2 common questions we get are: what are digestive enzymes and do I need to take them?
To answer, digestive enzymes are a group of enzymes that serve to break down our food into nutrients so that our bodies can absorb them. They are primarily produced in the pancreas and small intestine, and the nutrients that are broken down include different vitamins, minerals, amino acids (protein breakdown), fatty acids, cholesterol, and simple sugars. But, if we don’t have enough digestive enzymes, we can’t break down our food—which means even though we’re eating well, we aren’t absorbing all that good nutrition.
Common causes of digestive enzyme problems include diseases such as pancreatic problems, including cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, and acute or chronic pancreatitis. Other diseases include Crohn’s and Celiac disease. Besides disease, other problems such as low stomach acid, chronic stress, aging and low-grade inflammation in the digestive tract can affect the output of digestive enzymes.
So, should you be taking digestive enzymes? Besides the above health concerns, some other symptoms to watch for include:
– Gas or bloating after meals
– Feeling full after a few bites
– Undigested food in stool
– Floating stools (once in awhile is fine, but consistent is a sign something is wrong)
– Abdominal Pain
– Acid Reflux
Not only are digestive enzymes essential for a good digestive system, but they have many health benefits that support the rest of the body. Some benefits include:
Benefits of enzymes
– Essential for optimal nutrient absorption
– Improves immunity and the body’s own ability to fight off pathogens
– Aids in detoxification
– Improves transit time through the digestive tract
– Essential for proper digestion of nutrients from foods
– Aids in weight loss and management
– Helps rebuild and repair cells, tissues and maintain homeostasis
– Helps combat Candida
– Works with probiotics to restore proper friendly bacteria to unfriendly bacteria ratios
important for immune health.
So now that you know what digestive enzymes are, and whether or not you should take them, we have a couple more points worth discussing to help you on your digestive enzyme journey.
1. When should I take them?
The answer? The best time to take your enzymes is right before, or right as you start eating. But when in doubt, always check the label. Usually anywhere from 30 minutes to right before you eat is ideal.
2. How long do they take to start working?
The great thing about digestive enzymes is they only need food to work which means they will start to break down the food molecules as soon as they come into contact with them. You should feel the benefits within a few days!
3. How long should I take them?
It can take upwards of 6 months for your gut to regulate itself, so taking your supplements daily is recommended. But always listen to your body (and your doctor)!
We hope this information helps you and your body feel as great as it can, come visit us in store to pick up yours or give us a call at (780) 453-1313 for any more information.