We’ve all heard the old adage, “You are what you eat,” but if we want to get technical (and we do, don’t we?), a more accurate credo would be “You are what you digest.”
And what’s one thing all healthy digestive tracts have in common? You guessed it: digestive enzymes (enzymes that specifically aid in the digestion of food) and pancreatic enzymes (enzymes produced in the pancreas). Or, more accurately, the presence and quantity of naturally occurring or supplemented enzymes that are hard at work breaking down the foods we eat.
Essentially, enzymes disassemble the complex structures of our foods, reducing them to a molecular level which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine.
One word you will often hear associated with enzymes is “catalyst.” Without enzymes to catalyze (speed up) the biochemical reactions within our digestive tracts, the process of digestion would move too slowly for the body to benefit from the essential micronutrients contained in what we eat.
For the three major macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—there are certain digestive and pancreatic enzymes that, like specially designed keys, unlock or break down a certain type of food.
Key enzymes: salivary amylase and pancreatic
Key enzymes: protease (pepsin, chymotrypsin, trypsin).
Key enzyme: lipase.
Of course, there are many different types of digestive enzymes and agents at play in the digestive process, but these players are key in the work of providing us energy, rebuilding tissue, and cleansing and replenishing our systems.
As you follow the course of your food’s journey through the digestive tract, it’s easy to see how something can quickly go wrong. In the essential and complex work of digestion, any imbalance, including an imbalance of enzymes, can upset the entire process. Poor digestion, or the malabsorption of life-sustaining micronutrients, creates lasting damage that can lead to chronic conditions if left untreated, such as:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBD diverticulosis (Crohn’s disease)
What can upset the balance of enzymes? A poor diet, illness, aging, and the use of antibiotics can all throw off the digestive process, which makes the work of maintaining a healthy digestive system an ongoing and unavoidable task. Remembering that you are what you digest, don’t put off consulting an expert if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of poor digestion. Make the decision to prioritize the health of your digestive and pancreatic enzymes today and start feeling better for years to come.
Food Enzymes assist the body with the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to help prevent and relieve occasional indigestion.