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Digestive Enzymes

Updated on January 22, 2009

Why supplement digestive enzymes?

A common question that I get asked in my job as a holistic nutritional counselor is, “If my body makes my own digestive enzymes, why should I supplement them?”  My response is that unless you are eating approximately 90% raw foods that are rich in food enzymes than you should consider taking digestive enzyme capsules with your food.  Unfortunately, most of us do not eat such a healthy diet; instead we eat what is called the Standard American Diet which is appropriately nicknamed S.A.D.

When we eat, our food will basically sit in our stomach for 30-45 minutes with little digestion happening before it makes its way through the duodenum.  Very little digestion happens in sthe stomach because we lack the enzymes that should naturally be found in our food but is killed during cooking and processing.  Taking a balanced, broad spectrum digestion enzyme does wonders for increasing the digestion in the stomach which in turn greatly helps with nutrient absorption and the metabolism of foods.

For the average person 60-80% of our energy is used in the digestive process.  Taking a digestive enzyme supplement will greatly reduce the burden on the pancreas and the entire digestive process by helping to break food down into smaller and smaller molecules until they are easily absorbed and metabolized. 

Digestive enzymes greatly increase our overall energy.  Many report that when they eat they feel full, bloated, or sluggish.  After taking enzymes these same people say they have energy and are not stuck in the food coma like they were in the past after meals.

Many nutritionists adhere to a belief that each of us has a specific “enzyme potential” that will eventually be exhausted.  When the enzymes are exhausted, we die. 

Our bodies make two kinds of enzymes, metabolic, and digestive.  The digestive digest foods, and the metabolic deal with numerous body processes such as tissue repair.

When we eat foods that lack enzymes without taking digestive enzymes, our bodies will leach the resources that should go to metabolic enzymes and use them to create digestive enzymes.  Supplementing digestive enzymes helps to keep the body younger by allowing the metabolic enzymes to properly do their jobs.

So if you are not eating a healthy, balanced diet that consists of 80-90% raw foods, than you should be taking a digestive enzyme.

The health benefits that people who supplement digestive enzymes report are improvements to such conditions as heartburn, indigestion, gerd, diarrhea, constipation, diabetes, bloating, and a host of other health problems.

When looking for a good enzyme to take, make sure your product is full spectrum, plant based, and broad ph so that it can work in both the acidic stomach, and alkaline intestines.



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    • vic profile image

      vic 11 years ago

      Thank you for an informative hub.

    • profile image

      Kathy 11 years ago

      A friend of mine in her 60's and her husband eat a raw-food diet and they both have stunning skin, skin I would love myself (and I'm much younger). She credits her diet.