Why are digestive enzymes important?
I am as passionate about digestive enzymes as I am about Naturopathy as a whole. Unfortunately, many people have not even heard of them. Firstly, keep in mind that I would recommend digestive enzymes to most people before a multi-vitamin. Digestive enzymes assist you to receive more nutrients from your food. We are a society of ever increasing digestive issues…. So we need to listen to our bodies and treat the cause and not just the symptoms.
Digestive enzymes in our body, break down food particles for storage in the liver or muscles. This, stored energy, is later converted by other enzymes for use by the body when necessary. We all know we have enzymes in our saliva but we also have enzymes that are formed in our pancreas and intestines. We have enzymes to break down protein, starches and fatty acids.
Many of us eat meals that contain protein, starched and fatty acids, such as the good old Aussie roast dinner or steak – potatoes, vegetables and gravy etc. Over time our enzymes can become exhausted due to us constantly combining these three different food types. When our enzymes become exhausted we are unable to digest our food correctly. If you are only digesting half of your food correctly then you are only receiving half the nutrients out of that food.
Undigested food sits in the bowel pockets and ferments and turns into acid and can convert to uric acid and sit on the joints. Undigested food also leads to food sitting in our intestines in larger molecules which leads to constipations, increases in food intolerances and food allergies, indigestion, reflux, flatulence, bloating, acidic systems, tiredness (your body takes your energy away while it is trying to digest the food) and a whole range of other health issues. Many of the digestive are then treated with anti-acids, laxatives etc.
In an ideal world, we would all change our diet and eat either, a protein, starch or fatty acid in each meal. But who is going to give up their roast potatoes with their roast lamb? Believe me, not many people will. This is where we can supplement with a digestive enzyme during these meals to assist with the body to break down the food. The best thing is, if you do this for a period of time, your bodies Digestive Enzymes are able to have a rest and will restore and then work better. So, most people won’t have to keep supplementing with the digestive enzymes forever.
You may, however, choose to keep a bottle in the house for those times when you say “I am soooo full and I shouldn’t have eaten all of that” or “I knew that bread makes me bloated, so why did I eat it?” You can then have a Digestive Enzyme to allow your body to break down the food quicker so you are less likely to be bloated and increasing your risk of building up a food allergy or intolerance and acid.
There is also research to show that proteolytic enzymes can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. References for this statement are available upon request.
If you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, please consult with your GP, pharmacist or qualified naturopath before self-prescribing.
Please note that not all Digestive Enzymes at a retail level will be suitable for all people. I have done a lot of research of Digestive Enzyme supplements and find that only particular ones work effectively.
(Disclaimer: This article does not replace medical advice)