What to Know About Enzyme Replacement Therapy


What Is Enzyme Replacement Therapy?

Luckily, enzyme therapy is an option to help your body replace its missing or deficient enzymes. USA Sports Therapy offers enzyme replacement therapy. You may also have heard of it referred to as ERT or ERT therapy. 

Some of the many issues that ERT can help with include: 

  • Digestive trouble, such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, or acid reflux
  • Skin complaints like rashes, acne, eczema, or psoriasis
  • Brain fog, headaches, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and chronic fatigue
  • Certain lasting symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia

Some studies have shown that having adequate levels of proteolytic enzymes can ease muscle soreness and help recovery after surgery, in addition to soothing skin and digestive woes. Early research has indicated that some specific forms of proteolytic enzymes, such as bromelain found naturally in pineapples, may have cancer-fighting properties. 

The Role of Enzymes

Think of your body like a rocket ship. Your ship might be fully stocked with protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all the building blocks of life tucked away inside of it, but without rocket fuel, that ship will never go anywhere. This is where enzymes enter the picture. Enzymes are like rocket fuel for your body. They create the chemical reactions that the body needs, spurring on the internal processes that help us digest food, build muscle, filter out toxins, reduce inflammation, take in oxygen, heal injuries, and support life. These biochemical reactors bind to different molecules within our bodies, catalyzing over 5000 reactions inside the body’s systems. Enzymes make everything we do possible. 

Enzyme Deficiency 

There are around 1300 different enzymes typically found in a healthy human cell.  Some of these enzymes are manufactured by the body in organs like the pancreas. Others we can get through food. Raw foods like pineapple, papaya, honey, avocado, ginger, and fermented foods like miso and kimchi, pass on useful digestive enzymes that supplement the ones we already have. Enzymes help our body’s systems run more smoothly, but an enzyme deficiency is especially noticeable in our digestive processing. 

Unfortunately, many food manufacturers purposefully remove enzymes from their products. Since enzymes help break down organic material, removing them is known to give products longer shelf life. On the flip side, doing so makes it harder for consumers to get the number of enzymes needed through food. In addition, habits like binge eating, eating a restricted or unhealthy diet can make it challenging to ensure you have a steady and sufficient supply of digestive enzymes. 

A lack of digestive enzymes, or an enzyme imbalance, can manifest as various gastrointestinal symptoms and skin disorders. It can leave you with significantly less energy as your body diverts more energy towards processing food. It can even leave an otherwise healthy person malnourished as vital nutrients to pass through the body unabsorbed. 

Enzymes Diseases

Chronic enzyme deficiencies should usually be diagnosed in consultation with a doctor. They can often be accompanied by or caused by certain cysts or tumors (benign or otherwise), diabetes, cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, or other conditions.  

Some enzyme diseases develop over time. EPI, or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, affects your body’s ability to produce enzymes.  Other enzyme deficiency diseases may be hereditary, passed down from parent to child through genetics. 

Enzyme Replacement Therapy: Gaucher Disease

Hereditary enzyme disorders are not very common. However, one known inherited enzyme deficiency is Gaucher disease. Enzyme replacement therapy has been shown to improve Types 1 and 3 Gaucher disease, although there is currently no cure. Gaucher disease is caused by a problem within the GBA gene, leading to a deficiency of the glucocerebrosidase enzyme. This can lead to a buildup of fatty substances around organs like the spleen and the liver. Type 2 Gaucher disease is rare but fatal, while symptoms can be mild to severe for people living with Type 1 Gaucher disease. Some indications may include bruising easily, feeling fatigued, and weakened bones.

Of all the Gaucher disease treatments, enzyme replacement therapy is the standard prescription to help manage the condition. 

When to Consider Enzyme Replacement Therapy? 

If you’ve already seen a doctor and are now seeking something as specific as a treatment for  Gaucher disease treatment, you likely know about your ERT needs. However, you don’t need to have a hereditary enzyme deficiency to benefit from a deeper understanding of enzyme nutrition. 

Speaking with a USA Sports Therapy professional can help anyone understand if enzyme replacement therapy can help them. Because enzymes affect the entire body’s functioning, there are many digestive, skin, muscular, and other existing ailments that an enzyme nutrition consultation can improve. An experienced clinic like USA Sports Therapy will ask about your symptoms and medical history. It can help you explore options to get you on a path towards feeling and functioning better. 

Cost of ERT

Because of the costs associated with enzyme replacement therapy, it’s recommended that you consult with your insurance. Your provider may defray or even cover the cost of treatment. Nutrition therapy by a licensed provider is considered a medical expense when done by a licensed provider, although coverage depends on your insurance provider. A physician’s referral may make it easier for you to submit a claim for insurance coverage. 


Some of the conditions that enzyme nutrition therapy may help include arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue or indigestion, acid reflux, high cholesterol, blood sugar imbalances, skin conditions, or sleep problems. If you’ve been experiencing any of these problems, if you’re looking for Gaucher treatment or ERT for other enzyme deficiencies, don’t hesitate to reach out to USA Sports Therapy today. 

Enzymes are biological catalysts. They provide the spark that helps your entire body function as it should. Not having them, or not having enough of them, is a real problem. Take the first steps to check in about your enzyme nutrition with USA Sports Therapy, and start feeling better sooner.


Dr. Kevin Mills is a board-certified orthopedic physical therapist (OCS). He holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Miami, where he graduated with honors in 2009. Dr. Mills is specialized in advanced physical therapy and manual therapy techniques, as well as the treatment of chronic pain.

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