By Jorji Jett, Wellness Educator
A little belly bloat have you thinking twice about wearing a two-piece this summer? Does occasional stomach discomfort or gas have you avoiding certain foods? These common complaints could be a sign of an enzyme depleted diet!
Why We Need Enzymes:
When you lack the necessary enzymes to break down food, it sits in your digestive tract. Food that sits in your stomach or intestines too long has time to decay or create gas. Decay? YUCK!
Without writing a dissertation about the many processes involved in the breakdown of “food” in our bodies, starting with the first bite all the way to the bathroom break, let’s concentrate on the enzymes responsible for breaking down the components of what we eat.
Who’s Who: Enzymes Edition
The pancreas is one of the heaviest hitters when it comes to a healthy digestive tract. Pancreatic enzymes help break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. A normally functioning pancreas secretes about 8 cups of pancreatic fluid into the small intestines every day! Enzymes made by the pancreas include amylase, protease, and lipase.
- Amylases are responsible for breaking down carbohydrates.
- Lipases break down fat.
- Proteases break down proteins.
These enzymes help your body to break down food into nutrients that are absorb in the digestive tract before gas-inducing bacteria has a chance to create problems. Unfortunately, many of us make lifestyle choices that inhibit the production of these enzymes. Poor dietary choices and stress will lead to inflammation in your digestive tract. This inflammation interferes with your body’s ability to make enzymes. Without enough of them, your body can’t absorb the nutrients from your food.
What Happens When We’re Low:
Occasional belly discomfort is not the only side effect of decreased digestive enzymatic activity. If an individual is enzyme-deficient large protein molecules from food may be allowed to enter our bloodstreams and an allergic reaction can occur. Swelling, itching, and other allergy-related symptoms may improve with the use of enzyme supplements because food can be broken down into molecules that are small enough for our bodies to use, small enough to enter our bloodstreams without alarming our immune systems. Another possible consequence of deficient pancreatic enzyme activity may be malnutrition, most often seen in the later decades of life. Malnutrition consists of deficits of fat-soluble vitamins and secondarily decreased bone mineral density due to impaired absorption of fat-soluble vitamin D. Therapeutic intervention, which may consist of supplementation of pancreatic enzymes and/or vitamins in aged individuals could contribute to healthy aging.
Enzyme production naturally decreases with age, add on top of that- the standard American diet of overly processed foods, and it’s no wonder so many of us suffer the symptoms commonly associated with a lack of digestive enzymes. Adopting a healthier lifestyle may help to restore enzyme levels back to normal and food enzymes are those we find in a colorful diet rich in raw vegetables. Sadly, the process of cooking food destroys naturally-occurring food enzymes, making supplementation important. If you want an enzyme supplement that addresses a wider range of digestive issues, look for products that contain all three pancreatic enzymes.
I would love to help you with supplements I have found that have helped me tremendously, so give me a call, text, or email me to learn more over a cup of coffee or glass of wine! Jorji Jett 503.899.8017 www.jorjijett.com