Digestive Enzymes

Many nutritionally oriented doctors consider plant-based digestive enzyme products helpful for promoting good digestion and nutrient absorption. The theory is that these plant-based compounds compensate for any disruption in the body’s natural production of digestive enzymes (those crucial molecules designed to break down foods into nutrients that the body can absorb).

Digestive enzymes are typically used to treat heartburn, bloating, chronic Indigestion, and excessive gas, as well as Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and the digestive discomforts that accompany aging. Even In the absence of any symptoms, some sources recommend routinely taking digestive enzymes In order to maintain peak digestion and minimize the body’s workload.

Certain enzymes are also very helpful for people with lactose intolerance, bloating, and gas due to a deficiency in the small Intestine’s output of the enzyme lactase.

When buying a digestive enzyme product, look for one that mixes several enzymes (the enzymes all end in the letters “as”). The highest quality products contain amylase (for starches), lipase (for fats), protease (for protein), and lactase (for dairy). Bromelain (from pineapples) and papain (from papayas) are two plant-based digestive enzymes frequently found in enzyme mixtures as well. Clearly, If you know you have a particular problem with a certain food (soy, dairy), look for that specific enzyme (lactase helps for dairy). For most symptoms, the usual dose of plant-based digestive enzymes is 2 to 4 capsules/tablets with each meal. The higher amount is usually needed for a larger meal. Requirements among Individuals can vary, so it’s fine to experiment until you find the right dose to relieve your symptoms.

Cautions
  • There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with plant-based digestive enzymes.
  • Discontinue taking the enzymes if you don’t notice any Improvement in your condition after using them for a month or so.
  • Side effects tend to be minimal, although such symptoms as sneezing or a skin rash can occur in sensitive individuals. Stop taking the supplement it an unexpected reaction occurs.
  • Diabetics should consult their doctors before taking digestive enzyme supplements, given the importance of maintaining an even absorption of nutrients and sugars from foods.

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