There’s a lot of talk of supplements that can help you lose weight, but that have a ton of negative side effects, especially when taken longterm.
But what if I told you that you could take a supplement that helped your body create the enzymes you are naturally meant to produce? Our bodies will eventually stop producing as many healthy enzymes as we were once able to produce as young spring chickens, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your weight-loss goals or on feeling and looking healthier!
Digestive enzymes basically give you a little boost to help you absorb the most of your nutritious food, so let’s find out how it does just that!
What is it?
The Digestive System is extremely complex. More complex now than it ever was, since we now know more about what our bodies can tolerate and what they cannot, especially since the introduction of the Agricultural industry. With pre-packaged foods, the need for convenience and immediate reward, and more and more health complications comes more research regarding the digestive system and how it helps us break down, absorb, and utilize the nutritents we consume.
Let’s not waste any time… we’re here to figure out if we may need a Digestive Enzyme, which means that we may be lacking in natural enzymes. This could be for a number of reasons.
Some metabolic disorders are often the result of not having enough of specific enzymes and some of these genes can be inherited.
Common enzyme imbalances include:
- Crohn’s disease: an imbalance in your gut microbiome, which could lead to an autoimmune response of the instestinal tract.
- Lactose Intolerance: shortage of the enzyme needed to digest sugars in milk or dairy.
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI): when your pancreas doesn’t have enought digestive enzymes, meaning you can’t break down food/absorb nutrients.
How does it work?
Enzymes! They’re so important to the digestion of our food. But also simple, everyday things like breathing, building muscle, nerve function, and ridding our boddies of toxins.
We’re going to dive deeper into Digestion, the process of turning the food we eat into energy.
Enzymes are a type of protein found within a cell, such as in our saliva, pancreas, intestines, and stomach. They help to break down macronutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Enzymes help speed up chemical reactions by reducing the amount of energy needed to start the reaction.
There are thousands of enzymes in the body, but some of the most common are as follows:
- Carbohydrase: breaks down into carbohydrates into sugars
- Lipase: breaks down fats into fatty acids
- Protease: breaks down protein into amino acids
- Sucrase: breaks down sugar known as sucrose
- Lactase: breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk products
Digestive Enzymes are used when the pancreas cannot make or does not release enough digestive enzymes into the gut to digest your food. Depending on the amount of enzymes in your product, it may be used for indigestion, as a supplement, or as replacement therapy.
They may be a good fit for you, whether you take 3 a day (one before every meal), or 3 a week when you eat something particularly hard to digest (oily, greasy, fatty, etc.). Read on to find out if they’re right for you!
Who would benefit from a Digestive Enzyme?
Many people without chronic health conditions can typically get the enzymes they need from a healthy diet. However, we’re noticing that about 80% of U.S. adults aren’t eating enough fruits, veggies, or whole grains*.
Many Americans are confused as to what a healthy diet even constitutes, and that’s no surprise, seeing as everyone and their mother is touting a new fad diet every month.
Let’s say you are eating healthy. Even with a diet full of fruits and veggies, you may not be able to break down all your meals, especially if you’d like to enjoy a burger or fried chicken from time to time. It can definitely be a surprise to your digestive system.
If you aren’t sure if you need to take a Digestive Enzyme, ask a medical professional!
This is not something an online google search will necessarily be able to answer for you. If you have any of the health conditions stated in the first paragraph (Crohns, Lactose intolerance, and Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency), your doctor may recommend a digestive enzyme specific to your needs!
To better understand if you have an enzyme-producing problem, you’ll have to get a blood test.
Some may complain of the following before they realize they need a Digestive Enzyme*:
- Abdominal pain.
- Bloating or gas.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Low red blood counts (anemia).
- Gastrointestinal bleeding.
Will taking a Digestive Enzyme cure you of these ailments? Not necessarily. Remember, you still need to be eating a pretty healthy diet (80/20) and taking the digestive enzyme before your meals to make sure you break down the food and absorb it properly.
How to incorporate it into your life?
I personally do not feel the need to take a digestive enzyme every day as I eat a plant-based diet that my body seems to really thrive off of! I also consult a family physician and Naturopath to make sure that my blood and gut tests come up looking healthy. Should that ever change, I would consider taking a Digestive before every meal!
That being said, I am no stranger to digestive enzymes…
I specifically like the NutraChamps Digestive Enzymes because they taste nice and minty and don’t leave me with any side effects at all. They’re super easy to carry around with me while travelling or at a restaurant.
I will take a Digestive right before a meal with a glass of water. This kind of digestive enzyme is great for those who just need a bit of assistance breaking down certain foods and want to make sure they absorb all the nutrients possible. It’s a one-size-fits-all kind of digestive enzyme, as it contains an Advanced Enzyme System.
Instead of pooping out your precious supplements, NutraChamps Advanced Enzyme System has all the foundational enzymes your belly needs to soak ‘em up. Per Serving: 350mg Advanced 10-Enzyme System (Amylase, Glucoamylase, Lipase, Lactase, Protease, Invertase, Maltase, Cellulase, Alpha-Galactosidase, Pectinase).
You’ll also find Bromelain in this one: “Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples that’s used to treat everything from indigestion to allergies. Doctors even prescribe it to help absorb drugs and antibiotics, but you can use it to digest that juicy steak.”
There’s also Papain, which has even stronger anti-inflammatory effects than bromelain, and together they make a dynamic duo that your digestion dreams of.
I especially love that they’ve included Pre- and Probiotics in this blend. “Probiotics are “good” gut bacteria that help line the digestive tract, improve digestion, and fight off bacteria. They also help you maintain a healthy weight, so if you’re trying to carve out that sexy beach bod, bottoms up! Our Prebiotic & Probiotic Complex has you covered.”
Let me know if you have found other great Digestive Enzymes that me or any of our readers may want to check out!
Even though they seem to be the perfect supplement for those of us who want to have our cake and eat it too, there are some side effects you should be aware of.
- abdominal cramping
- neck pain
- nasal congestion
- swelling of the legs and feet
- and more.
Consult a doctor is you experience any of these side effects so that you can be given a different product. These are pretty rare, but it’s better to know before trying out a new product, just in case!
Again, not everyone will experience these side effects, but if you do, it could mean you need to change up your supplement or get a product that is enzyme-specific. For example, if you are lactose-intolerant, you may just need a supplement that targets lactaste, rather than an all-in-one capsule.
There’s a lot to take in and absorb here… literally and figuratively!
In the end, you know your body best. Some digestive enzymes may not be right for you, but you can keep looking until you find the right one.
In the meantime, there are tons of products on the market that help with digestion:
- Teas containing peppermint, ginger, dandelion root, chamomile, licorice root, fennel, and other herbs.
- Chia seeds
- Papaya and Pineapple
- Whole grains
Try these beverages and foods and see if your digestion improves at all. If not, it may be time to try out a digestive enzyme!
Let me know if you’ve had a positive or negative experience digesting or properly absorbing your food. Have you found anything that has helped?