Your body is designed to digest and absorb the food you eat. Unfortunately, many people struggle with digestion even though our body creates enzymes for just this purpose.
If you seem to get gas no matter you eat, you often suffer from heartburn, bloating or stomach discomfort, or if constipation is an issue for you, it may mean that there is something not quite right with your enzyme production and bigger problems with follow!
The bottom line: the body needs nutrients to power its organ systems and the key to delivering these nutrients to the organ systems hinges on proper digestion and absorption.
How important are enzymes?
Enzymes are the first of the “workers” in your body. They are the catalyst that allows the vitamins and minerals in your body to do their job. Enzymes are responsible for all metabolic functions and are quoted as “being responsible for life itself”. Specifically, digestive enzymes are secreted by the digestive tract to aid in digesting macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) and absorbing micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Both play a vital role in the normal healthy function of the body. This very important process requires both digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. This is key because, in order to be able to absorb nutrients, your food has to be broken down into microscopic particles. Anything that’s not totally broken-down can compost somewhere in your GI tract, leading to any number of problems.
Why stress inhibits the body’s ability to use enzymes
Enzymes are large and complex molecules and chronic stress makes it very difficult for them to do their job. Chronic stress can eat away at the stomach lining and inhibit the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine . Besides moisture, enzymes require three things to become active and that same stress can also make this difficult: 1) the proper temperature 2) the proper pH (acid or alkaline) and 3) the right substrate (or material) to break down.
Why are enzymes lacking in our food?
Enzymes are a natural part of vegetables, fruits, grains, and other raw food. For those of us who cannot live on a farm or close to an agricultural center, our food is generally purchased at grocery stores or supermarkets where food needs to stay fresh and look appealing. This requires food to have an extended shelf life and to do that, enzymes are removed from our food supply. Specifically, almost any food is that is canned, pasteurized, genetically engineered, cooked, or packaged — unfortunately the enzymes are systematically removed.
The 2 Main Categories of Enzymes
Metabolic enzymes: Metabolic enzymes are made by every cell. Their purpose is to support the function of a specific body system, such as the gut, circulatory, muscles and bones, liver and skin. When metabolic enzymes work with properly digested macronutrients and micronutrients, the body’s cells can produce enough energy to power all organ systems.
Digestive enzymes: Every food component has a matching enzyme: fats match to lipase; proteins have proteases; carbohydrates belong to various amylases, etc. Under normal healthy conditions, the body’s digestive enzymes are produced by glands and organs such as the stomach, liver, and pancreas. As food gets eaten and digested, the digestive enzymes match with the right macronutrient. Food components are broken down, absorbed into the blood, or absorbed in the small intestine.
The Main Digestive Enzymes and Their Functions
PROTEASE Responsible for digesting protein in food.
AMYLASE Responsible for digesting carbohydrates in food.
LIPASE Responsible for digesting fats in food.
CELLULASE Responsible for breaking down both soluble and insoluble fiber.
MALTASE Responsible for taking the complex sugar found in malt and grain products and changing it into glucose.
LACTASE Responsible for digesting the milk sugar found in dairy products.
PHYTASE Helps with digestion in general, and is especially effective in producing vital nutrients such as B vitamins.
SUCRASE Responsible for digesting the sugars.
Proper use of supplemental enzymes can help your body heal and once again create the enzymes it needs!!!