Love dairy but annoyed that it doesn’t love you back? Not sure that tempting dish on the menu is truly gluten-free? Need help digesting the fat in your ketogenic diet? Welcome to my revolutionary approach for proper digestion: Go broad, not deep. Select the suite of enzymes you need for what you choose to eat. If you suffer with occasional bloating, gas or other digestive concerns after eating, especially the foods you enjoy most, you’re not alone.
Are occasional digestive complaints keeping you from enjoying the healthy foods you desire?
According to a recent national survey of 2,000 adults, 74 percent of Americans exhibit common digestive symptoms. And then there are sensitivities to specific foods…
While a U.K. study found that gluten sensitivity may affect as much as 13 percent of its population, Americans report the highest numbers anywhere. A whopping 30 percent in one recent study say they avoid gluten because they believe they are sensitive to the protein.
Lactose intolerance is another food sensitivity that affects a large number of people. Approximately 65 percent of the world’s population has a reduced ability to digest lactose in dairy.
As if experiencing occasional gut discomfort isn’t bad enough, the ill effects of food intolerances go even further.
Bloating, excess gas and other digestive concerns may be telling you your body can’t break down the food you eat and properly absorb nutrients.
I believe, in many cases, this doesn’t need to happen. By adding digestive enzymes that your body may be lacking, you may be able to help ease occasional complaints and more fully reap the benefits of the nutrients in your food.
The Role Digestive Enzymes Play When You Eat a Meal
Digestive enzymes start flowing in anticipation of eating. Your digestive process starts in your mouth, even before you take that first bite of food, and continues in your stomach and small intestine.
Here’s how the three main groups of digestive enzymes help break down the components of your meal:
• Carbohydrases are enzymes that break down carbohydrates such as starches, sugars and cellulose into more easily absorbed sugar molecules. These include amylase, lactase, cellulose, and Beta-glucanase.
• Proteases are enzymes that break down intact protein molecules into individual amino acids for proper absorption. Examples of proteases are pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, and peptidase.
• Lipases are enzymes that break down fats into easily absorbable fatty acid and glycerol molecules. Bile aids the actions of lipases by breaking the fat into small droplets. Lipases break down triglycerides, support gall bladder function, and improve fat utilisation in your body.
Once enzymes break down these macronutrients, the smaller molecules enter your bloodstream and play an important role in fuelling your body, boosting your metabolism, and even making your cells’ DNA.
Your body naturally produces enzymes to help digest foods.
If My Body Makes Its Own Digestive Enzymes, Why Do I Need enzyme supplements?
We have to be prepared to step to the side so they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe – even when they make mistakes.
As you age, your body produces fewer digestive enzymes.
However there are many factors which can contribute to digestive enzyme deficiency, or a state in which your body doesn’t produce enough of its own enzymes to properly digest food.
A shortage of enzymes can be especially bproblematic when you eat a meal heavily loaded with carbs or fats or proteins.
Three of the biggest factors that decrease your body’s enzyme production include:
• Ageing, which can lead to reduced enzyme production
• Leaky gut due to impairment of the lining of your small intestine
• Inflammation from toxins, stress, and food sensitivities
Your natural enzyme production starts to decline at around age 20. By age 40, your production of enzymes drops about 25 percent from that of your earlier years, and you could be producing as little as a third of the enzymes you need by age 70.
A leaky, damaged gut and an inflamed gastrointestinal tract can also cause an enzyme deficiency. When your gut lining wall becomes irritated or damaged (glyphosate is a potent gut destroyer), your production of enzymes can be impacted.
And when you don’t produce enough digestive enzymes – and you’re not taking a digestive supplement with meals – you run the risk of depleting your body’s production of metabolic enzymes. That’s not a good thing as every cell in your body requires enzymes to function.
For optimal digestion, you also need a highly acidic environment in your stomach. Pepsin and hydrochloric acid (HCl) help create this acidity. When you are young, your body produces enough of both to adequately digest your food.
As you age, your stomach acid levels drop. That can affect your digestion and lead to some of the uncomfortable symptoms we talked about earlier.
So ageing impacts your digestion in two ways: lower digestive enzyme production and lower stomach acid levels.
Don’t Make a Bad Situation Worse. Maintain Your Stomach’s Acidic Environment for Optimal Digestion
If you make the mistake that many people do, and take antacids for what you believe is heartburn or acid reflux, you can actually make the situation much worse. Antacids do what they’re supposed to – they lower acid levels in your stomach!
Instead, do all you can to help maintain a healthy acidic stomach environment for optimal digestion, and take a digestive enzyme. This approach can help ease the contributing factors to acid indigestion.
Vitamin B12 is one nutrient that’s especially impacted by low acidic levels. This essential vitamin, one that many people, (and again, especially older individuals) may be deficient in, can only be absorbed when you have sufficient stomach acid.
Antacids cause stomach acid levels to drop even further and can have serious negative side effects.
Enzymes, Betaine HCl, and probiotics can help maintain an acidic environment to aid your digestion…*
• Digestive enzymes help break down your food
• Betaine HCl increases stomach acid to ensure complete digestion of proteins and fats, as well as absorption of amino acids
• Probiotics like acidophilus create lactic acid to help you maintain an acidic environment in your small intestine
Apple cider vinegar is an excellent way to boost acidity. Taken with your meal, such as on a salad, it helps acidify your stomach and improve digestion.
For all these reasons and more, I believe there’s value in adding enzymes to your daily regimen. But not just any digestive enzyme supplement.
The Problems With Today’s Digestive Enzyme Formulas
There’s a popular trend today with digestive enzymes, and I believe it’s misguided for several reasons.
First, the makers of digestive enzymes assume that everyone needs the same dose and the same enzymes.
Most likely you don’t eat exactly the same way as your best friend or your neighbour. And your body certainly works differently. Maybe you have food sensitivities that your friend or neighbour doesn’t.
So why would you want to take the same digestive enzyme formula as them and everyone else?
You are unique, and so are your digestive enzyme needs.
Your body is unique, and so are your digestive enzyme needs
The second problem with many of today’s enzyme formulas is that they contain too high levels of specific enzymes. The majority of manufacturers formulate their enzymes on the premise of “the more, the better.”
That misguided theory doesn’t apply to digestive enzymes. For enzymes to work, they must come in contact with food. Once you have the optimal amount of enzymes that your body needs to digest the food that’s there, the rest is wasted.
So I believe an enzyme formula should be broad-based. That is, you want a wide variety of enzymatic activity.
As I mentioned earlier, enzymes are substrate specific. That is, each type of enzyme breaks down a very specific type of food. For example, Lipase breaks down fat while Pectinase breaks down pectins found in fruits and vegetables.
A small assortment of enzyme types just doesn’t get the job done. You want a broad array of different types of enzymes in the formula to break down a variety of foods.
As I said, you want to go broad, not deep. Don’t be misled by claims of excessively high doses of enzymes. You want optimal effectiveness without waste.
Let’s take a closer look at why that matters…
Why You Want to ‘Go Broad, Not Deep’ When It Comes to Digestive Enzymes
You have a wide variety of enzymes that work together to:
• Break down food molecules to a digestible size for absorption in the small intestine
• Digest carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet
• Assist in the proper absorption of nutrients
Whatever your body can’t break down into an absorbable size will be excreted as waste.
If you’re like the many people whose enzyme levels have decreased or become depleted, you may not be able to break down food adequately and benefit from their nutrients.
You need a wide range of enzymes to properly digest your food – and don’t expect to get the enzymes you need from your food anymore. Unless you are eating a predominately raw diet, your food is mostly enzyme-deficient, and processing and cooking at temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit renders most naturally occurring enzymes inactive.
Supplementing your body’s enzyme production can help with the essential tasks of breaking down food molecules, digestion and absorption. At the same time, supplemental enzymes can help reduce minor discomfort and occasional bloating, and that bogged-down feeling you sometimes get after a big meal!
*This is an edited version of the full article which you can read on the below website.