Digestive enzymes have been used to address health problems varying from indigestion to chronic pancreatitis and even cystic fibrosis.
Supplementing your gut’s natural digestive enzymes can help certain people who need it. Not only does digestive enzyme supplementation reduce the negative effects of having an unhealthy gut, such as indigestion and food intolerances, but they also promote the absorption of nutrients from any food you eat.
How Digestive Enzymes Work
Enzymes are essentially very small proteins that break down food into smaller forms that your body can digest and soak up nutrients from.
If your body doesn’t produce enough digestive enzymes or you don’t get enough from your diet, it can result in conditions such as gluten and lactose intolerance.
If you suffer from an enzyme deficiency, you probably know first-hand that this can be a major problem. In order to address this deficiency, many doctors have begun prescribing digestive enzyme supplements, which are essentially capsules jam-packed with the enzymes which are typically found in low levels in many individuals’ bodies.
These are some of the health benefits associated with digestive enzymes:
- Energy production
- Absorption of oxygen
- Fighting infections and healing wounds
- Reducing inflammation
- Getting nutrients into your cells
- Carrying away toxic wastes
- Breaking down fats in your blood, regulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Dissolving blood clots
- Proper hormone regulation
- Slowing the aging process
What to Look for in a Digestive Enzyme Supplement
- It should contain a mixture of different types of enzymes, to help digest all of the different components of your diet (including lipase, protease, and amylase)
- The ingredients should be high quality, all-natural, and free of allergens and additives
- The supplement should be labeled as to the enzymatic strength of each ingredient, not just its weight
- It should be made by a reputable company with rigorous quality control and testing for potency
- The supplement should be enteric-coated, to resist against stomach acid that could damage the potency of the product.
- Be sure to look for cGMP certifications that will indicate that the product actually contains the listed ingredients and cleanliness of the product.
- Look for gluten and dairy-free capsules to avoid any underlying intolerances or allergens.
These supplements not only provide benefits to our bodies, but they also have the ability to fix underlying problems and even prevent new ones from occurring.
Digestive enzymes are taken widely for a variety of reasons whether it’s to stop an intolerance of lactose or gluten, or if you are just looking for better nutrient absorption. Digestive enzymes can even reduce symptoms of many bowel related disorders, by promoting better digestion.
It’s estimated that 70% of serotonin, which is responsible for being an important transmitter in the body, has been believed to help regulate our overall mood and increase social behavior while regulating our appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory is produced in the gut.
With that being said, it’s safe to say that if you have digestive problems you could be lacking serotonin, and this can easily affect your day-to-day life and routine and cause many underlying problems mental and physical.
Digestive Enzyme Benefits
Digestive enzymes break down our meals and release the vital minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and macronutrients we need, resulting in better nutrient absorption. Macronutrients provide energy in the body that helps maintain our overall functionalities. This means our bones, joints, digestive tract, and even our brain.
The energy your body receives from macronutrients is what promotes us to grow and repair damaged skin tissues, and even maintain our body temperature. Overall macronutrients give us the energy we need to take on daily activities.
Many people take digestive enzymes to protect against free radicals that cause oxidative stress, which is linked to a variety of diseases and disorders. Antioxidants are responsible for cleaning up the toxic waste from our cells that are known as free radicals before they have detrimental effects on us. Studies have shown that antioxidants boost the immune system which can help us prevent us from a variety of illnesses.
Proteolytic enzymes commonly known as protease peptidase are naturally found in papaya and pineapple have been shown to reduce inflammation and have the ability to dissolve blood clots by reducing swelling of our mucous membranes and decreasing capillary permeability. Proteolytic enzymes reduce the thickness of our blood, bringing new nutrients and oxygen-rich blood that rids metabolic waste caused by inflammation.
If your digestive enzyme supplement is a good one it will contain “lactase” a digestive enzyme that is naturally present in our saliva, which helps digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products including milk.
Lactase is naturally occurring in our bodies and is produced by our cell walls in the gastrointestinal tract since our bodies are unable to digest lactose as a whole food it has to be split into smaller sugars such as glucose and galactose.
This is why lactase is important, due to its ability to split the sugars. Which can help stop cramps, diarrhea and excess gas bloating and inflammation of the gut. Many of us are unable to drink milk despite it being a great source of calcium that keeps bones strong however with a good supplement you should be able to start consuming dairy products without noticing any adverse side effects.
Enzymes even have anti-aging properties, they have the ability to break down keratin proteins, through an exfoliation-like process that removes the dead skin cells, overall this results in more radiant skin by diminishing fine lines and scars that could be age-related.
Since digestive enzymes promote gut permeability by strengthening our cell walls in the gastrointestinal tract, it makes it harder for a pathogen to enter our bloodstream acts as immune support and stability, reducing our chances of contracting a pathogenic disease.