The phrase “you are what you eat” is only partially true. More accurately, you are what you digest. Additionally, you are what you eat and don’t eliminate, which infers the potential accumulation of toxins and waste products that your body cannot eliminate.
Digestive enzymes aren’t just beneficial – they are essential. Synthesized and secreted in different parts of the digestive tract, including the mouth, stomach and pancreas, they turn food into bioavailable compounds for nourishment and waste products for elimination from the body.
If the body is lacking specific enzymes, then malnutrition and inflammation may result and lead to degeneration, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
Do You Suffer Indigestion?
Simple symptoms of inadequate food digestion include:
Gas and bloating after meals (including belching, burping and farting)
The sensation of heaviness or food sitting in the stomach (a rock in your gut)
Feeling full after eating a few bites of food
Undigested food in the stool
An “oil slick” in the toilet bowl (undigested fat)
Not feeling good or feeling fatigue after eating
More complicated symptoms of inadequate food digestion include:
Cravings for certain foods
Heartburn, indigestion or burping
Hair that is thinning or falling out
Dry or lackluster skin
Trouble concentrating or brain fog
Arthritis or joint pain
Muscle weakness or feeling too tired to exercise
Mood swings, depression or irritability
Headaches or migraines
Antinutrients Destroy Enzymes
While Enzymes are critical for many bodily functions, antinutrients in many foods can harm/destroy enzymes. Learn more here: Food Toxins & Antinutrients
Improper Cooking Destroys Enzymes
Cooking above 117°F typically destroys enzymes. However, some foods release their enzymes when slightly cooked. For instance, slightly cooking carrots breaks down their tough cellular wall, and makes nutrients more available to the body. Learn more here: Cooking Can Decrease Toxins & Increase Nutrients
Nuts, Grains, Seeds, Beans and Legumes
Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes have built-in protection in the form of enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors prevent enzymes from being activated until soaked, germinated, or sprouted. Learn more here: Sprouting Activates Enzymes
Has Your Gall Bladder Been Removed?
Some women progressively gain weight following the removal of their gall bladder. For those who are having difficulty with fat metabolism, a Beta Plus formula with bile salts, lipase and other ingredients may be beneficial. Such a formula may be crucial for those who have no gall bladder. Beta Plus formulas support the liver’s production of bile to digest fats since the reservoir that stores bile, the gall bladder, is no longer present.
Do you know that those who have no gall bladder may plaque their arteries twice as fast, become obese or create fatty lipomas throughout the body if they do not adequately support their liver nutraceutically – for life?
Beta Plus formulas are available under many brand names. Your functional health professional can provide recommendations. Also, for those who have issues with “stones,” there are alpha ortho phos formulas that help the body to dissolve stones and unwanted calcium deposits.
Clogged Bile Ducts
Insufficient enzymes can be caused by congested bile ducts and pancreatic enzyme ducts. This is especially true with a diet high in processed foods, exposure to environmental toxins, or chronic stress. In some cases, ducts can be cleared.
Which Enzymes to Consider
Common enzymes include:
Amylase – for the metabolism of carbohydrates
Lipase – for the metabolism of fats
Protease – for the metabolism of proteins
Hydrochloric acid – for the metabolism of meats
Hydrochloric Acid and Acid Reflux
Meats require a substantial amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach to be digested.
Do you know that acid reflux and heartburn are actually signs that the stomach is lacking in acidity and that taking antacids is actually counter-productive in the long run?
Frequent acid reflux suggests the need to increase stomach acidity.
Learn more here:
When to Take Enzymes
When you take your enzymes is critical for proper metabolism. Ask your prescribing health professional for details. See this diagram explaining the digestive process and timing for digestive supplementation. For instance, it may be best to take your pancreatic enzymes 15-20 minutes before the first bite of a meal… and the hydrochloric acid formula ten minutes after the first bite, or halfway through the meal.
Do You Suffer Inflammation?
Inflammation can occur with the accumulation of toxins and waste products that are not being eliminated from the body. Some individuals use enzymes on an empty stomach before bed and/or in between meals to help rid the body of undigested food particles and dead/dying cells. In fact, this is recommended after events that traumatize tissue, i.e. contusion, surgery.
Undigested food particles and waste can contribute to inflammation, joint pain and arthritis, and excess weight, among other issues.
While doubling the meal dosage of a good mealtime enzyme formula at bedtime may work well, talk with your health professional about products. (The author has explored Wobenzym, New Chapter Ginger Force and Designs for Health Inflammatone, among others.)
To Learn More About Digestive Enzymes
To learn if and when you need supplementation and/or support, consider functional testing and recommendations from Functional Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, Functional Nutritionists, etc. These health professionals can help identify your unique food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, product recommendations, and the proper supplementation dosages for your body.
Learn more here:
The Importance of Enzymes for Health, Longevity and Chronic Disease Prevention
Digestive Enzymes – the Hidden Dangers
Enzymes: An Easy To Understand Guide On Digestive Enzymes And The Vital Functions They Perform In Your Body
Enzymes Special Report
Digestive Enzymes 101