Enzymes - CF Buzz

What are enzymes?

Scientifically speaking enzymes are biological catalysts and help complex reactions happen everywhere in life. Inside the body they help break down fats, carbohydrates and protein.

Enzymes are released through the pancreas into the intestines where food is broken down and the nutrients and minerals drawn out. Because of the mucus build up in pancreases of people with cystic fibrosis (CF), their natural enzymes don’t make it to the intestines, which means food isn’t absorbed properly.

Enzyme supplements help people with CF digest food by replacing the enzymes that would otherwise be released by the pancreas.

About 85% of people with CF are pancreatic insufficient and will need to take pancreatic enzymes to digest food and absorb nutrients properly.

The most commonly used enzyme preparation in Australia is Creon®. Creon comes in a range of strengths – Creon Micro, Creon 10,000, Creon 25,000 and Creon 40,000


When should I take enzymes?



  • Take enzymes with every meal, snack and drink containing fat
  • Take enzymes at the start of eating
  • Remember enzymes last around 30 minutes so you may need to take extra enzymes if you are eating for longer than this
  • Keep a carry case of enzymes in your bag and desk at work to avoid skipping them
  • Keep enzymes at room temperature
  • Remember enzymes have an expiry date



  • Store them inside a hot car, enzymes are destroyed by heat
  • Refrigerate enzymes
  • Skip your enzymes

Enzymes don’t need to be taken with fruit, jelly, lollies, soft drink, chewing gum, cordial, fruit juice, black tea or coffee.


How many enzymes should I take?

Everyone with CF is different, some people need more enzymes than others and it is also depends on how much fat is in the food or drink you are having. That means, the more fat in your meal, the more enzymes you will need to take.

The average dose of Creon needed for each gram of dietary fat is:

Creon 10,000 – 1 capsule per 7 grams fat

Creon 25,000 – 1 capsule per 20 grams of fat

Creon 50,000 – 1 capsule per 40 grams of fat

Check out the number of Creon you need to take for the following foods:

You can check the fat content of various foods on the Calorie King website.


Foods, fat and enzyme dose guide

Food Fat (g) Number of

Creon 10,000

Number of

Creon 25,000

Pasta with meat, sauce and cheese 50 8 3
Bucket of chips or fries 25 4 2
Roast meat with skin, potatoes, veggies 40 6 3
Burger and fries 55 9 3
Ham and cheese sandwich 15 2 1
Fish and chips 35 5 2
Chocolate bar 15 2 1
Cheesecake 45 7 3
Bacon, eggs and toast with butter 60 10 4
Potato wedges and sour cream 70 11 4



Sample menu and enzymes

Meal Food/Drink Fat (g) Enzymes


Breakfast 1 cup of rice bubbles with 1 cup of full cream milk

2 tbsp sugar, 1 cup of orange juice

10 1
Snack 2 Chocolate biscuits, 300ml chocolate milk 21 3
Lunch 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese

Sandwich with 2 teaspoons of margarine, yoghurt topped muesli bar, 250ml plain milk and 5 teaspoons of Milo

39 5
Snack Banana and 200g of regular yoghurt 6 1
Dinner 200g crumbed chicken breast cooked in a lightly oiled pan, 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of mixed vegetables with 1 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup of water 25 3
Supper 1 cup full fat milk with 5 teaspoons of Milo 10 1
Key: 1 cup = 250mL


What happens when I don’t take my enzymes?

The body can’t digest food when there aren’t enough enzymes which means nutrients can’t be absorbed. This is called malabsorption.

Malabsorption can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and increased susceptibility to infections.

Symptoms of malabsorption include:

  • Difficulty gaining or maintaining weight
  • Indigestion
  • Large amounts of gas
  • Bloating and cramping after eating
  • Floating or greasy stools
  • Loose stools
  • Constipation and blockages
  • Frequent stools
  • Foul smelling gas or stools
  • Light-coloured stools

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