Should YOU Be Taking Digestive Enzymes?
Proper functioning digestive enzymes can help you live longer and better. So let’s take a closer look at digestive enzymes, particularly how to know if you’re lacking them and what to do about it.
What Even Is An Enzyme?
It’s a fair question. Enzymes are a vital part of a healthy body and you have tens of thousands of them inside you. Yet few people who aren’t doctors or nutritionists learn what they are and what they do.
An enzyme is a molecule (typically a protein) that either causes a chemical reaction in your body or helps a chemical reaction to happen more quickly.
Enzymes make it possible for you to digest food, repair tissue, and create energy. Some enzymes help with detoxification, while others help you to fight off diseases. Therefore, every enzymatic reaction is important to your health and how your body functions.
In Your Digestive System
The main digestive enzymes are proteases, lipases, and amylases.
- Proteases help break down proteins.
- Lipases help break down fats.
- Amylases help break down carbohydrates.
These digestive enzymes are important because they play a role in breaking down your food, allowing you to utilize that food for energy and nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids).
Where Do Digestive Enzymes Come From?
Your body makes these digestive enzymes. But under normal circumstances, you should be getting them in your food as well. Some examples are the enzymes bromelain (found especially in pineapple) and papain (in papaya). There are many other foods that have enzymes in them, especially raw, uncooked foods. However, when food is cooked or processed, most of the enzymes are destroyed.
The Processed Food Problem
Processed food depletes your enzymes. When you eat mostly cooked or processed foods, your body has to draw more heavily from its own enzyme supply. And when your enzyme reserve becomes depleted, it sets off a cascade of problems, which can include taxing your immune system.
The Age Factor
Many researchers say that maintaining a high level of enzymes is the key to longevity.
When you’re young, your body can make up for the enzymes that are missing from your diet. But this ability decreases as you age. Studies show that every decade after the age of 30, your body’s production of enzymes drops by 13%. By the time you’re 40, you might have 25% fewer enzymes than you had when you were a kid.
Furthermore, as you age, your stomach produces less hydrochloric acid, which also results in fewer digestible enzymes. Undigested or partially digested food can irritate your immune system, creating all sorts of problems.
Any Chronic Illness Will Also Deplete Your Enzymes
You’re more likely to be enzyme deficient if you have:
- digestive problems
- high blood sugar
- high cholesterol
- endocrine problems
- chronic stress
- problems with weight management
- any kind of inflammatory issue
Lack of Enzymes Can Contribute to These Problems
- food allergies
- chronic diseases
- premature aging
- gout – it’s caused by undigested nutrients forming uric acid crystals
- poor protein and fat digestion
- bad circulation
- metabolic exhaustion
- chronic fatigue
- immunity problems – undigested food particles can trigger negative immune responses resulting in disease.
How To Tell If You Are Deficient in Digestive Enzymes
It’s actually possible for you to be enzyme deficient and have no recognizable symptoms. But there are common, recognizable signs and symptoms that may indicate a digestive enzyme deficiency:
- feeling bloated or burping after meals
- stomach cramps
- feeling tired after you eat
- food allergies or sensitivities
For some people, these become so routine that they seem normal, especially after eating. But they’re not normal. They’re actually signs that your digestive system needs help.
What Else Stresses Your Digestive System?
Lack of enzymes is not the only stress factor for your digestion. These lifestyle factors can also wreak havoc:
- smoking, or exposure to cigarette smoke
- chronic stress
The good news is that increasing the number of enzymes in your body can help to reduce the stress.
Who Should Get More Enzymes?
Everyone, regardless of age or health.
If you’re 30 or older and feel fine, still get started. Remember that after 30, your body makes fewer enzymes.
If you’re on any sort of medication on an ongoing basis – particularly blood sugar pills, cholesterol medication, high blood pressure medication, or thyroid medication – your body is not functioning as it should. Increase your enzyme intake.
If you have food allergies or sensitivities, you need more digestive enzymes.
If you have symptoms after eating like bloating, burping, or fatigue, increase your enzyme consumption.
How to Boost Your Enzyme Intake
First, eat plenty of raw, uncooked, unprocessed food. Whole, raw foods that contain natural digestive enzymes include pineapple, papaya, avocado, Kiwi, ginger, raw honey, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi.
Second, with your meals, take a high quality enzyme supplement that has a variety of bioavailable enzymes. There are many different enzymes that might be in a supplement – so many that it can get confusing. Check out the ingredients in the product I personally and carefully created – Digestive Enzymes. I formulated this supplement with the 12 key enzymes that you need most. On the web page, I’ve listed each enzyme and what it does inside your body.
So, if you eat more raw, unprocessed foods and use a good digestive enzyme supplement, you should experience clear improvements in your gut health, nutrient absorption, energy levels, and all-round good health.
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