Why Digestive Enzymes Are Important
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
While many of us might take probiotics for gut health, many aren’t aware that digestive enzymes can also help to support a balanced gut by digesting the food that we eat.
Adding these enzymes to your daily routine can help improve digestion, reduce bloating, and assist in better absorption of nutrients.
It can also reduce instances of other gastrointestinal discomfort like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Enzymes, by definition, are substances that speed up biochemical reactions, such as digestion. Digestive enzymes, specifically, play a crucial role in breaking down the food that we eat.
They help to speed up chemical reactions in our body and turn substances into products that our digestive tract has the ability to absorb.
There are numerous ways that our body gets digestive enzymes. Our saliva, for example, has digestive enzymes in it. Some of our organs, such as the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas, also have enzymes that assist in the role of nutrient breakdown.
There are also natural sources of digestive enzymes in foods that we ingest. Fruits, vegetables, and honey all contain digestive enzymes that our body can use.
Not everyone can make enough digestive enzymes, however, or they might not be eating enough through food. This results in certain gastrointestinal discomfort like gas, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Certain digestive disorders also prevent our body from making enough enzymes in the first place.
Digestive Enzymes in Gastrointestinal Diseases
Digestive enzymes have been shown to manage digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance and cystic fibrosis. This is because digestive enzymes are produced and secreted by the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. While the effect of plant-based enzymes is unknown, animal-derived enzymes are well established and have been proven to manage certain digestive diseases.
In summary, research shows that digestive enzymes are crucial for good health. Digestive enzymes help to manage certain disease states like chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes. They also help to reduce gut discomfort like bloating, cramping after meals, and excessive gas.