Digestive Enzymes already naturally exist within the body, in fact, without them, our body would not be able to break down foods or absorb any of the foods’ nutrients, but what exactly are they and why should we be using digestive enzyme supplements?
That is exactly what we are here to answer, first we will take a little deeper look into digestive enzymes and why they are so important and then we will look into what we can do to ensure they are as healthy as possible.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
In simple terms, digestive enzymes are proteins that aid in the digestion of food and help the body break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates; yet, this does not adequately describe exactly how beneficial they can be for our body.
Digestive enzymes are certainly an important part of our lives, but why are they frequently prescribed to aid with anything from pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and cystic fibrosis to digestive system concerns including celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome?
What Are Digestive Enzymes Used For?
The research around exactly what digestive enzymes can be used to help is not complete; however, healthcare providers are known to prescribe digestive enzymes and supplements for a range of different conditions.
Firstly, there are a range of digestive issues that can clearly be supported with digestive enzymes, such as lactose intolerance, and those who are missing specific enzymes, such as being unable to digest the sugars in beans. This works by introducing various enzymes that the body requires to properly digest the food and drink, such as lactase supplements to digest lactose or alpha-galactosidase which helps the body to digest the sugars in beans.
Alongside these more obvious issues, digestive enzymes have also been known to help with various others, ranging from types of cancer to arthritis.
Here you can see a complete list of illnesses and issues digestive enzymes can help with.
Types Of Digestive Enzymes
There are a large number of digestive enzymes, however, there are three recognised digestive enzyme classes, each of which is responsible for breaking down distinct types of macronutrients within human bodies.
Amylases. These digestive enzymes are mostly in charge of converting the complex carbs we ingest into simpler sugars like glucose.
Proteases. Digestive enzymes are enzymes that break down various proteins in the body so that we can process them as amino acids.
Lipases. Lipases, named from the Ancient Greek word Λίπoς (Lípos) for fat, are responsible for fat processing in human bodies. They break these fatty acids down into things like glycerol so that our bodies can properly digest them.
Are Enzyme Supplements Essential
Unless you have specific issues that can be improved by improving your digestive enzymes, then using digestive enzyme supplements might not be needed however, this doesn’t mean they can help you.
As digestive enzymes are a key component in your digestive process they can help even the most healthy people with a range of things that they may not have considered to be an issue such as the amount of nutrients they get from each meal, stool consistency, indigestion and supplements have even been known to help to aid weight loss and lower chances of diabetes.
If you are unsure whether or not you have issues which can be supported by enzyme supplements then this article has some useful information which can help you understand the symptoms that could be signs digestive enzyme supplements are needed.
Are There Any Down Sides or Side Effects
As digestive enzymes are something that the body needs and naturally produces it is very unlikely for you to have any side effects from taking supplement however, just as everything in life there are very low chances that you could be allergic to the supplement or something within the supplement such as the coating used to ensure it is digested at the right point.
Like with most medication it is better to take with a full stomach and as long as you follow this the only other risk you run, though very unlikely is constipation or diarrhoea and any other issues associated with constipation or diarrhoea (such as cramps and nausea).
Should You Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements?
Digestive enzymes are used to successfully treat a variety of medical disorders, although there is conflicting data on whether they are effective for some of these illnesses.
There is some indication that they assist persons with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Other research also suggests that they may also aid in the alleviation of cancer-related adverse effects, arthritic pain, and muscular tightness, not to mention there may even possibly be advantages for autistic children.
Because most research is limited and some studies have flaws, it is difficult to tell how beneficial digestive enzymes may be for various disorders, however there are definitely strong signs that we should be aiding our digestive enzymes as much as possible with very little downside.