Digestive enzymes are protein catalysts that help to “break down food” into its component parts called micro-nutrients, which can then be absorbed by the gut lining. Here’s what they could be useful for.
“One of the most common causes of bloating happens when we eat foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as bread, rice or pasta,” said Simpkin. “In addition to these foods, many vegetables also contain cellulose and carbohydrates that are difficult to digest.”
If undigested food particles remain in the gut for too long and begin to ferment, Simpkin explained it can lead to bloating.
“Taking a digestive enzyme supplement will promote more effective digestion,” she said, which will “consequently help to alleviate bloating”.
Do you find that certain foods trigger a lot of wind, such as lentils and chickpeas?
“Whilst this does not necessarily indicate an intolerance to that food,” began Simpkin, “it can suggest that there is a deficiency of a specific digestive enzyme”.
Simpkin attributes wind to the deficiency or absence of an enzyme called alpha galactosidase.
This enzyme is needed to break down legumes during the digestive process, and if there’s not enough of it, fermented food waste starts to produce gases.
The use of digestive enzyme supplements can help to digest the carbohydrates found in legumes into simple sugars, making them easier to digest.
“When proteins are digested, they are broken down into amino acids which are important for liver function,” explained Simpkin.
The digestive enzyme protease is crucial for the proper breakdown of proteins, otherwise liver detoxification could be impaired.
“An efficient digestive process will ensure effective release of not only the amino acids, but also other key nutrients necessary for detoxification,” added Simpkin.
“When foods are not digested properly, undigested particles make their way to the colon where they cannot be easily eliminated,” Simpkin explained.
“This causes a build-up of waste that then ferments and putrefies and, over time, this waste becomes more compacted, resulting in constipation.”
Improving digestion is key to prevent undigested food from travelling into the colon and creating a blockage.
Constipation is linked to eating fatty foods or lots of protein – and a digestive enzyme supplement containing lipase and proteases could help aid digestion.
Simpkin revealed a shocking statistic – up to 80 percent of the body’s vital energy is spent on digestion alone.
“By aiding the breakdown and absorption of foods, you can free up enormous amounts of energy,” she asserted.
Simpkin suggested for people to supplement with digestive enzymes to help release energy from food more efficiently.
“I recommend Digest Gold from Enzymedica UK – an enzyme formula containing 13 different vegan enzymes,” she said.
“It helps to decrease the energy demands of the digestive process,” she added.
“This means you can better absorb the nutrients from the food you eat and remain energised.”
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