Have you ever noticed despite eating well and getting exercise, you’re feeling a little sluggish, bloated, in pain, or just overall not feeling awesome?
It could be a cry for help from your gut!
And the culprit could be a lack of digestive enzymes. Your gut might not be getting all the help it needs to break down the nutrients in your food.
So What Are Digestive Enzymes?
By definition, digestive enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts.
Layman's terms: They are substances in your body's digestive system that breaks bigger things down into smaller things via chemical reactions.
And your digestive system is smart. It knows different foods break down differently.
So, it uses over 20 types of digestive enzymes, and a variety of methods, to deconstruct food into molecules that your body can absorb as nutrients. Each enzyme has one job: it deconstructs only one type of food molecule, like fats, carbohydrates, lactose, proteins, etc.
With age, increased stress, or poor nutrition, your body tends to slow enzyme production – and this means the food you eat doesn’t break down properly.
This is a problem for two reasons:
- First, it means you’re not going to get all the vitamins nutrients you should
- Second, it puts stress on your digestive tract, which can cause problems all over your body
It's all connected.
How Do I Get More Enzymes?
Supplements and raw whole food sources!
The great thing about digestive enzymes supplements is your body will still continue to create them on its own. This means you won’t be depending on them forever, just that the supplement-derived enzymes will give your body's natural digestion a boost when you need it.
Why Should I Take Digestive Enzymes?
There are plenty of reasons to make sure you’ve got your digestive enzymes on track, and if you’re low, a supplement is definitely a great idea.
So on that note, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 digestive enzyme benefits.
1. Better Nutrient Absorption
We just can’t emphasize it enough: Having the proper enzymes in their proper numbers means you’ll get more out of the food you eat!
All those fruits, veggies, and proteins you consume go to good use instead of just, well, sitting there in your gut (and making you gassy).
2. 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, these larger, undigested molecules can start to push and break through the cell walls, which in turn triggers your immune system to kick into gear to fight these “invaders.”
This can cause inflammation in your intestinal lining and elsewhere in your body. Not good.
3. Reduced IBS Symptoms
Another common side effect of food not being deconstructed properly is that the bacteria in your gut can begin to feed on it.
When this bacterium is overfed and overgrown, it can lead to bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and other typical IBS symptoms.
What’s more, diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can also be attributed to inflammation in your gut. Preliminary studies have shown that proper digestive enzymes can also help with food sensitivities and conditions like lactose intolerance.
4. Clearer Skin
When we said it’s all connected, we meant it. When you’re not getting the proper nutrients you need or experiencing inflammation inside your body, it can show up on your skin.
For example, fatty acids are a key component of healthy skin, and we get them from food! If your body isn’t getting enough inside, it’s going to show on the outside.
5. Hypochlorhydria Relief
Your stomach is where things start to get going in terms of digestion. Stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid, begins to break down proteins early in this process. It’s helped out later by pancreatic enzymes in your intestines, but if your hydrochloric acid levels are low (hypochlorhydria) then this throws everything else off.
Specifically, low hydrochloric acid levels can cause malabsorption of certain vitamins, like B12, which in turn can contribute to anemia (low iron levels) and symptoms of fatigue. Taking an enzyme supplement can help build up hydrochloric acid if you’re lacking.
6. Less Chronic Fatigue and Pain
Inflammation is often at the root of pain problems. Things like headaches and migraines can be linked to inflammation in your gut, which in turn can be linked to a lack of nutrients.
In particular, the pancreatic digestive enzyme amylase converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is a key molecule that our bodies use for energy. So if everything in your digestion in running smoothly, you’ll likely see a difference across the rest of your body as well.
7. Combats Anxiety
Neurotransmitters - things responsible for our moods, energy levels, and alertness – need proteins.
In fact, they need amino acids, which are created by the healthy digestion of proteins. If you’re not getting the right amount of protein or don’t have adequate enzymes to break down protein into amino acids, you’re likely in need of a boost.
Proper gut health can have a huge effect on anxiety and can help counter inflammation-born issues in your nervous system, like depression and sleep problems.
8. Better Mental Focus and Memory
When we think of things like serotonin and dopamine, we often think of our brains. But in reality, 90% of our serotonin is created in our digestive tract. If you’re feeling foggy, or need a productivity boost, start with your gut!
9. Inhibits Autoimmune Disease
When things like Leaky Gut Syndrome trigger autoimmune responses in the body, it can lead to even more serious problems.
While there’s a range of opinions on whether autoimmune disorders are curable, the fact remains that many things, like Celiac Disease, can be attributed to poor digestion.
At the very least, enzyme supplements can ensure that your body has the tools it needs for proper absorption of nutrients and minimizes the risk of inflammation.
10. Supports Methylation
Methylation is a biochemical process that refers to the vital cell division and production in our DNA. It’s what’s responsible for all kinds of responses in our bodies, everything from detoxification to inflammation control to energy production.
Our bodies use B vitamins for this process, so when our digestion is lacking, or when an overgrowth of bacteria is present in our digestive tract, this makes it harder for these vitamins to be absorbed.
The bottom line is that gut health = overall health, and the first step to gut health is making sure your body has the tools it needs. Digestive enzyme supplements can be a great way to kick-start your body into healing itself – because everybody needs a little help sometimes.