Irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems can interfere with your quality of life and can be very uncomfortable. By taking digestive enzymes and increasing stomach acid, your food will be carried throughout the body and get absorbed into the bloodstream much easier as it will then be broken down into small enough pieces to digest properly. When proteins, carbohydrates and fats are broken down properly, it might relieve symptoms of IBS and promote a healthy digestive system. Click here to read more about what digestive enzymes would work best for your unique body.

Why Use Digestive Enzymes?

Even though the liver, stomach, salivary glands, the small intestine and the pancreas should produce digestive enzymes, there are still many people who suffer from IBS. Doctors often suggest lifestyle changes such as removing trigger foods from the diet, reducing stress and exercising more often to get your digestive system to work properly again. But often, none of these lifestyle interventions work and then doctors might suggest other treatment options. It’s quite surprising that many illnesses are linked to the lack of digestive enzymes and nutrient malabsorption. This means that even though you might have a perfect diet, the necessary nutrients might not be absorbed if enzymes are lacking. This could, therefore, result in illness and poor health.

What Exactly Are Their Role?

Macronutrients get broken down into small enough molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and boost metabolism. Micronutrients also get transported and released into the bloodstream. Digestive enzymes are, therefore, not only beneficial but essential. They can break down food into nucleic acids, simple sugars, fatty acids and amino acids.

Secretions and mechanisms get fired off when you start chewing and are explained in the following steps:  

  • The first enzyme to assist with the breaking down of food is called salivary amylase. Even after the food has entered the stomach, this process still continues.
  • The stomach’s parietal cells then get triggered to release gastric amylase, pepsin and acids. This degrades the food into chyme (semifluid mass of half-digested food).
  • After about an hour, the chyme gets propelled into the upper small intestine, where the the hormone secretin is released.
  • The pancreas then gets notified to release enzymes, bile hormones and bicarbonate.
  • The acidity of the chyme then gets changed from acidic to alkaline. This allows the enzymes to degrade the food.

Who Should Use Digestive Enzymes?

If you don’t have any digestive concerns, it might not be necessary for you to take any supplements, although, a little bit of extra help probably won’t hurt. If you have any of the following health conditions, it might be a good idea to supplement:

  • If you have IBS, constipation, diarrhea, malabsorption, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, bloating, gas and acid reflux, enzymes can take the stress off the small intestine, gallbladder, liver, pancreas and stomach by breaking down fats, starches and proteins which are difficult to digest.
  • The acidity of our stomach acid becomes more and more alkaline as we age. This means that when the chyme enters the intestine, the signal to secrete the hormones and enzymes is not given which prevents the secretions of the pancreas from releasing. Many digestive problems result from either an enzyme efficiency or low stomach acid and this could also cause acid reflux.
  • If you have too little stomach acid (also called hypochlorhydria), your body won’t be able to release nutrients, vitamins and minerals when breaking down food. This will result in a nutritional insufficiency.

How Do You Know Whether You Have An Enzyme Insufficiency?

  • If your stool floats and is pale, it is an indication that pancreatic enzymes are not functioning as they should. Fatty or greasy deposits could also be another indication.
  • You may have enzyme insufficiency if you have gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, stomach distention, indigestion and flatulence.

How Can I Increase My Stomach Acid?

By taking digestive enzymes and increasing your stomach acid, the chance is good that your unwanted symptoms will be relieved. Increase your stomach acid by eliminating sugar, adding fermented drinks and foods to your diet, such as cultured vegetables, kefir and spirulina and by eliminating processed foods. You will notice that you’ll have improved energy, less indigestion and heartburn relief.