How to treat digestive enzyme deficiency?Enzymes are vital substances in our body that help us live normally. These are specialized proteins that carry out different chemical reactions and without them, body reactions will not happen fast enough to give us life. Even sufficient vitamins and minerals or balanced hormones would not work without enzymes. This is why enzyme deficiency is a major problem and has to be treated as soon as possible.
The process of digestion is not simple as there are many chances for hiccups throughout the course. Eating fast, not chewing properly and digestive enzymes deficiency can negatively affect the digestion process.
What are Digestive Enzymes
Our body makes about 22 digestive enzymes that are responsible for digesting carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sugars. Food digestion has stages which start from the mouth, to the stomach and to the small intestines. Every stage, there are certain enzymes that break down the food you take. For example, pepsin and trypsin are enzymes for digesting dietary proteins and lipase breaks down dietary fats.
Most of the natural-occurring digestive enzymes are in the pancreas which secretes digestive enzymes that finish the process of digestion. These break down further the protein, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and fats.
The small intestine is responsible for breaking down maltose to increase the process of absorption. The fats are then emulsified by gallbladder to make pancreatic lipase. Each phase of the digestion process is important in order to maximize the absorption of the nutrients. The digestive enzymes collect the essential nutrients that let the body in utilizing the building blocks of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals.
This process occurring in our digestive system also eliminates or decreases the presence or development of yeast, parasites ad bacteria.
The three main pancreatic enzymes our bodies produced are:
- Protease – enzymes for digesting proteins
- Amylases – enzymes for digesting carbohydrates
- Lipase – enzymes for digesting fats
Causes of Digestive Enzyme Deficiency
Digestive enzymes are responsible for breaking down the food we take in order for the body to absorb the essential nutrients. The body produces digestive enzymes naturally which are secreted along the digestive system. Raw and unprocessed foods as well as dietary supplements containing enzymes are able to help digestion.
There are many causes of digestive enzyme deficiency and everyone has experienced digestive problems. Some of the causes are stress, eating fast and consuming processed foods. Manufactured and processed foods have almost no enzymes because of homogenization and pasteurization that kill bacteria with high temperature but also eliminate enzymes. Even though our bodies can produce enzymes naturally, we also need enzymes from the food we consume.
Eating foods without enzymes pressures the pancreas to secrete more enzymes in order to break down foods well. To make this worse, processed and cooked foods are harder to digest than raw which gives so much pressure to the pancreas.
The ability of the body to secrete enough enzymes declines as the body ages. However, the rate of enzyme secretion can also decline if the body is not receiving enough nourishment from the food you consume. This means that enzyme production also rely on vitamins and minerals.
The more nutritious food you eat, the more enzymes you can produce. The more processed food or nutrient deficient food you consume, the less ability your body has to secrete enzymes which weakens the digestive system.
Symptoms of Digestive Enzymes
There are many health problems and symptoms caused by digestive enzyme deficiency.
Protease Deficiencies – Having protease deficiency means the body lacks protein which can result to improper absorption of calcium. The body needs enough protein to get more calcium and with protease deficiency, there is a higher chance to get brittle bones, sore and painful joints, arthritis, ear infections and osteoporosis.
Improper digestion of proteins can lead to toxic and acidic digestive tract. This can also lead to many symptoms such as bloated stomach, indigestion, inflammation of the colon and excessive gas. If not taken an action, it can result to severe disorders and have higher risk of acquiring colon cancer.
Protease enzymes also assist in eliminating bacteria, viruses and cleansing the blood. Lack of this enzyme weakens the immune system and the body has higher risk of acquiring gastrointestinal diseases and infections. Other symptoms of protease deficiency are:
- Low blood sugar
- Water retention
Amylase deficiencies – This enzyme is responsible for digesting carbohydrates and converting them in to glucose which is the body’s energy fuel. If your body lacks amylase, there is a high chance that the foods you take mostly consist of carbohydrates.
Amylase also assists in controlling inflammatory responses of the body. Amylase deficiency increases the chance of having skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and other allergic reactions. Some symptoms of amylase deficiencies are:
- Poor blood circulation (cold feet and hands)
- Chronic fatigue
- Bacterial infections (no response to antibiotics)
- Painful joints
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
Lipase deficiency – This enzyme is responsible for digesting fats. Lack of lipase increases your chance to become obese or diabetic. Of all foods, fats are the hardest to digest. People with lipase deficiencies should avoid fatty foods.
Lipase also assists the cells in absorbing essential nutrients while eliminating toxic waste. With lipase deficiency, the cells cannot absorb the nutrients properly. The level of toxic wastes also rises as it cannot be eliminated. This leads to many health illnesses such as diabetes. Other symptoms are:
Symptoms of multiple enzyme deficiencies are:
- Chronic allergies
- Irritable bowel
- Chronic fatigue
- Sinus infection
- Common colds
- Immune depressed conditions
If you find yourself craving for specific foods, there is a chance that you are lacking enzymes. Craving for specific food is a sign that you are not getting enough enzymes that it needs.
How to Treat Digestive Enzyme Deficiency Fast
Understanding the importance of digestive enzymes will help you get to the right path. You will have to make sure that your body can get the nutrients they need in order to protect your overall health and prevent chronic health problems.
Foods naturally have the enzymes our body needs in order to digest properly. However, pasteurization and cooking can decrease the enzymes or eliminate them totally. It can take some time to get the enzymes back in your body. Change of lifestyle is also necessary for those who have digestive enzyme deficiency due to bad habits.
Here are the solutions to overcome digestive enzyme deficiency:
- Eat more raw, natural, clean and fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains. There is no need to become a vegetarian. It is important to consume raw foods. More importantly, eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits every day. It is best to eat organic fruits and vegetables to get the most benefits. Greens should make up more than half of your plate. The cellulose from leafy vegetables attaches to toxic bile and flushes them right away.
- Foods rich in enzymes are pineapples, kiwi, papaya, melons, mango, avocado, raw honey, grapes, fermented vegetables, bee pollen, kefir and wheat grass.
- Chew your food until it is liquid. Most people tend to eat quickly because of work and other tasks. However, it is important to take your time to eat and chew. This allows your body to easily absorb the essential nutrients while keeping your body relaxed. Chewing properly mixes the food with saliva enzymes and enhances the process of digestion.
- Make vegetable juice. You can easily consume your organic foods by mixing them. Juicing vegetables lets you get the enzymes, chlorophyll, vitamins and micronutrients.
- Limit eating cooked food as these can kill enzymes. As much as possible, eat raw vegetables and fruits. If there is a need to cook, use only the lowest temperature to keep some amount of enzymes in the food.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drink the mixture every morning or every night with an empty stomach for 30 days. This allows your liver and bladder to function well while assisting healthy bile flow.
- Drink a glass of water 15 to 20 minutes before eating. Doing this will hydrate your stomach which encourages it to secrete more hydrochloric acid. It also increases bile flow as well as pancreatic enzymes. Drink room-temperature water 15 to 20 minutes before meal.
- Use coconut oil for cooking. Coconut oil is rich with medium-chain triglycerides and can stimulate the secretion of lipase enzyme. This can make easier fats digestion. If you need to cook using oil, coconut oil is the best alternative and make sure to use lower temperature to prevent destruction of the enzymes.
- Leave 20 percent space in the stomach. You can follow the body ecology principle of 80/20 which means that leave 20% space in your stomach. This allows digestive enzymes to perform their tasks properly.
- Drink ginger tea. According to many researches, ginger root stimulates brush border enzymes while increasing the function of pancreatic enzymes. They stimulate bile flow and they also contain zingibain enzyme that digests protein. To get the best results, it is recommended to drink ginger tea after meals or before going to bed.
- Drink 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar 15 to 20 minutes before meal. Drinking apple cider vinegar allows the production of your natural enzyme going.
Digestive Enzyme Supplements
There are many digestive enzyme supplements available in the market. Unless one has digestion problems, taking digestive enzyme supplements is not needed. But the reducing nutrient supply in the body and arrival of diseases, a little help from supplements could not hurt.
Digestive enzyme supplements are getting popular nowadays. People who also have these conditions below have good reasons to take enzyme supplements.
Age-Related Enzyme Deficiency – As people age, the production of natural enzymes decreases. The acidity of the stomach acid becomes alkaline which means to higher risk of improper secretions of the pancreas. Age also have higher chance to have digestive problems that may result to lower stomach acid as well as enzyme deficiency.
Digestive Problems – If someone has digestive problems such as bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, malabsorption, diverticulitis, constipation or ulcerative colitis, taking digestive enzymes supplements can help the stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, liver as well as the small intestine in breaking down fats, proteins, sugar and carbohydrates.
Hypochlorhydria – Not only the elderly suffer from too little stomach acid or hypochlorhydria. In addition to the problem of low level of stomach acid, these acids are also not able to break down the food for the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Since micronutrients are released from the food when in the stomach, failing to absorb them can result to enzymatic deficiency.
Liver disease – People with liver problems often have enzyme deficiency. One of the common conditions is the alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
How Digestive Enzyme Supplements Help
Using digestive enzyme supplements can alleviate major symptoms while maintaining proper weight. These supplements can also improve energy levels and allow individuals to eat more nutritious foods. Some of the most recommended digestive enzyme supplements are:
- Vitalzym Digest
- Assist Full Spectrum
- Assist Dairy and Protein
- Digestive Health
Digestive enzymes are vital in our life as these are responsible for breaking down the food that we eat as well as the absorption of the essential nutrients in order to keep the body healthy and strong. The primary reason of digestive enzyme deficiency is lifestyle and the foods we consume.
Since our bodies may not produce enough enzymes for better digestion, it is important to eat properly and consume foods rich with enzymes such as pineapple, kiwi and ginger. Eat fermented vegetables and foods rich in vitamin C and C as these are packed with enzymes. Changing your lifestyle can also help your digestive system.
As much as possible, always eat raw fruits, vegetables as well as nuts. Eating less processed or cooked food can also help your body significantly. Although taking supplemental enzymes is also an easy way to provide your body the enzymes in needs, it is important to build good habits and improve your digestion.