Among the most common gastrointestinal problems that many people face is indigestion and flatulence. Digestive enzymes are a group of compounds that help break down food and other chemical compounds.
Enzymes are catalysts of many biochemical reactions. They are protein compounds that are involved in the breakdown of food and digestion. Enzymes involved in the digestion process are called digestive enzymes and categorized into 3 types, enzymes that break down proteins, fat and carbohydrates.
Who has reduced levels
The digestion process is one of the most complex processes, as it requires the coordination of many molecules and mechanisms. People who experience either reduced activity or lack of digestive enzymes are those who are / suffer from
- Cystic fibrosis
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
Incomplete digestion of food leads to digestive disorders such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia, heartburn and belching. Digestion discomfort appears mainly after eating.
It is an enzyme that breaks down fat. It is normally secreted by the mouth, pancreas and stomach and is not found in food. People with irritable bowel syndrome often have a difficulty in digesting fats and foods with high fat content, resulting in steatorrhea, flatulence and gas production. It is usually given in combination with other digestive enzymes.
Enzyme which hydrolyses the carbohydrate lactose, in galactose and glucose. Lactose is the main carbohydrate of milk and to a lesser extent of dairy products and cheese products. It is secreted by the gut cells. Lack of lactase leads to lactose intolerance, a fairly common condition, which requires either the avoidance of consumption of foods containing lactose or the supplementation of lactase. It can be administered alone or in combination with other digestive enzymes.
It is an enzyme that breaks down certain carbohydrates, such as starch and malto-oligosaccharides (eg maltodextrins) into glucose. They act in a slightly acidic pH and there are several amylases found either in saliva or in pancreatic fluids.
Proteolytic enzymes that hydrolyze proteins. They are found in stomach, pancreatic and intestinal fluids. Proteases include pepsin, trypsin, pancreatin and chymotrypsin. They act on acidic ph and their action is enhanced by papain and bromelin.
Enzyme that is mainly produced by fungi and bacteria and breaks down cellulose and certain polysaccharides. Cellulose and polysaccharides are mainly found in plant foods and are a major component of fibers.
Papain – Bromelain
They are proteolytic enzymes derived from plants. Papain derives from papaya and bromelain from the pineapple stem. Their role is to help break down proteins and, in particular, to enhance the action of endogenous proteolytic enzymes, such as pepsin and trypsin. Ideal enzymes for treating indigestion.
Pancreatin is a combination of enzymes including proteases (trypsin, chymotrypsin), α-amylase and pancreatic lipase. Mostly it is given as a digestive aid in cases of pancreatic insufficiency, gastrectomy or steatorrhea.
Usage and dosage
Enzymes are taken just before or during main meals, 2 to 3 times a day. They are not taken in between because the acidic environment of the stomach will break them down. They should not be taken with hot beverages and foods and their combination with probiotics further enhances bowel health. Recommended daily dosage is not defined.
Long-term use of digestive enzymes is safe. They should not be taken by people with peptic ulcer. Formulations containing the enzymes papain and bromelain should not be taken by those who are under anticoagulant treatment.
Digestive enzymes can help treating digestive disorders due to delayed stomach emptying or indigestion.
In Vita4you you can find a great variety of digestive enzymes.