We won’t blame you if you’re yet to establish a relationship with digestive enzymes. Even though they’ve been on the market and easily accessible to human beings for a very long time, they, unfortunately, don’t get the reputation that they deserve. Maybe it’s because we’re too busy focussing on celery juice, probiotics, fermented foods and everything else recommended to us, to keep our stomachs in check.
So let’s chat about HUGE benefits enzymes have on gut health, in helping you digest your food!
So what are digestive enzymes?
The scientific term for digestive enzymes is ‘macromolecular biological catalysts’. But we won’t get too technical on you. In other words, they are substances in your body’s digestive system that helps break larger foods down into smaller foods, through chemical reactions.
In conclusion, they’re a useful tool to help those who already have a tough time digesting food (because of leaky gut, IBD or IBS), as they do most of the work for you!
Does the digestive tract have active enzymes?
Generally, your digestive system is very smart and so it knows different food break down in various different ways. It already uses over 20 types of digestive enzymes, and an array of methods to deconstruct your food into molecules so that your body can absorb them as nutrients. Each enzyme has one role, to deconstruct only one type of food molecule, like fats, carbs, lactose, and proteins.
What if our body’s enzymes aren’t working properly?
There are many reasons why our digestive system may not be digesting our foods properly and we can blame age, stress, poor nutrition, hygiene, etc. that can slow down the enzyme production – which means that the food you’re eating is not breaking down properly (oh ohhhh).
This is a problem for two reasons:
- You’re not absorbing the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to sustain health. Resulting in deficiencies.
- You’re putting a lot of stress on your digestive tract, which leads to chronic health conditions and disease.
So why should you take digestive enzymes?
There are so many reasons why someone with digestive health issues should be having digestive enzymes.
- Better nutrient absorption: Digestive enzymes help you absorb your meals, so they’re not going to waste. And your gut can receive the goodness that it deserves
- Leaky Gut prevention: The tiny cells along the lining of your intestines are what absorb the nutrients in your food. When food isn’t digested properly, the molecules start breaking through the cell walls, which in turn triggers your immune system to fight these invaders. This can cause inflammation in your intestinal lining and body.
- Reduce IBS symptoms: When food is not being digested properly, bacteria in your gut begin to feed on it. When this bacterium is overfed and overgrown, it leads to bloating, gas cramps, etc.
- As for those with IBD, these digestive enzymes can also help with food sensitivities. And other conditions like celiac disease, or lactose intolerance.
- Less chronic fatigue and pain: Inflammation can cause random secondary side effects, like migraines and fatigue. This all links to inflammation in the gut, therefore a lack of nutrients. Digestive enzymes help convert carbs into glucose, which is a key molecule that our bodies use for energy. If everything is running well, then your body should be feeding off that glucose, so that you feel good.
- Combat anxiety: Our neurotransmitters need amino acids to function properly, which are created by a healthy digestive tract. If you don’t have enough enzymes to break down protein into amino acids, then your gut might be starving the neurotransmitters – which are responsible for our moods
Lastly, for those with auto-immune conditions, even though incurable there must be ways in which we can support the digestive tract so that it can re-build, heal and absorb as many nutrients as possible, so at very least digestive enzymes can ensure that your body has the tools it needs for proper absorption. This minimizes inflammation.
How do we get more enzymes then?
Our favorite enzyme is Bromelain. It is a digestive enzyme that comes from pineapples. And is easily purchased over the counter at any leading pharmacy. It’s used for reducing swelling, also known as inflammation. And it’s also used to treat bowel conditions that include swelling and ulcers, such as ulcerative colitis.
So, whether you’re already on a journey to better health or your struggling to find that ideal supplement to support the digestion process of food, we highly recommend a digestive enzyme like bromelain as an additive into your daily smoothie or a cup of warm water.