Typically, when you purchase your vitamins or other supplements, you look at the label, and focus on the number of milligrams (mg) or grams (g) of each ingredient. These are quantitative measurements, and are important because there is a general guideline for how much of “xyz” vitamin or mineral that we as humans should consume on a daily basis. Enzymes are slightly different, however.
The most important measurement to pay attention to when it comes to enzymes is their potency. If you’ve bought a systemic enzyme supplement before, you’ve probably noticed the letters SU, SPU, FU, or IU somewhere on the product label. These letters are all used as a measurement of how active the enzymes are, and how well they will work when introduced to the body. So they are a measurement of quality, not quantity. Specific testing is conducted in order to determine these figures.
SPU and SU stand for Serrapeptase Units, and are used interchangeably between supplement brands when referring to the potency of the specific enzyme, serrapeptase. The best serrapeptase products will contain 100,000 units or higher per capsule.
FU stands for Fibrinolytic Units, and is used for the enzyme nattokinase. The standard for nattokinase manufacturing is a potency of up to 2,000 FU’s per capsule.
The IU designation stands for International Units, and is generally used to show the potency of a blend of several different enzymes in a product.
Again, all of these abbreviations are just different ways of disclosing the same thing…the strength of the enzymes on a per serving basis. A systemic enzyme supplement with a higher potency will require a smaller dosage in order to produce the desired effect.
While you may still see enzymes measured in milligrams on a product label, all this is telling you is how much the enzyme weighs…it is not telling you anything about the level of activity it will provide. You can have an enzyme that weighs a lot, but is very poor quality or potency. So be sure to look for the units of activity (SU, SPU, FU, IU) on the label of a systemic enzyme supplement. If you do not find one of these indicators, ask the manufacturer or find a different enzyme product to use.