The most common reasons why people use digestive enzymes supplements are because of symptoms experienced in the digestive system. This includes constipation, gas and bloating, heartburn, acid reflux and food allergies or food intolerances.
It’s quite unpleasant to have these symptoms during the day. Constipation gives you an uneasy feeling and a feeling of fullness in the abdominal area. Have you noticed it can make you cranky, too?
Gas gives you the feeling of pressure in the abdomen. Bloating is a result of gas already in the digestive system. The passing of gas can be socially inappropriate, leading you to ‘hold it in’ which complicates the matter even more. Trapped gas can be enough to stop the normal peristalsis, or movement of food through the digestive system.
Heartburn and acid reflux result when the valve between the stomach gets weakened and stomach digestive juices enter the esophagus. You feel a burning sensation from the acidic nature of these digestive acids.
Food allergies and food intolerances occur when foods that are eaten are not broken down sufficiently by the enzymes in the digestive tract. Large particles of food can pass into the bloodstream and cause allergy reactions as the body recognizes them as a foreign substance.
How could someone experience benefits from digestive enzymes if they have any of these symptoms? The answer is explained by physiology. Digestive enzymes are naturally produced in the body. Below is a chart of what enzymes are produced in different parts of the digestive tract.
Part of the Digestive Tract Enzymes Produced
Small Intestine Additional enzymes
Whenever you overeat, it overwhelms the capacity of the digestive enzymes. Instead of digesting a few cups of food, and having all the foods totally digested, eating one and a half to two times this amount of food uses up the digestive enzymes, leaving undigested foods. These undigested food particles pass through the system and contribute to food intolerances, food allergies, gas, bloating, constipation, and heartburn / acid reflux.
All enzymes in the body are made as a result of the natural function of the cells. The cells are programmed to make the enzymes. However, different enzymes in the body are also made as a result of demand. For example, if you only eat protein foods – something not recommended – the enzymes that digest protein would be increased, attempting to meet the demands.
If you eat only carbohydrate foods – something not recommended – the digestive enzymes that digest carbohydrates would increase as a result of the demand. The same thing happens with fat and digestive enzymes that break down fat.
The process takes time to occur because the expression of the genes to make the digestive enzymes are activated, up to several days. However, if you continue eating large amounts of food, this will act as a stimulus for greater production of the enzymes. The problem with this is that most people don’t consistently eat large amounts of food and the digestive enzymes are not available when needed.
By providing the body with additional enzymes in the form of supplements, taken at meals, you can bypass problems that result in the body when excess food is not digested.