Tummy troubles. We’ve all had them no matter what age you are. Bloating, gas and indigestion all keep us running to the colorful, chalky, bottles of short-term relief. If you have heard of the term, “digestive enzymes,” you may not really know much more than that they are supposed to help with tummy troubles. You may have even wondered if you should be using enzymes for digestion. Hopefully, this article will clear up any confusion and get you going on the right path.
“The Science and History Behind Enzymes for Digestion”
Our bodies absorb nutrients from food and when food is not digested properly, the nutrients aren’t fully broken into usable pieces. This can cause all those irritating and embarrassing troubles.
Your body sees the partially digested food as a threat and sends out its reinforcements. Now not only are you not reaping the benefits of your food, but your body is busy fighting off something it doesn’t need to be focusing its attack on. This leaves your immune system weakened for other intruders.
Back in the day, we only really ate raw foods. Raw foods come equipped with their own enzymes which help break down around half of the food we eat. Thus, our bodies are responsible for breaking down the other half.
Then we discovered fire and began to eat cooked foods. Cooking food actually, destroys those helpful enzymes. This is further compounded by all the processed foods we consume. Since processed foods have no live enzymes at all, that leaves 100 percent of the digestion process your body and stresses out your pancreas, immune system, and entire digestive system.
In summary, our bodies were meant to eat raw foods which helped do half the digestive work with their “on board” enzymes. We have, over time, adjusted our diets to include less natural enzymes and made it hard for our bodies to work like they were designed to.
“How to tell if Digestive Enzyme Supplements are for you”
You can, of course, get your stool tested. Not glamorous, I know. Fortunately, there are other symptoms to keep an eye out for:
• An overfull, bloated feeling after eating a meal
• The feeling that you’ve got food just sitting there in the pit of your stomach
• A feeling of being full too quickly
• Food that is not digested in your bowel movements
• Stools that float all the time
• A greasy film in the bowl after a bowel movement is a sign of undigested fat
“I Have Symptoms, Now What Do I Use to Help Fix it?”
Luckily, digestive enzymes are considered safe and they are relatively cheap to purchase. That makes it easy for you to try out and see if it helps.
The two supplements we recommend and use most often ourselves are Papaya and Bromelain. We have found these two to be so effective that even our children ask for them when they have an upset tummy.
“How Do Bromelain and Papaya Help?”
The papaya fruit contains a plethora of valuable proteolytic enzymes including papain, chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase making it a rich source to aid in digestion.
Bromelain comes from plants in the Bromeliaceae family such as pineapple. These supplements also contain helpful proteolytic enzymes including stem and fruit bromelain with stem being the more common source used commercially.
When food is not properly broken down, it hits our gut where it decomposes and produces stinky flatulence by means of bacteria. The proteolytic enzymes, like the ones found in papaya, can really help especially with the breakdown of proteins alleviating some of the stress placed on your pancreas.
The papain enzyme chops apart the complex protein bonds making them into smaller and more digestible amino acids. Adding some papaya to your meal can significantly help speed up the digestive process. It may also help break down other problem proteins like bread gluten and milk casein which seem to give many people trouble.
“How Are These Better Than Tums or Pepto Bismol?”
Well, in short, it has been proven that commercial antacids such as Tums and Pepto do not actually work. It has much of a placebo effect or has a short term effect that does nothing to counteract or improve the issue itself.
In fact, these antacids can sometimes cause something called acid rebound which worsens the situation with the overproduction of acid. Antacids also change the PH in your gut further creating an imbalance. You could even become dependent on the medication to constantly be needed to do something your body should be doing.
Enzymes, on the other hand, help reestablish the natural function of your body. It aids your digestive health and brings the workload back to the normal ratios that your body was meant to handle. They are a very vital component in your body.
With the addition of proteolytic enzymes to your diet through sources such as papaya and pineapple, you can help maintain a healthy digestive system and free up your immune system for more important assignments.