CAT | Digestive Enzymes
It seems Americans are reluctant to talk about their digestive issues. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, 56 percent of the participants said they believed their gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms were not worth discussing with their healthcare practitioner, even if they occured several times a month.
Results also revealed 72 percent of adults age 18 or older experienced at least one of the following GI symptoms a few times a month or more: diarrhea, gas and bloating, stomach pain, frequent bowel movements, unexplained weight-loss and non-specific GI discomfort. Further, most of the participants had lived with their symptoms for more than six months.
The survey was commissioned by the biopharmaceutical company AbbVie in an effort to raise awareness about digestive health and a condition known as EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency), in which the pancreas fails to produce enough of the enzymes needed to digest food properly—mainly amylase, lipase and protease. Particularly concerning is the fact that the symptoms associated with EPI (which include diarrhea, gas, bloating and stomach pain) mimic those of other common digestive disorders, so the condition is often overlooked.
Experts agree that while occasional discomfort may not be cause for alarm, ignoring persistent digestive problems may lead to bigger health issues over time. Remember—more than three-quarters of the body’s natural immune defenses can be found in the gut, so maintaining a healthy and balanced digestive system is important!
Because enzymes are found naturally in fresh, raw foods, adding plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet can go a long way toward preventing GI problems. Taking a daily digestive enzyme supplement is also recommended; unlike many over-the-counter drugs, enzyme supplements are natural, safe and highly effective. What’s more, instead of masking the symptoms of poor digestion, they help provide a solid foundation of digestive health, which in turn helps support your overall well-being.‡
When choosing an enzyme supplement, keep in mind that plant-derived enzymes are effective over a broader pH range in the body and can help digest a wider variety of foods, including proteins, fats, dairy foods, carbohydrates and sugars. ‡ Targeted formulas are available to address issues such as excess gas or lactose intolerance, and those with sensitive stomachs may want to look for a supplement with added herbal ingredients and amino acids shown to help soothe and nourish the digestive tract. ‡
Blame it on mom’s sweet potato casserole or Aunt Millie’s famous sugar cookies, but there’s just something about the holidays that makes us toss all of our good intentions out the window and overindulge in enough goodies to send our insides into a state of constant turmoil. The good news? Adding a digestive enzyme supplement to the menu can help ease holiday indigestion without bringing the festivities to an end.
Found naturally in raw foods, enzymes play a key role in the digestive process by helping to break down the food we eat so that the body can absorb its valuable nutrients. The problem, however, is that cooking our food destroys those natural enzymes, so our bodies lack the tools necessary for complete digestion. Not only that, but heavily processed foods and those made with refined sugars and white flour (such as those yummy holiday baked goods) are also depleted of natural enzymes. As a result, the digestive process slows down and undigested food remains in the intestines longer, which can contribute to everything from heartburn and indigestion to gas, bloating and other digestive issues.
Taking a natural digestive enzyme supplement is the key to surviving the holidays with your digestive health intact. Experts recommend a multi-enzyme blend made with plant-derived enzymes, which are effective over a broader range of pH levels in the body and thus provide more complete support. If you have a particularly sensitive stomach, choose an enzyme supplement with soothing herbal ingredients such as ginger root and marshmallow, as well as amino acids (including L-glutamine and N-acetyl D-glucosamine) for added intestinal lining support.
Targeted enzyme blends are also available to help address specific conditions such as heartburn, gas and bloating, and even lactose intolerance with fast-acting herbs and nutraceuticals. So this year before you head out for the first round of holiday festivities, don’t forget to give yourself the gift of good digestion and take your enzymes.
Want to learn more about the benefits of natural digestive enzymes? Check out ReNew Life’s Digestive Education Center and find out everything you need to know!