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What Are Digestive Enzyme Supplements & When Should We Use Them?

September 21, 2021

When we say gut health, there are certain things that immediately come to mind. Most likely, among them are the following: probiotics and prebiotics, fiber, yogurt, and microorganisms. This is because they’re most commonly linked to anything related to the gut, but here’s one thing that we don’t see enough talk about: digestive enzymes. 


What is it? 

Digestive enzymes are the proteins in our bodies that play the important role of breaking down the food we consume. They’re vital because they help accelerate the process of turning the nutrients we get from what we eat into certain substances for our digestive tract to absorb. There are three different digestive enzymes in our bodies, each one specific to a particular nutrient: 


  • Amylase takes care of starches and carbs
  • Lipase breaks down fats
  • Protease is in charge of proteins


But while most of us have enough digestive enzymes that help with proper digestion, there are people with certain digestive orders that prevent their bodies from making them. The result can be diarrhea, gas, stomach aches, bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. But the worst case scenario? People who lack these enzymes won’t get enough nutrients and energy from the food that they eat. Thankfully, there’s a workaround for this. 

This is where digestive enzyme supplements come in. 


When should you take them?

Getting your poop tested can reveal whether or not you have an enzyme deficiency, and if you do, then consider taking digestive enzyme supplements. It’s worth noting that said supplements are best for severe cases. Otherwise, there are two options to choose from to help rid your digestive tract of all the “drama.” 

First, take the prevention is key approach: if you can, avoid the following: (liquid) dairy, grains, sugars, and industrial seed oils. But if you’d rather not make changes to your diet, then consider consuming certain types of food considered as natural sources of digestive enzymes. These include mangoes, bananas, avocados, papaya, pineapples, honey (raw), kimchi, miso, and ginger. 

The next time you hear someone say gut health, don’t forget to talk about digestive enzymes too! As vital proteins that help us get the most out of what we eat, they definitely deserve more recognition! 

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