Putting Gut Health At The Top Of Your To
I hope this article has shown you why I believe gut health is key to so many seemingly unrelated health issues. I have repeatedly seen patients get better from conditions their doctors told them would never improve simply by supporting their digestive system.
And while I am a huge believer in the effectiveness of digestive enzymes in that healing process, I also want to suggest that they will work even more effectively if you make sure to address your STRESS exposure. I believe when we make it our ultimate goal to find calm in the chaos, it will enable us to sit down to eat, chew our food with care, and digest it better.
To that end, I recommend picking up a copy of my book, The Stress Remedy, which will help you see stress through different eyes, and learn ways to minimize stress in your body and your environment.
Until next time, I wish you well.
*Please keep in mind that any and all supplementsnutrients, herbs, enzymes, or othershould be used with caution. My recommendation is that you seek the care of a naturopathic doctor and that you have a primary care physician or practitioner whom you can contact to help you with individual dosing and protocols. If you ever experience negative symptoms after taking a product, stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor right away.
Facilitates Muscle Healing After Intense Exercise
Post-workout soreness is commonbut that knowledge doesn’t make hobbling around the house any more bearable. So, what can be done to boost muscle recovery and get you back to your exercise of choice ASAP? You guessed itdigestive enzymes. According to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences that involved 20 men, protease supplements sped up muscle healing and lessened perceived increases in pain after intense exercise . This finding is in line with another study back from 1965, which found that digestive enzyme supplementation helped facilitate the healing process, plus reduced pain and swelling associated with injuries .
And more recently: a 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Science Research found that compared to placebo, participants taking a branded enzyme blend reported significantly reduced pain and tenderness after a treadmill running test .
Watch Out When You Are Bloated Your Body Is Trying To Tell You Something
How often do you experience cramping, bloating, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea? What about joint pain, skin disorders and eruptions, headaches, and brain fog? Stomach troubles like bloating and heartburn are some of the most common signs of enzyme deficiency. More persistent symptoms like headaches and joint pain can often point to leaky gut.
The next time you see someone drinking sparkling mineral water or even a Coke with a meal, consider this: Drinking too much liquid with a meal dilutes the bodys enzymes and makes it difficult to digest. Drinking less and taking Assist Full Spectrum enzymes at each meal can help.
How is all this possible? Large food particles feed bacterial overgrowth which can manifest as gut symptoms. Bacterial overgrowth, or a damaged inner ecology, can irritate the tissue lining the gut wall and generate inflammation. This allows large food particles to escape into the bloodstream and candida to spread outside the gut.
In 2017, using genetically engineered mice, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers finally helped link leaky gut to the development of chronic inflammatory disease.1 Better understanding intestinal inflammation and permeability, researchers say, could help to improve outcomes and even prevent disease.
New to Body Ecology? Find out where it all began.
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Stress How Digestive Enzymes Can Help
Anyone who knows my work knows that I talk a LOT about stress. Thats because stress is all around us its simply part of life. And although your body is designed to cope with stress, when stress becomes too much or too constant for your body to handle, it will impair your digestion. Seeing the stress as something urgent that needs to be addressed right away, your body will trigger hormones and stress messengers to deal with it, putting your digestive needs on hold until the stress has been resolved. In fact, when you are stressed, your body tends to slow down and decrease its production of digestive enzymes.
If the stress signals continue day in and day out, digestion becomes increasingly impaired. Studies show that the production of digestive enzymes decreases, the intestinal cells become leaky and less able to absorb nutrients, and gut bacteria are thrown off balance. All these factors lead to nutrient deficiencies and leaky gut.
When your body doesnt digest food as well as it should, it cannot extract and absorb the essential nutrients it needs. Over time, you are likely to become nutrient-deficient, which will cause you to experience even MORE stress-related symptoms, like fatigue, pain, mood changes, menstrual irregularities, and sleep issues.
Autoimmunity Autoimmune Disease How Digestive Enzymes Can Help
Autoimmunity is a condition where your immune system starts to attack the cells of your own body, mistaking them for foreign invaders. There are over 100 serious health conditions are autoimmune in origin, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos disease, and Celiac disease. Recent studies have also linked autoimmunity to conditions like fibromyalgia and Alzheimers disease. For more information about autoimmunity, you might like to read my previous article 5 Steps to Reversing Autoimmunity and Autoimmune Diseases.
The key thing I want to point out here is that the recipe for triggering autoimmunity is stress and poor digestion, which then leads to leaky gut and imbalanced gut bacteria. Many practitioners believe autoimmunity is irreversible, but if you consider how it all points back to the gut, it stands to reason that if you address the gut issues, you have a chance of reversing and healing autoimmunity, as you will have removed the original trigger for autoimmunity.
Again, digestive enzymes can be extremely useful in addressing one of the root causes of autoimmunity poor digestion.
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Digestive Enzymes Vs Probiotics: Whats The Difference
Sometimes people confuse enzymes and probiotics. Both affect your digestion, but in very different ways. Probiotics are live organisms that make up the good bacteria in your gut. They help keep your digestive tract healthy, so they support the work your enzymes do. Unlike enzymes, probiotics do not have the ability to break down or digest food components.
Without good gut bacteria, you might experience symptoms similar to those of an enzyme insufficiency, such as bloating or gas, due to abnormal bacterial overgrowth or imbalance in your intestines.
What Are The Best Digestive Enzymes To Take
Digestive enzymes are not one-size-fits-all. The best digestive enzymes to take depends on the person, since enzymes are nutrient-specific and help with absorption of different foods. For general digestive health, its a good idea to take a full-spectrum enzyme blend that includes a variety of different enzymes.
Based on your reason for taking digestive enzymes, here are some helpful tips:
- Most products contain some level of pancreatin, which is a combination of all three pancreatic enzymes.
- If you have gallbladder issues, purchase digestive enzymes with more lipase and bile salts.
- Where you see betaine HCL listed as a product ingredient, make sure pepsin is also included.
- Purchase a supplement with lactase if you have issues relating to sugar absorption from dairy products.
- Consider a supplement that contains protease, which helps with protein digestion, if you have an autoimmune or inflammatory condition.
- Look for delayed release capsules that are enteric coated to help prevent the enzymes from breaking down in the stomach.
Remember that proteins, sugars, starches and fats all require specific types of enzymes, so taking a supplement that covers all bases may be most helpful, unless only a specific enzyme is needed.
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Why Do Digestive Enzymes Cause Bloating
Bloating or gas after taking a digestive supplement can often be the result of your digestive system reacting to the new enzymes entering your system. This is especially true, if youve been abusing your digestive system with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.
This results in undigested matter gradually clogging the lining of the intestinal walls. As new enzymes are introduced they begin breaking down this undigested matter and creating extra gas.
It is ironic that one of key causes of stomach bloating or excessive gas is a lack of enzymes in the body. However, after many years of being deficient you need to have patience.
Your body requires time not only to adapt to the new enzymes you are taking, but to also relearn how to digest and eliminate waste properly as this will have been hampered due to the bloating.
Another cause of a bloated stomach could be the type of digestive enzymes supplements you are taking. For example, protease enzyme supplements are often made from plant based proteins.
It turns out, these plant based formulas often contain wheat, barley or green vegetables, which can cause flatulence and bloating in certain people, especially if they have a food intolerance.
In the first couple of weeks of taking digestive enzymes you should expect certain side affects as your digestive system adjusts. However, if these symptoms dont subside, this may indicate the following factors
- yeast infections
- lack of good bacteria
Best Digestive Enzymes: 2021 Top Brands
When it came to selecting the best digestive enzymes of 2021, we took a few important things into consideration. We considered:
- Consideration taken to support a wide range of digestive needs
- The quality of the raw materials and ingredients
- The types of enzymes included
- That each product on our list of best digestive enzymes was third-party tested
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Gas Relief Digestive Enzymes And How To End Bloating
Gas relief can come in many forms. For some, it may be a simple fix. Others may find it requires a little more effort. Yet, no matter what your situation is, you can get relief from gas and bloating.
Its also worth noting, gas and bloating become more problematic with age. Digestion becomes more inefficient as you age which leads to common symptoms like gas and bloating. Thats not to say you should accept that youll suffer from it. Rather, you should:
- Know what causes gas
- Why it becomes a problem, and
- How to reduce or prevent it.
Once you understand these, youll find it easier to control and possibly even end gas and bloating when it comes regardless of your age.
What Causes Gas and Bloating?
The Mayo Clinic keeps it simple and says there are two types of gas: upper and lower intestinal gas.
Upper intestinal gas happens when you swallow too much air. Swallowing air happens naturally, but chewing gum, smoking, overeating, eating fast and chewing with your mouth open can make it worse. Drinking carbonated beverages like soda and beer can also make it bad. This kind of gas causes you to burp.
Lower intestinal gas occurs in the colon. It can happen as a result of an imbalance in the bacteria that live in the digestive tract, eating too much of certain foods or undigested food in the colon. Anyone of these could cause lower intestinal gas, or it could be a combination of all three.
Carbs: The #1 Cause of Gas and Bloating in Your Colon
Sugars to Watch Out for to Reduce Gas
Dont Eat Too Much At A Time
Being stuffed can feel like being bloated, but the problem is that you simply ate too much.
If youre eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterward, then try smaller portions. Add another daily meal if necessary.
A subset of people who experience bloating dont really have an enlarged stomach or increased pressure in the abdomen. The issue is mostly sensory .
A person with a tendency to be bloated will experience discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated.
For this reason, simply eating smaller meals can be incredibly useful.
Chewing your food better can have a two-fold effect. It reduces the amount of air you swallow with the food , and it also makes you eat slower, which is linked to reduced food intake and smaller portions .
People who experience bloating often have increased sensitivity to food in the stomach. Therefore, eating smaller meals can be very useful.
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What Conditions Can Cause Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency
Some enzyme insufficiencies are genetic, which means theyre the result of an abnormal gene. Such a gene might be inherited from a parent, or a mutation can occur without a known cause. Enzyme insufficiencies can be congenital or develop over time.
Some disorders or medical treatments can lead to pancreatic enzyme insufficiency:
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Any condition that disrupts your pancreas
How To Avoid Digestive Enzymes Side Effects
If youre someone who struggles with digestive issues, such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease or nutrient malabsorption , then digestive enzymes may be one of many dietary supplements that can help offer you relief. Many raw fruits and vegetables, such as pineapple and papaya, plus some types of fungus and animals contain enzymes that aid in their digestion. When we take these enzymes in supplement form we can benefit by more easily absorbing nutrients from our diets. Thats one of the beneficial side effects of digestive enzymes, but there are also other digestive enzymes side effects that can negatively impact health.
An increasing number of people take digestive enzymes today, especially those with certain health conditions. This includes gastrointestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohns, hypochlorhydria , or pancreatic insufficiency . While theyre normally safe and beneficial supplements to take, its still possible for digestive enzymes side effects to affect certain people, including those taking medications that can potentially interact with digestive enzymes.
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Why Are You Bloated The Top 5 Reasons Your Gut Feels Too Full
There are many, many reasons why you may feel bloated, but here are some of the most common:
1. Bacterial overgrowth.
Bloating is a sign that food is not digesting properly. When you eat too much, eat when you feel stressed, or eat when food is poorly combined, the food sits in the small intestine and putrefies. Bacteria and yeast feed on stagnant food and release gas in the process. This can result in bloating, cramping, and intestinal pain. Worse this can be a sign that the gut is experiencing trauma and is becoming permeable or leaky.4
Its also possible to have H. pylori growing in the stomach, often at the beginning of the small intestine around the duodenum.
Other people may have a pathogen in their small intestine like Clostridium difficile, which can grow in the small intestine over time. The cause of bloating can frequently come from a pathogen. Fortunately, this is easy to test for using a stool test to determine exactly what type of pathogen may be inside the gut. Then, the pathogen must be eliminated to prevent gas and bloating after meals. Taking probiotics and digestive enzymes together can strengthen the gut to overcome harmful bacteria like H. pylori.5
2. Enzyme deficiency.
Learn more about the foundation of Body Ecologys system of health and healing: The physical body is born with a certain amount of enzymes to maintain health and vitality. When enzymes are depleted in the physical body, the body becomes diseased and gradually expires.
What Are Digestive Enzymes And What Do They Do
Naturally occurring digestive enzymes are proteins that your body makes to break down food and aid digestion. Digestion is the process of using the nutrients found in food to give your body energy, help it grow and perform vital functions.
When you eat a meal or a snack, digestion begins in the mouth, explains Denhard. Our saliva starts breaking down food right away into a form that can be absorbed by the body. There are a lot of different points in the digestive process where enzymes are released and activated.
Your stomach, small intestine and pancreas all make digestive enzymes. The pancreas is really the enzyme powerhouse of digestion. It produces the most important digestive enzymes, which are those that break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
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Digestive Enzymes: Should You Take Them
Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
Are you trying to repair a leaky gut? Do you suffer from chronic digestive issues such as gas, bloating, indigestion, or constipation? Do you experience reflux after a meal? Or do you see pieces of undigested food or a fatty substance in your stool? If so, your body may not be producing enough digestive enzymes, or your enzymes may not be working as well as they should. This is a common issue I see in my patients with chronic disease.
So what are digestive enzymes, and what causes enzyme deficiency? Most importantly, how can you maintain healthy levels of digestive enzymes and support your body with Complete Enzymes?
Why Trust Verywell Health
A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, including digestive enzymes. I spent time reviewing the most current research on digestive enzyme supplementation, and I looked at multiple brands and products. I believe the supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that are devoted to product purity and are composed of high-quality ingredients. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN
Seasoned health writer Jennifer Nied also contributed to this article.
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