February 15, 2017

Digestive Enzymes: Promoting Health

The Consequences of Eating

Female stomach

With your favorite food in front of you, the aroma and appearance are probably stimulating your taste buds in anticipation of what is to come. As you savor each mouthful, you concentrate on the flavors, unconcerned about how well your body is digesting this treat … except when things go wrong.

We rarely think of the consequences of eating unless we later suffer from wind, bloating, or nausea, or are troubled by mild diarrhea. If you are unfortunate enough to experience such reactions, it might not be the food that is at fault, but your own digestive system.

Before delving into what might cause those embarrassing bouts of flatulence or enlarged belly, let’s consider how our digestion works and what part enzymes play in it.

When we eat, it’s the nutrients in food that our digestive system absorbs. Digestion is complicated and, although our body makes its own digestive enzymes, the process also involves the enzymes already present in the food we eat. How do these work in harmony?

Busy Enzymes

Enzymes are specialized proteins produced in our body but also found in raw fruit and vegetables, and even meat. There are thousands of different enzymes in nature, and life as we know it would be impossible without them. They act as catalysts in the chemical reactions that break down molecules for energy and growth. Our digestive tract makes use of the enzymes found in our food, in conjunction with those in our body, to obtain the nutrients it needs to function.

As soon as we chew our food and mix it with enzymes in our saliva, the digestive process begins. Food passing through our gut is mixed with acids and our own enzymes, each of which has a specialized role. Included in our digestive arsenal of 22 enzymes are amylase to break down starch into sugars, lipase for fat, and pepsin for proteins. Each enzyme has a specific set of molecules it targets. As the food passes through our gut, it is exposed to these enzymes in a set sequence, each one formed in a different part of the body. Bit by bit, the nutrients are absorbed, and then finally the unwanted waste is excreted.

Enzymes are critical for successful digestion and, consequently, our overall health. If just one member of this complex team is unable to function properly, the whole digestive process can be affected, resulting in the symptoms already mentioned above, plus skin rashes, mood swings, and brain fog to name a few.

Under Pressure

With over 60 million people a year in the U.S. alone reported to be suffering digestive complaints, it would appear that something is amiss.

Research has pinpointed complications in the production of digestive enzymes in our bodies as one cause of the many digestive problems we are facing. These troubles seem to affect a growing number of people. But, why? We have access to foods and diets that our parents could only dream of. Why is over a fifth of the U.S. population suffering in this way – a misery that is also being felt around the globe?

Raw food may contain many of the enzymes we need to digest our food, but, when it is cooked, these enzymes are reduced or destroyed. Today we rely more and more on ready meals and takeaways that have been heavily processed. The enzyme value of many of these foods is all but non-existent.

If the food we eat is lacking in enzymes, our body will try to increase its own production to compensate. This puts an unnecessary strain on organs, such as the liver and the pancreas, that produce the bulk of our enzymes. To make matters worse, our ability to manufacture these valuable tools declines with age and is further inhibited when we are under stress, leading to possible health issues.

It is not just cooking that damages the enzymes. We may think we are buying nutritious food, but there are other reasons that the enzymes in our food are depleted or impaired. These include:

  • Pesticides and chemicals
  • Genetic engineering
  • Hormones in meat
  • Irradiated food
  • Microwaving

With so many factors affecting our food, as well as our digestive enzymes, it is easy to see why problems occur. It can be a complex and time-consuming exercise for doctors to determine which enzymes are deficient in our body, and the results may not be conclusive.

Your Enzymes Need Help!

There is good news. We can do a lot to assist our bodies. A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential.  Good quality fruit and vegetables contain enzymes which are necessary, but don’t overcook them. Choose your meat carefully. Reduce the amount of heavily processed food you eat.

Sadly, with our rushed lives, it is often hard to find the time to prepare nutritious meals, especially day after day. It is all too easy, and sometimes unavoidable, to take the quick route and eat unhealthily. This leaves our bodies struggling to compensate for the missing enzymes.

Fortunately, there are supplements that contain a combination of the most common enzymes in capsule form. To be effective, the following enzymes should be included as a minimum:

  • Protease
  • Amylase
  • Lipase
  • Lactase
  • Invertase
  • Phytase
  • Diastase
  • Pectinase

Be careful to avoid any supplements that contain either sucrose, wheat, soy, yeast, or salt. Such additives can do more harm than good.

Happy Eating

Eating food is not only necessary for our health but is one of life’s pleasures. Our modern lifestyle, coupled with the environmental pollution that surrounds us, threatens to rob us of enjoying the full benefits of our food. Digestive disorders are on the rise, and the symptoms can be embarrassing and, potentially, more serious.

Many people are now discovering that taking digestive supplements can make a big difference and give them peace of mind. By ensuring that our body has the correct supply of enzymes, we can enjoy our food to the fullest, confident that we are maximizing its nutritional benefits. Our health will improve, and those disconcerting episodes that might have plagued us in the past will be no more.

Comments

  1. A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential. always you can eat healthy without affecting our hard daily routine, you take care of your body to give the best

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