Wellness Wednesday- Digestive Enzymes
The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is only half true. You are also what you digest and absorb- and digestive enzymes are essential for better digestion and an increase in nutrient absorption.
What are digestive enzymes?
The human body produces digestive enzymes for the purpose of digesting food. These enzymes are primarily produced in the pancreas, small intestine and saliva, and they break down the food we eat into nutrients so that our body can absorb them. 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.
What are symptoms of low digestive enzyme secretion?
-Undigested food in stools
-Feeling full after eating a small meal
What are the benefits of taking digestive enzymes?
-Assists with the breakdown of hard to digest proteins such as gluten, lactose and casein
-Helps with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients essential to our health and wellbeing
-Helps to repair the gut lining by reducing inflammation
-Improves symptoms of bloating, gas and discomfort
-Enhances nutrient absorption
What kind of digestive enzymes should I take?
There are 3 sources of digestive enzymes
1) Fruit based (usually contain pineapple or papaya)
2) Animal based (containing pancreatin)
3) Plant based (from probiotics, yeast and fungi)
-Look for a high quality full spectrum supplement containing multiple enzymes. Look for proteases, lipase and amylase to help you break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. For brands that Nurse Fiona recommends, see link in bio for blog
-As with all supplements, check your ingredients. If it doesn’t say “contains no: sugar, salt, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives,” you need to assume that it does.
-Nurse Fiona recommends the below high quality enzymes. One is in capsule form and one is an elixir that you can mix with water
Capsules- ‘Terra Nova’ Digestive Enzyme Complex
Elixir- Viridian Digestive Elixir
When should I take my digestive enzymes?
-These should be taken with or before food (30 minutes before food can be beneficial). If you have a high quality digestive enzyme, 1-2 capsules before or during food should be sufficient
-Nurse Fiona recommends taking digestive enzymes before a big meal or before consuming foods containing a high amount of gluten or dairy to aid with the digestion and absorption of these proteins.