Benefits and Side Effects of Digestive Enzymes

Published: 22nd September 2010
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What are Digestive Enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins and the catalyst to many changes going on in our body.

Digestive enzymes break up our meals into less complicated components that can be more simply ingested. Important nutrients are trapped in the food we eat as our digestive is just made to free these valuable nutrients alongside enzymes only available in raw and fermented foods. The enzymes inside these uncooked foods are only really active throughout the first 45 min of digestion. However because we consume such a lousy eating regimen of treated, highly processed foods we often lack these valuable enzymes in our food.

The human body creates approximately 22 digestive enzymes that all work on different types of food. If you continually eat cooked processed food your body is forced to supply all of the enzymes needed to digest that food which requires a lot of energy, and is the reason for feeling tired after eating a meal. However your body will eventually use up its ability to produce enzymes and this causes symptoms such as fatigue, wind, constipation, headaches and bowel problems.eventually your body will lose it's ability to create the enzymes causing systems such as headaches, constipation and fatigue.

Enzymes Everywhere!

  • Ptyalin for digesting starchy foods is produced by the saliver glands

  • Pepsin produced in the stomach breaks down proteins.

  • In the pancreas enzymes like trypsin break down and digest fats along with emulsification from the bile produced by the liver.

  • The small intestine secrete a juice called succus entericus which contains six types of enzymes to degrade disaccharides into monosacchrides.

Acidity is fundamental for digestive enzymes.

The enzymes work best at their optimum pH, so for example, the enzymes secreted in the pancreas and will only work in an alkaline medium, and those in the stomach require a strong acidic medium.

The pancreas produces the pancreatic juice that shifts the acid contents from the stomach into an alkaline in the small intestine. However very often there is an acid-alkaline imbalance that can cause indigestion (heartburn) and bloating within an hour after eating.

There is a common misconception around heartburn. Most of the time people suffer with heartburn is due a lack of adequate acid, rather than too much. Digestion works best when the digestive juices are very acidic at a low pH. The digestive enzyme perpsin doesn't function correctly if its not acidic enough. Without enough peptin you food isn't digested properly, producing gas and leaving you feeling bloated. Other symptoms include burning in the throat and chest.

The best way to get you digestion working better.

You can take digestive enzymes as a supplement if you suffer with bloating after eating. If you suffer with heartburn look for products containing hydrochloric acid.

You can also try plant enzymes that are good as they work in either an acid or alkaline situation.

There are some enzyme supplements that will include an acid/alkaline balancer within them which is helpful for people who suffer flatulence and indigestion soon after eating, such as Catalyst 7 which contains calcium, magnesium and barley grass.

About The Author

Alison Wyndham, founder of the Wyndham Centre has been working in Alternative Therapies since 1971. She regularly practices from one of her clinics helping people become healthy and feel better. You can read more about Digestive Enzymes at .

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