Digestive Enzymes and Their Health Benefits When Taken as Supplements
Written By Ana Aleksic, MSc Pharm

Digestive Enzymes and Their Health Benefits When Taken as Supplements

You often hear people say that a person becomes what he/she eats. When you go deeper into the matters, you find out that digestion is more important than eating into making a person healthy or unhealthy. Believe it or not, a great number of illnesses in the human body are related to malabsorption of the foods. When your food does not break down into small particles, your body is not able to digest it. Think about it, if you put petrol in a sealed bottle and then placed in the tank of your car, will the car start? This is exactly what happens when the food that goes in your stomach does not get broken down into small particles.

What Are Digestive Enzymes?
As the name tells, these are enzymes, and their main role is in the digestion of the foods you eat. Think of these enzymes as small hammers that start breaking down your food so it can be absorbed by your body. Skip this process of breaking down of the large molecules, and you will come across a condition called malabsorption of food. As a result of malabsorption, your body is not able to obtain the energy it needs from the food.

The digestive enzymes that break down your foods are present throughout the digestive tract where they are constantly produced. The work of the enzyme starts right from your mouth—think of your saliva. Other areas where these enzymes are produced are small intestine, pancreas, and stomach. While your body makes these enzymes naturally, raw foods can also be a good source of these digestive enzymes. The problem is, during the cooking process of these foods the enzymes get destroyed and you don’t get any.

Digestive Enzyme Deficiency
Unfortunately, there is a condition in which your body is not able to produce enough digestive enzymes to break down all the food you eat. This is where the real problems start. In many South Asian countries, they believe that all the problems with a human body start from the stomach. So, the deficiency of enzymes is possible, and more than possible it is quite common in the modern world. One of the reasons causing enzyme deficiency in people these days is the foods they eat. The modern cooking methods and deep frying practices destroy the enzymes present in natural raw foods.

You must also keep in mind that your digestive enzymes are very sensitive. Certain chemicals can meddle with the production of enzymes in your body. Furthermore, extreme temperatures can also denature them. What it means by the term “denaturing of an enzyme” is that an enzyme is no longer able to perform its functions. A lot of the foods you eat today are pasteurized and have gone through processing. Since the enzymes in them are lacking, your body is constantly doing the “over time” to produce more enzymes to break down foods. The deficiency of these enzymes can result in various conditions starting from heartburns to abdominal pains.

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