Digestive Enzymes: Types, Uses, Side-effects and Precautions
Digestive Enzymes promise to fix “n” number of digestive disorders ranging from minor indigestion to severe bloating and heartburn. In simple terms, digestive enzymes are nothing but a complex protein that is produced in the body to break down food into smaller molecules or more digestible form so that the food can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Most digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas, followed by the mouth, stomach, and small intestines.
How to Choose the right Digestive Enzymes Supplement?
When choosing a digestive supplement, it is pre-requisite to address why and what type of enzyme your body is missing upon? The human body can lack any or multiple enzymes which are crucial for healthy digestion. Some of the essential digestive enzymes include:
- Trypsin: This enzyme is crucial for the breakdown of protein into its constituent Amino Acid(AA).
- Amylase: Known to breakdown complex sugars into smaller molecules like maltose.
- Lactase: It breaks down milk sugar (Lactose). People with lactose intolerance either do not produce this enzyme in sufficient amount or it’s completely absent.
- Lipase: Responsible for the breakdown of complex fats into smaller constituents i.e. fatty acids and glycerol.
- Pepsin: This is another important enzyme, which is crucial for the breakdown of proteins in the foods into smaller peptides.
Apart from these major enzymes, there is an important hormone that is responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein namely Cholecystokinin; which is secreted in the small intestine and causes the gallbladder to contract and release bile and the pancreas to release digestive enzymes. In the absence of any of the digestive enzymes/hormones, the digestive tract is prone to suffer.
Key Health Benefits of Digestive Enzymes Supplements:
- Promote optimal nutrient absorption.
- Reinforce healthy digestion.
- Enhance the breakdown of fats, carbs, and protein.
- Supports Colon health.
- Soothes digestive tract.
- Prevents GUT infections.
- Control symptoms of indigestion such as diarrhea, constipation, ulcers and bloating.
Are Digestive Enzyme Supplements Safe?
Digestive enzymes are readily available commercially in the form of powders and pills. Consuming Digestive Enzyme Supplements is safe and can prove extremely effective for those who have a compromised digestive system. However, to avoid any possibility of side-effects which is indeed very rare, the best practice is to consult a Health-care provider and avoid self-supplementation.
Precautions with Digestive Enzyme Supplements:
Pregnant mothers are most prone to indigestion and GUT infections. However, As a word of caution, Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid having digestive enzyme supplements solely on self-supplementation.
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