Digestive Enzyme Supplements – to Enhance Elimination
Digestive enzyme supplements are a must have if you suffer from bouts of constipation or diarrhea on a regular basis. They are much easier to take than thick fiber crap you have to drink and are much healthier than laxatives.
Many people know the benefits of daily antioxidants, but not as many understand the benefits of consuming enzymes. Enzymes are the substances that make all life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that happens in your body. Without them, no activity at all would take place. You'd be dead. Neither minerals, hormones, nor vitamins can do any work without live, active enzymes.
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Sulfur compounds, which gives the cabbage family (cruciferous veggies) its distinctive odor, also contain an abundance of digestive enzymes, if consumed raw or slightly steamed. Simply consuming cabbage more often, (which is dirt cheap and delicious), can add many more digestive enzymes to your diet. However, eating cabbage everyday is not feasible for most people, especially if you eat out a lot because of work. That's what makes taking digestive enzyme supplements so great! They are like taking all the foods that help your digestion with you, without the hassle.
Digestive enzymes are typically found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some are found in pigments such as carotene (yellow-red), chlorophyll (green), anthocyanin (red-blue), proanthocyanidin (colorless) and flavonoid (colorless or yellow).
Why Are Enzymes Necessary?
Enzymes are basically energized protein molecules that are essential for:
Tissue, cell and organ repair
Digestion of food
Even though enzymes are catalysts for many biochemical reactions, they do not change or get consumed in the process.
There are three types of enzymes: metabolic, digestive, and food.
Digestive Enzymes and Your Diet
Digestive enzymes are secreted in the gastrointestinal tract and help break down the foods you eat. This enables the absorption of nutrients. Enzymes are present in all of the food you eat before cooking, which is why there is great importance placed upon having plenty of raw foods in your diet. The enzymes found in raw foods help start the process of digestion, which reduces the body's need to secret as many digestive enzymes.
Food enzymes are destroyed when cooking at moderate or high temperatures. They are completely killed by a dry-heat temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your body has to rely too much on its own digestive enzymes the result is more stress placed on your system and organs. That leaves less time and energy for other jobs such as rebuilding and replacing damaged cells and tissue and keeping your immune system strong. It's just another reason why you probably need to add digestive enzyme supplements to your diet!
A diet that consists mainly of cooked food requires your pancreas to work overtime and depletes supplies. If your pancreas has to produce enzymes, (that should naturally come from food), it will eventually stop working. When you eat an enzyme-depleted diet consisting of lots of cooked food or processed foods, the result is sickness, lowered resistance to stress, and a shortened life span. Eating raw foods and taking digestive enzyme supplements can help avoid decreases of your body's own enzymes.
In the book, The Healing Power of Enzymes, Dr. DicQue Fuller explains why enzymes are so essential:
"Eighty percent of our body’s energy is expended by the digestive process. If you are run down, under stress, living in a very hot or very cold climate, pregnant, or a frequent traveler, then enormous quantities of extra enzymes are required by your body. Because our entire system functions through enzymatic action, we must supplement our enzymes. Aging deprives us of our ability to produce necessary enzymes. The medical profession tells us that all disease is due to a lack or imbalance of enzymes. Our very lives are dependent upon them!"
The Importance of Digestive Enzymes
There are approximately 45 essential nutrients that the body needs to carry out normal bodily functions. Essential means that the body cannot manufacture them and they must come from outside sources.
There are at least 13 kinds of vitamins and 20 kinds of minerals, in addition to fats, carbohydrates, and water that are required for proper metabolic function. When food is consumed it gets broken down for absorption and transported by the blood stream.
Nutrients (including enzymes) work together, which means they cooperate with each other acting as catalysts. This promotes absorption and assimilation. The importance of digestive enzymes resides in the fact that your body cannot absorb nutrients in food unless digestive enzymes break them down.
Your body progressively loses its ability to produce enzymes with major drops occurring roughly every ten years of life.
At the beginning it may not be that noticeable however, later on you discover that you cannot tolerate or enjoy certain foods like you did in the past. This may also be accompanied by a feeling of reduced stamina. This means you’re running low on enzymes.
Are You Lacking Enzymes?
Heartburn, gas, constipation, bloating, allergies, ulcers, lack of energy and reduced functioning of the immune system may occur when there are not enough enzymes.
Digestive enzyme supplements have been shown to benefit people with:
- Yeast Infection
- Crohn's disease
Low back pain
Bananas, avocados, and mangoes are excellent food sources of digestive enzymes. Bananas left to ripen naturally, (before harvest), contain the most! In general, raw foods that have a higher calorie content are much richer in enzymes. Neither vitamins, minerals or hormones can do any work without enzymes.
Digestive Enzyme Inhibitors
There are some foods, seeds, and nuts that contain what are called enzyme inhibitors, which are present for the protection of the seed of a food. Nature doesn't want the seed to germinate prematurely and lose its life. It wants to make sure that the seed is present in soil with sufficient moisture to grow and continue the species. Therefore, when you eat raw seeds or raw nuts, you are swallowing enzyme inhibitors which will neutralize some of the enzymes your body produces. In fact, eating lots of foods with enzyme inhibitors can actually cause your pancreas to swell.
All nuts and seeds contain inhibitors, which is a real bummer. Raw peanuts contain an especially large amount, so if you have problems with constipation, don't consume large amounts of them. You can counteract the inhibitors by soaking the nuts in water. Raw pistachios and pine nuts must soak for two hours and raw walnuts and almonds must soak for eight hours.
Raw wheat germ is also one of the worst inhibitors. In addition, all peas, beans and lentils contain some inhibitors too. Potatoes, which are seeds, have enzyme inhibitors. In eggs, which are also seeds, the inhibitor is contained mainly in the egg white. As a general rule, enzyme inhibitors are confined to the seed portions of food. For instance, the eyes of potatoes. The inhibitors are not present in the fleshy portions of fruits or in the leaves and stems of vegetables.
There are a couple of ways to destroy enzyme inhibitors. Cooking is one way but it also destroys any active enzymes. Another way is sprouting. This destroys the enzyme inhibitors and increases the enzyme availability. Taking digestive enzyme supplements is the best way to neutralize enzyme inhibitors in unsprouted seeds and nuts.
Some foods, like soybeans, must be especially well heated to destroy the inhibitors. For example, many of the soy flours and powders on the market were not heated enough to destroy the inhibitors.
The most reliable solution is to take digestive enzymes. Most supplements instruct you to take from l to 3 capsules per meal. Of course, if you are eating all raw foods, then no enzymes are necessary for that meal.
If you buy capsules, they should be opened and sprinkled on food. Tablets should be chewed up with your meals if possible. (They taste pretty darn bad so I just swallow them:o) This allows the enzymes to go to work almost immediately anyway.
Concentrates of plant enzymes such as pineapple bromelain are better for pre-digestion of food than tablets of pancreatic enzymes. This is because plant enzymes work in the acidity of the stomach, whereas pancreatic enzymes work in the alkalinity of the small intestine. Still, either one of these supplements does help and is better than taking no supplements at all.
If the enzyme tablet has an enteric coating, then it's not suitable since it will only release after it has passed the stomach. By this time, it's too late for pre-digestion. By then, your body has already used its own enzymes to digest the food you've eaten.
Do people benefit from taking digestive enzyme supplements, even if they have no problem with digestion or if they eat mainly raw foods? Yes! Your body uses up enzymes in so many ways that it pays to maintain your enzyme pool, regardless of what you eat.
Enzymes are used up much quicker during certain illnesses, during extremely hot or cold weather, and during extreme exercise routines. Also, enzymes that are taken are not wasted since they add to the enzyme pool in your body. As you age, enzymes as a whole (including the ones that are excreted from sweat and urine) continues to decline. Low enzyme levels are associated with old age and chronic disease.
Digestive Enzyme Supplements
It's important to understand that pH levels vary from the colon to the small intestine to the stomach. As a result, digestive enzyme supplements need to be manufactured in a way that enzymes are not destroyed while they travel through your digestive tract.
Good Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Provide many digestive enzymes, which may contain some or all of the following: Protease, Lactobacillus Acidopholus, Bromelain, Amylase, Pancreatin, Malt Diastase, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Phytase, Pectinase, Betaine Hydrochloride, Ox Bile, and others.
Aid in the digestion of protein, carbohydrates, fats, dairy products, and other difficult-to-digest foods.
Are 100 percent vegetarian.
Made with all-natural ingredients.
Benefits of Digestive Enzymes
Improved sense of well being
Stronger nails and lustrous hair
A sharper and clearer mind
Lower cholesterol levels
A stronger heart
Reduction or elimination of some allergies
How Digestive Enzyme Supplements Work
Boosts Energy - One of your gut bacteria's favorite foods are fibers from plant food (which we can't digest). Healthy bacteria transform fiber into the fatty acid butyrate, which gets burned as fuel by your colon cells. It also helps to decrease the growth of colon cancer cells.
Boosts Immunity - 70 percent of your body's immunity lies in your intestinal tract. Supplying beneficial bacteria keeps it active and fit so that when a serious bacterial invasion takes place, it's ready to defend and defeat.
Dairy Aid - Lactobacillus bacteria have been shown to help you digest lactose found in dairy products.
Heavy-Metal Detoxifyer - Bacteria bind to heavy metals in your colon. Instead of these poisons going to your heart and brain, they vanish with your next bathroom visit.
Improved Skin Health and Decreased Allergies - By altering your gut's immune system, enzymes can significantly help with eczema and allergies.
Most people don't necessarily have to take digestive enzyme supplements every day. If you can, follow a strict regimen for at least 60 days. After that once every couple of days, or whenever you eat meat or when your stomach feels upset. You should also increase eating probiotic-rich, fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso.
If you ever have food poisoning with diarrhea, taking probiotics continuously every hour, can give very rapid relief. Many people have found this completely cures intestinal infections in a matter of hours.
Taking digestive enzyme supplements is really a no brainer! The best supplements contain at least 2 - 10 billion active cultures per serving size. You can even buy digestive enzyme supplements for your animals too. (Colostrum worked wonders for my older dog Ruff when he developed poop issues.) These are particularly helpful for small dogs and/or older cats, who have problems with constipation or have indigestion.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
Related Pages on This Site
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Avoid Digestive Problems by Eating Right!
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Digestive Enzymes
The Type of Food that Will Slow Nearly EVERY Inflammatory Disease
Raw Nuts & Seeds High in Enzymes
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