We are flooded with information on how to eat better, we are after all “what we eat” aren’t we? This may in part be true but choosing a wholesome, nourishing diet is simply the start of the complex relationship between food and our health; Indeed we are much more about “what we digest”.
How do we digest our food?
This relationship between the food we choose to eat and the benefits to our health depend on our ability to digest and absorb all it has to offer. This interchange begins in the mouth with the release of salivary enzymes and chewing our food well, mixing it with digestive chemicals to make the food more digestible. This is then passed down into our stomach where the food meets gastric juices to further degrade proteins and some fats into a substance called chyme. This chyme is then passed into the small intestine where it meets a further group of enzymes called pancreatic enzymes and the food is sufficiently “digested” to be absorbed through the gut wall of either the small or large intestine (depending on the micronutrient).
This very complex system works very efficiently when we produce the correct amount of the right enzyme at the right time. However when this doesn’t happen, larger molecules or partially digested particles can cross the intestinal lining and provoke an immune reaction. For this reason poor digestive enzyme production has been associated with a number of conditions including food allergies, eczema, psoriasis and digestive imbalances.
Digestive enzyme insufficiency is much more common and there are a number of factors that can influence this such as:
- Age. As we age our natural production of certain digestive or salivary enzymes reduce.
- Stress. Hormones released during the natural stress cycle affect the production of digestive enzymes.
- Hypochlorhydria (insufficient stomach acid production) – affects the effective breakdown of food in the stomach but also reduces the production of digestive enzymes further on down the digestive tract too.
- Existing conditions such as Crohns disease or liver disease can also impact on how well we produce these enzymes.
Common symptoms of digestive enzyme imbalance can include:
- Food intolerances, especially to gluten or dairy
- Bloating, burping or burning after meals
- Chronic bacterial, fungal (such as candida) or parasitic overgrowth
- Indigestion, diarrohea or constipation
- Iron, B12 and Vitamin D deficiency
- Nausea after taking supplements
- Feeling easily and uncomfortably full after eating
- Undigested food in stools, floating or oily stools.
- Weak, peeling and cracked fingernails.
Many clients I have worked with over the years have benefited from the support of a Digestive Enzyme supplement. However there is a wealth of difference between digestive enzymes that are artificially derived from synthetic material (as per the standard digestive enzyme supplements) and those that are produced naturally. Our new Digestive Enzyme Complex provides a unique blend of GMO-free broad acting digestive enzymes derived from natural fermentation of Aspergillus oryze and suitable for vegans. Used in traditional Japanese cultures to produce fermented foods, this natural process produces a broad spectrum of enzymes including:
- Amylase is required for the effective breakdown of carbohydrates (starches and polysaccharides)
- Protease is required for the effective breakdown of proteins
- Tilactase is unique to the aspergillus production method and has been shown to improve the breakdown of lactose found in milk and milk products
- Lipase is required for the effective breakdown of all fats
- Cellulase is required for the effective breakdown of carbohydrates (starches and polysaccharides)
The advanced production method protects these enzymes from degrading when exposed to gastric juices, this is a common problem with other sources of digestive enzymes.
Digestive health is the cornerstone of wellbeing. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described in this article, you may benefit from using a digestive enzyme supplement as part of your wellbeing plan. If you would like further advice do get in touch with us [email protected] or 01273 477898.