Understanding Digestive Enzymes

While most of us enjoy the pleasure of eating, it also serves a higher purpose. Foods we eat have value. Food provides energy and fuels the systems of the body with vital minerals and vitamins. Enzymes are the filters by which all the nutrients are extracted from food. Without enzymes food would go back out the way it came. Without enzymes food would have no value.

Unfortunately, as we age our bodies may begin to produce few digestive enzymes resulting in the passing of undigested foods. When this happens symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and cramping begin occur. Digestive complication are uncomfortable, painful and often embarrassing.

These are the digestive enzymes

  • Protease Responsible for breaking down proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids bonded by peptides. Protease break the peptides freeing the amino acids. We need amino acids to build muscle, tissue, organs, skin and hair.
  • Lactese This is the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar, called lactose. Lactose intolerance is common and can be alleviated by removing dairy from the diet or supplementing with lactese.
  • Lipase Lipase breaks down fat. Undigested fat is one of the biggest causes of abdominal discomfort. Without lipase the body will also miss out on fat soluble vitamins like, D,K, E and A.
  • Amylase Without amylase carbohydrates don't properly digest. Undigested carbs will begin to ferment which leads to unpleasant gas and bloating.
  • Cellulase Cellulase is not produced naturally in the body, but can be added via supplement. If you have trouble breaking down fiber, cellulase may be beneficial. If you experience gas and bloating after eating high fiber foods adding cellulase may help you pass those food more easily. Fiber is an essential nutrient and should not be avoided altogether, but it does not have to wreak havoc on your gut.

As you can see, there are a variety of different digestive enzymes and each one plays its own role. Enzymes are necessary when it comes to completing proper digestion. Without them, your body will miss out on important nutrients, which may down the road, cause more severe health problems. As mentioned, you will also experience unwanted, and uncomfortable, side effects.

If you regularly experience any of these symptoms how do you know if digestive enzymes are the culprit? The first step is trial by elimination. You have to figure out what foods, or kinds of foods, are triggering symptoms. For instance, refrain from eating dairy for two weeks. After two weeks, slowly incorporate it back into your diet. See what happens. If you do experience discomfort, try a supplement, see if that helps.

When it comes to figuring out your gut health, patience is a strength you are going to have to employ. Of course, if you have health concerns it is always wise to speak with an expert or your health care provider. Knowing your body and having adequate information to share will help speed up the process of what is wrong and how to fix it. Figuring out gut health can be complicated, but with perseverance and help, the complications can be managed and the aggravating symptoms can be treated.