Digestive Enzymes: Keys to Digestive Health

Digestive Enzymes
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Good digestion is fundamental to overall health. Even if we are eating a “perfect” diet, without proper digestion, we are not absorbing the nutrients and will not benefit from all that great food. Key signs that our food is not being well digested include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and reflux or heartburn as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which may indicate absorption issues.

The Essential Role of Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes play an essential role in digestion by breaking down complex, large food molecules into smaller particles, which can be absorbed by the body. Different enzymes are produced at different stages throughout the digestive process, and carbohydrates, fats and proteins are each broken down by different enzymes at different places along the digestive tract.

Different Enzymes Break Down Carbs, Protein & Fats

Carbohydrate breakdown begins in the mouth with amylase in the saliva and then, bypassing the stomach, continues in the small intestine with amylase enzymes produced by the pancreas. Protein, on the other hand, is primarily digested in the stomach, through the action of hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen. Lipase from the pancreas and bile, created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder digest the fats in our diet. 

Do You Need Enzyme Support?

There are several reasons why our own digestive enzymes may not be working adequately and may need supplemental support. Our natural production of digestive enzyme declines as we age and a diet low in raw foods and/or high in cooked and processed foods will inhibit enzyme production. If our diet lacks the necessary precursors to enzyme production, we may need to supplement to get our production up to speed again.

Fortunately, supplementation is a simple way to support your digestion and increase your digestive enzyme production, which is one of the reasons we include digestive enzymes in our Cleanse.  For many people, the digestive enzymes taken during the Cleanse, in conjunction with the whole foods diet, serve to kickstart their own production of digestive enzymes following the Cleanse. For others, a month or two on digestive enzymes is all that is needed to restore the body’s own ability to make adequate enzymes. Digestive Enzymes are often a simple solution to digestive distress and supporting overall health!

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