Do you need digestive enzymes? – Find out here!

What are digestive enzymes and how do they work?

Just as the name suggests, these are extremely important in regulating your internal processes. You have probably heard about digestive enzymes on countless of occasions, it is just that you have never wondered what they actually are. In order to better understand them, you have to understand the process behind them first.

You see, the body is extremely dependent upon the digestive system’s efficiency. If that one is faulty, it cannot successfully extract all the nutrients from the food it ingests. These digestive enzymes can greatly influence this aspect, which is why they are essential within a fully functional organism.

These digestive enzymes are mainly produced in the pancreas and the small intestine and they are the ones helping the body absorbing carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, as well as breaking down proteins and sugars whenever needed. It is one of the factors that has led to the creation of health supplements and super-foods containing digestive enzymes.

The major problem is precisely that that the body cannot properly function without them, which leaves us with a wide variety of health issues because of that. Soon, you will feel the difference, especially when you get older, and the body will fail to cope with the changes as it should.

But before going any further, let’s analyze them in more detail and see what we should know right from the beginning. Digestive enzymes are of many types, depending on where they can be found, as well as their purpose.


The digestion process begins in the mouth, as soon as we start masticating. The digestive enzyme present in the saliva is called amylase and its purpose is to break down starches into maltose and dextrin, to begin with. From that point on, the whole process continues onward.


This is where the gastric juices step in. We are talking about hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen, whose main role is to break down food and annihilate any potential harmful pathogens entering the organism. From that point on, this acid will convert pepsinogen into pepsin, which is a digestive enzyme that will take the digestive process even further. As you can see, this enzyme is strongly linked to the level of hydrochloric acid and any variation in the acid’s level will influence the development of the digestive enzymes in the stomach.

Small intestine

This is where the partially digested food ends up and the pancreas produced enzymes can get to work as soon as possible, taking the process even further. We are talking about trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase and lipase, to name just a few, whose role is to break down starches and dissolve fats into glycerol and fatty acids, among other things.

Large intestine

This is the final stage of the digestive process, where all the remaining substances will go through the last changes. It is where the water and sodium are absorbed as well, and the result is the mass of micronutrients that come out due to the extensive work of the intestinal flora and the digestive enzymes. What is left is transformed into natural residues and is ejected from the body as stool.

As you can see, there are several stages of the digestion and every one of them is crucial in the biological functioning.

What causes the problems?

This is something everybody should be aware of. Digestive enzymes are not something to take for granted, because in some cases the body can lack these useful agents. There are a wide variety of reasons for that, among which we mention:

  • Cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, or any other pancreatic failures.
  • Celiac or Crohn’s disease, or any other brush border dysfunction
  • The inflammation of the digestive tract due to several reasons like allergies, infections, parasitic problems and so on.
  • Aging, as it has been determined that advanced age equals a slower and less effective overall biological functioning.
  • Lower levels of stomach acid are usually assimilated with low levels of digestive enzymes
  • Elevated and consistent stress levels. This comes from the fact that the body can determine whether to rest or keep the digestive system up and running and it is all related to the brain activity. The elevated stress levels cause brain changes, in a sense that the brain forces the body to react to a “fight or flight” mechanism. In that moment, it will suspend the production of digestive enzymes, like it does with any other unnecessary process in a “siege” type situation.

This is a particularly important aspect, because it shows that we are not always in control and that there are certain ways by which our biological balance can be easily imbalanced, without us even realizing. Or realizing it too late for that matter.

What can we do?

As you can see, having a flawless internal balance is essential for a proper biological functioning. It is important to view the body as a puzzle. You have to have all the pieces together, put in order, if you want the puzzle to score its expected effect. Any piece missing and the puzzle’s message will be severely truncated.

So what is there to be done? How can we keep all the pieces of the puzzle together? There are several ways by which you can do that and this is something everybody should know. These steps we are going to talk about are within everyone’s reach and this is a great asset, because not everybody has time or money for professional care.

This being said, here are the most important aspects you should take into consideration:

Adopt a more balanced diet

In this regard, you have to take into account the following aspect. A paleo diet is greatly needed for a proper digestive functioning as it will reduce the body’s inflammatory response and it will keep the digestive tract clean and fully functioning. Aside from this, with the help of this diet, the enzyme inhibitors will be a thing of the past.

Avoid chronic stress

This is probably one of the most important aspects of all. Not only it will affect us at brain level, which, in return, will cause biological imbalances every day, but it urges us to live in a more rapid pace, without the time to properly digest the food we eat, for instance. It is a well known fact that our mental disposition can affect the overall functionality of the body.

Take supplements

This is an ever growing industry and for good reasons. This is because the health supplements or the superfoods you might have to take contain ray digestive enzymes and probiotics and they can provide you with a sufficient amount of nutrients in one bite. You could only get the equivalent only by consuming a lot of food, which is an asset, because these supplements provide you with a concentrated formula. It is all about efficiency.

However, before opting for a health supplement, you should take into account several aspects. First of all, you should consider its relevance on the market. If it is appreciated among the users, have a good reputation, it has been created by a trusted manufacturer and its formula has been proven to work, over time, then it is safe to say you can consume it.

This being said, stay informed and say healthy!

digestive enzymes benefits and side effects

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