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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Digestive Enzymes

What are digestive enzymes and why are they important?


The human body makes and secretes specific enzymes, called digestive enzymes, which help us to break down fat, proteins and carbohydrates into the micronutrients necessary for absorption into the body.  So despite our best efforts to eat a healthy diet, if digestive enzyme production and secretion are inadequate, then our ability to absorb all of the micronutrients from our food will be impaired.    


Why would our bodies not make enough digestive enzymes?


There are many reasons the body’s natural enzymes become depleted.  Diseases such as pancreatic disease, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac disease can cause severe deficiencies in digestive enzymes; however, even in the absence of disease, the body may still not be producing enough digestive enzymes. Here are a few of the many reasons that can lead to enzyme depletion:

  • Food allergies
  • Aging
  • Intestinal Permeability caused from an overgrowth of yeast in the gut
  • Chronic Stress

How do digestive enzymes work?

Various enzymes break down different foods so that their nutrients may be more readily absorbed.

  • Protease breaks down the peptide bonds that join the amino acids in a protein, ensuring that the amino acids are readily available to the body. 
  • Lipase splits apart emulsified fats. 
  • Amylase helps the body digest starch and is integral to the breakdown of carbohydrates, such as potatoes and other starchy foods.
  • Lactase digests milk and sugar.
  • Cellulase helps break down plant and vegetable matter.

Signs you may need a digestive enzyme supplement:

  • Bloating
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Gas
  • Irregularity
  • Rock gut (the feeling that you have food sitting in your stomach)

How can I improve digestive enzyme deficiency?

  • Remove foods such as legumes (e.g. beans) and grains (e.g. wheat, oats, corn) as they are known enzyme inhibitors.
  • A healthy digestive system is at the root of all good health so repair the gut with, for example, a yeast cleanse.
  • Replace good gut flora (microorganisms) through the daily use of a good quality probiotic.
  • Manage stress. We all have stress in our lives, especially during the holidays.  Between shopping and wrapping that perfect gift, and cooking a decadent meal for 20, the true meaning and joy of Christmas can quickly become lost.   Allow yourself to really enjoy the season by letting go of what’s not important.  Make time for yourself, whether allowing yourself extra sleep, or adding a yoga class
  • Support your body by taking a broad spectrum complex of digestive enzymes.

Complementary Prescriptions Digestive Enzymes offers a plant-based formula that works to digest a full range of foods, including protein, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber.

By |2016-07-06T07:13:22-06:00December 1st, 2013|Articles, General|