When you purchase an enzyme preparation, the amount is expressed not only in grams or milligrams, but also in activity units or international units (IU). These terms refer to the enzymes’ ability to digest a certain amount of protein. Different enzymes have differing activity and are measured in different, often complicated, ways. There are, for example, five ways to express bromelain’s enzyme activity.
In an effort toward standardisation, many manufacturers are starting to use FIP units – the amount of enzyme activity according to the test methods of the Federation of International Pharmaceutics. There are no officially recommended dosages for proteolytic enzymes, but you may wish to consider these guidelines:
* bromelain: unless otherwise prescribed, 80-320 mg (200-800 FIP units) two to three times daily
* papain: higher doses are more effective; try a dose of 1500 mg/day (2520 FIP units)
* trypsin/chymotrypsin: there are no standard recommended doses for these substances. Often, they are included in smaller amounts in bromelain/papain combinations. Trial and error may be necessary.
Combination brands have the advantage of being manufactured to deliver a consistent level of activity. Look for a brand that is ‘enteric-coated’ – which means that the formulation is protected against digestion in the stomach for optimal delivery of the enzymes to the intestines, where they can perform their actions.