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Hamilton Cabanilla M.A. Certified Natural Health Practitioner, Enzyme Science™
Millions of people experience occasional digestive difficulties, which may include gas, bloating and occasional heartburn. At the very least, these symptoms may be uncomfortable, but for many, these symptoms are downright painful.
To better understand digestive distress, it is important to understand the role that enzymes play within the digestive system.
With the first bite of food, enzymes go to work. Amylase enzymes found in saliva break down starches into simple sugars. As food progresses through the digestive tract, other enzymes take part. Protease (which digests proteins), lipase (which breaks down fats), and cellulase (which breaks down cellulose, a type of fiber), work to further break down food. All enzymes have a specific function within the body determined by their unique shape and composition.
Many individuals experience digestive distress when there simply aren’t enough enzymes to completely break down a meal. Gas and other symptoms are created as poorly digested food quickly begins to ferment.
Enzyme deficiencies occur when there aren’t enough enzymes to break down food. Some individuals may be genetically pre-disposed towards enzyme deficiencies, but for others, factors like age, diet, and lifestyle can play a significant roll. If you’ve heard the phrase “I just can’t eat like I used to,” an enzyme deficiency may be developing with age.
Lactose, casein, gluten and phenols are generally the most common food intolerances. Food intolerance is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme specific to breaking down a food group.
Enzymes are produced within the body, and also contained in the foods we eat. They are also sensitive to temperature, so when food is cooked, the enzymes contained within are destroyed. This is one of the reasons why incorporating raw food into an every day diet is crucial.
Because it isn’t always ideal (or desired, depending on the individual) to eat a completely raw diet, many consider enzyme supplementation. Those with specific food intolerances can purchase enzyme products that are focused on the digestion of intolerant foods. Others, who want more complete digestive support can take a product designed to break down the entire meal. Both types of products may be beneficial for digestive distress.
When choosing an enzyme product, look for one containing blends of enzymes. The best products on the market will optimize enzymatic activity by blending different strains of the same types of enzymes, for maximum effectiveness across the wide range of pH levels throughout the body. Also, make sure that the products you choose are free of excipients and any fillers. There is no need for these ingredients, and products are available that do not contain them.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.