Digestive Enzymes are essential for good digestion and to feel well. Lacking enzymes causes bloating, constipation, gut pain, acid reflux, gas and a general feeling of discomfort after a meal. In many cases, adding digestive enzymes before a meal can resolve digestive problems. But enzymes do much more than supporting digestion.
Digestive enzymes control digestion
There are three main players that determine what goes on the digestive tract. All three are essential.
Stomach acid is a digestive fluid in the stomach and vital for good digestion. Gastric acid activates digestive enzymes needed to break down proteins. Too little stomach acid can cause acid reflux, pain, inflammation, bloating, gas and other symptoms. Adding betaine HCI can help.
Digestive enzymes are proteins that break food down into smaller components that can be absorbed by the body. This way the body can use vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs, and protein as building blocks. Many digestive enzymes are produced by the body and are active in the mouth, stomach, and intestine. In addition, raw vegetables, fruit and other foods also contain enzymes. Digestive enzyme supplements can aid digestion.
Beneficial bacteria are living microorganisms that live in symbiosis with our bodies. Good bacteria like probiotics help balance the digestive tract, prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms, and promote overall health. A child inherit probiotic bacteria from the mother at birth. However, this balance can be disturbed by antibiotics, a poor diet, stress and other factors. Sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, natto and other fermented foods contain enzymes, acids and other nutrients supporting digestion.
The body needs the right amount of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and probiotic bacteria to keep the gut healthy and digestion optimal.
Benefits of digestive enzymes
The body produces many enzymes, some are active in the mouth, others in the stomach and the small intestine. Many enzymes are present in raw food. This is one reason to consume raw vegetables with main meals.
What enzymes do
- Enzymes prepare the raw materials from food to energize, build and repair the body
- They circulate nutrients to feed and support all cells in the body
- They help eliminate unwanted chemicals and waste
- Much more…
Digestion starts in the mouth. When chewing, the body releases enzymes that break down carbs. Chewing food thoroughly allows enzymes more time to start the breakdown process. Many digestive problems occur when eating too fast. Bloating, gas, constipation, acid reflux, and pain are common problems for fast eaters.
When food enters the stomach additional digestive enzymes continue the breakdown process. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are all involved in producing enzymes that absorb nutrients used for energy and to build and repair tissue.
Are you enzyme deficient?
How do you know if you’re lacking digestive enzymes? This is a fair question, however, not easily answered. It’s similar to asking if you know exactly which vitamins or minerals your body needs at any given moment. The answer depends on lifestyle, eating habits, level of stress, genetic make-up, level of fitness, and other factors.
The body’s particular needs can be very specific and also change over time. Some experts estimate that more than 25 % of the population are enzyme deficient.
Some people are keenly aware that their body’s ability to produce certain enzymes is impaired. For example, lactose intolerance means that the body’s ability to produce the enzyme lactase is weakened or damaged. Therefore, the body cannot break down milk sugar in dairy products and this produces symptoms.
Why some are enzyme deficient
- Pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals in the body can disturb enzyme production
- Disease can weaken the body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes
- Eating too fast, not chewing thoroughly is a common reason for a disturbed digestion. But it’s also easily solved – slow down!
- Consuming processed food can deplete digestive enzymes
- As we age, the body’s ability to produce enzymes becomes weaker. Around age 40, the level of enzyme production can be 25% lower.
Signs of deficiency
When the body experiences a lack of enzymes, it will not be able to completely digest and assimilate nutrients causing symptoms, as the ones mentioned below:
- Weight gain
- Food allergies
- Food sensitivity
- High blood pressure
- Undigested food in stool
The good news is that digestive enzyme deficiency can often quickly be resolved. How?
How to support good digestion
Many problems with digestion can be easily solved.
- Most important: Eat slowly, learn to enjoy each bite! It’s amazing how many problems can be solved just by chewing food properly. During a meal, focus on the food not the phone, tablet or tv!. This helps to thoroughly break down food.
- Consume fresh vegetable juice. The juice is packed with enzymes and other nutrients. Try the Ginger Lemon Shot.
- Avoid processed food (fast food) in which most enzymes are destroyed.
- Add a digestive enzyme supplement. They are inexpensive but effective.
- Add betaine HCI can help.
- Consume fresh and raw food, try sprouting. Sprouts are packed with enzymes.
- Avoid eating late at night.
The following raw foods contain natural digestive enzymes that promote good digestion.
Papaya is a rich source of enzymes like papain, that breaks down meat. Try eating papaya 20 min before a meal, or even during the meal.
Pineapples are contain protein-digesting enzymes called cysteine proteinases.
Bee pollen contains a broad spectrum of enzymes.
Fermented food is packed with all three main players controlling digestion: probiotic bacteria, enzymes, and acids.
Lemon supports gallbladder and bile flow. Try the Ginger Shots, which is a combination of ginger and lemon, both of which stimulate digestion.
Other great foods include raw beets, leafy greens, fenugreek tea, and cinnamon. Try including enzyme-rich food daily as it’s a simple way to support the gut and can ease much discomfort. Don’t underestimate the benefits of digestive enzymes!