Digestive Enzymes: What Are They, Why You Should Take One Daily and How to Choose the Right One for You
Today, it seems that everyone is talking about gut health, but what exactly comprises our gut? How do we keep our “gut” healthy? The human “gut” refers to the second half of the human gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Together, these parts are where we absorb nutrients as our body breaks down and digests our food for us. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bad bacteria and viruses. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which plays a key role in our mental and emotional health1. It turns out your mom was right when she told you to ‘trust your gut’!
The health and effectiveness of this system determines almost everything our body does: our nervous and endocrine systems, immune and brain function, and metabolism2. How well we digest and extract the essential nutrients our body needs depends on the digestive enzymes within our gut.
What are Digestive Enzymes?
Our body’s digestive enzymes are naturally occurring and help break down food so we can absorb the nutrients it contains. With the first bite of food you eat, this process begins. It starts in your mouth with the enzymes in your saliva, continues into the stomach, and then onto the small intestine (which both make their own digestive enzymes). However, the largest amount comes from your pancreas, which floods the small intestine when the food arrives there. The 3 main enzymes in this process are:
- Lipase which breaks down fats
- Amylase which breaks down carbohydrates
- Proteases and peptidases which break down proteins
Once nutrients are broken into small enough molecules, they are absorbed through the wall of the small intestine and into your bloodstream, then delivered throughout your body to help maintain bodily functions3.
Sometimes the body struggles to produce enough digestive enzymes on its own; IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), low stomach acid, and enzyme deficiency are all common causes. This can slow down the digestive process and cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, or digestive distress. This is when digestive enzyme supplementation can support your quality of life. These supplements can give your gut the jump start it needs to aid in your digestive health.
Why Should You Take Digestive Enzymes Every Day?
Ideally this system is supposed to function in a way that allows us to digest food without discomfort; however, that is not the case for everyone1. It is estimated that nearly 70 million people in the United States struggle with digestive diseases ranging from mild Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to more complicated and severe disorders such as Celiac Disease4. Supplementation of digestive enzymes can help support a healthy gut and reduce uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea5.
How to Choose the Right Digestive Enzyme for You
Choosing the best supplement for your body is often an overwhelming and complicated process that can leave you feeling frustrated. With so many products on the market now, how do you choose? With five enzymatic extracts, three fruit enzymes, one clinically trialed extract, and zero silicone dioxide, Nuzest’s Digestive Enzyme Blend is a great choice. This product keeps it simple, because too much of a good thing isn't a good thing! It contains protease and papain (to assist in breaking down proteins), amylase (to break down carbohydrates), and bromelain, in addition to an enzyme found in kiwifruit, which is high in vitamin C. Kiwifruit also has multiple studies backing its ability to support and aid our digestive systems6.
Why is kiwifruit great for digestion and digestive health?
Kiwis are a delicious fruit that contain high amounts of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Did you know that they also contain an enzyme that can help reduce symptoms of an out of whack gut, like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea7, 8? Not everyone can (or wants) to eat 2-3 kiwis a day (the amount consumed by participants in a study that showed positive digestive health benefits), but luckily you don’t have to. With supplementation, you can get the gut healthy benefits of kiwifruit simply by swallowing a pill.
So go ahead, trust your gut, and don’t forget to take your Digestive Enzyme Blend when your digestive system needs a little more support.
Disclaimer: We always suggest letting your Healthcare Practitioner know which supplements you are taking, and consult with them with any specific questions regarding your gut health.