Enzymes are irreplaceable when it comes to the human body. Enzymes work to speed up certain reactions in the human body. Specifically I want to discuss digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes can be found in foods you eat and some are made in the body from certain building blocks. Made mostly of amino acids, there are other components called co-enzymes (think co-enzyme Q10) that are non-amino acid parts that can make reactions go faster on their own. Vitamins also can be parts of an enzymatic complex.
Enzymes are vital in the breakdown and assimilation of the foods we eat. While they are used in other reactions in the body, for the purpose of this listing, we’ll stick to the basic digestive enzymes.
Ptyalin is the main enzyme in saliva. It is also called amylase. This enzyme breaks down foods’ carbohydrates into simple sugars. There are also antibacterial enzymes present to keep the bacterial balance in the mouth. Some of the other compounds mixed in the food here do not become active until they hit the stomach acid.
In the stomach the main liquid moving digestion and reactions along is hydrochloric acid. The main enzyme active here is pepsin, which breaks down protein. However, without proper hydrochloric acid, pepsin is never made from its inactive precursor. Do you see why inhibiting the acid production in your stomach may not be a good long-term solution to your digestive complaints? While short term use of OTC antiacids and popular prescriptions to stop stomach acid production can give short term relief to allow the stomach (and/or esophogeal lining) to heal, it dampens the gut’s ability to digest and absorb various proteins. Over the long haul it is possible to experience even more pain and indigestion due to impaired digestive capabilities.
In the small intestine pancreatic enzymes and bile mixes in to break down fats, proteins, DNA and RNA (that’s tiny protein fragments). It is important these components are broken down sufficiently enough in order for the foods we eat to be broken into small enough pieces to pass through the porous membranes of the small intestines.
When enzyme levels fall lower than normal, it is possible to supplement to aid the body’s functions.
Food Enzymes is a combination of enzymes offers more complete digestive support when taken with meals. This formula includes pepsin, which is used for pre-digesting proteins in the stomach. Betaine HCl helps create an acidic environment to facilitate the activity of pepsin. After food reaches the small intestine, the enzyme pancreatin further digests protein, carbohydrates and fats in the small intestine. Pancreatin also helps to support the pancreas. Alpha amylase digests starches. Bile salt makes fats soluble, preparing them for further digestion by lipase. The enzymes bromelain and papain aid in the digestion of proteins. Bromelain also offers other health-related benefits, including relaxing smooth muscles and supporting joint health.
Proactazyme is a unique, general-purpose, food-enzyme supplement to assist in the everyday digestion of most food types, including sugars, vegetable fibers, long-chain starches and proteins. It contains plant-sourced enzymes in a digestion-enhancing herbal-base. It contains protease, amylase, glucoamylase, lipase, cellulase, hemicellulase, invertase, malt diastase, alpha galactosidase, peptidase, potassium, beet root fiber, caraway seed, dandelion root, fennel seed, gentian root and ginger rhizome.
Hi-Lipase is designed for people needing help digesting fats. Lipases are enzymes that assist in the breakdown of dietary fats. It contains potassium citrate, lipase, amylase, cellulase, protease, caraway seed, dandelion root, ginger rhizome, gentian root, fennel seed and red beet root fiber.
These are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to digestive health. Check back for more on this topic.