzymes would actually reach the bloodstream if taken this way.

By starrynight — On Jun 23, 2011

I've never taken Wobenzym but I have taken papaya tablets to aid digestion ever since I was little. They really work! Papaya works so well that I would actually consider taking this if it was sold near me.

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