What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are natural substances, more like proteins, that are found in all organisms, including plants, animals and humans. They help to facilitate all chemical reactions in the body. Without them, things would not work as well, and would move at a much slower pace. Digestive enzymes, specifically, aid in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients from the foods we eat.
Digestive enzymes work very well with stomach acid, in fact they are best friends. If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you will have trouble breaking down your foods, especially proteins.
Stomach acid, also protects you from certain bacteria’s that can sometimes cause stomach upset, bacterial infections, and chronic disease. Frequently, when individuals don’t have enough stomach acid, they take something called Betaine HCL, which is Hydrochloric acid. This ensures the breakdown of proteins into peptides, as well as breaking down amino acids and fats into triglycerides.
Types of Enzymes
Once you begin chewing your food, digestion begins, and the enzymes go to work. Amylase is found mainly in your saliva and helps break down carbohydrates. Next, food travels to your stomach and intestines to meet up with the rest of enzymes, lipase, protease, sucrase and lactase. Lipase is an enzyme that helps with the digestion of fats. The enzyme cellulase, aids in the breakdown of fiber. Sucrase digests mostly sugars. Protease is an enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins. Lactase breaks down lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products. Maltase converts sugars, from mostly grains, into glucose, and phytase, an overall, general digestive enzyme, also helps with B vitamin production. Without enough enzymes, you may experience bloating, cramping, belching, constipation and upset stomach. That’s why it is so important to see you doctor and get proper testing, especially when things don’t feel quite right.
Along with enzymes, you may need additional help from a few other inflammation fighting ingredients. Aloe, derived from the plant itself, contains naturally occurring plant sterols that inhibit inflammation. It has been known to soothe the digestive tract and modulate immune cells, as well. Bromelain, derived from the stems of pineapples, have been known to digest protein and reduce inflammation. Papain, taken from unripe papaya fruit, also aids in the breakdown of protein, has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Glutamine is your body’s most abundant amino acid and is vital for all protein synthesis. Glutamine has the ability to reinforce the gut lining and protect the immune system.
All together, these enzymes and nutrients are designed to assist with optimizing intestinal function. They have shown to be extremely beneficial in increasing the absorption and utilization of macronutrients. Overall, the best thing you can do is eat a healthy diet and chew your food thoroughly, and in a relaxed environment. After all, you are what you eat and digest.