The Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

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The Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

Reading time - 6 mins

Digestive enzymes are an important part of the digestive process, as they assist in the breakdown of food, including protein, carbohydrates, and fats. This breakdown will help absorb those foods into the body, which are used as energy and assist the growth and repair of muscles and tissues.

You may have noticed that some of your favourite supplements have added digestive enzymes. These include plant-based protein powders, whey protein isolates, whey protein blends, weight gainers, and super greens powders.

So Why are Digestive Enzymes Necessary in Supplements?

Due to modern-day diets, everyday life stressors, imbalances in gut bacteria, and reduced secretion or production of digestive enzymes, choosing a supplement with added digestive enzymes or a separate digestive enzymes supplement can support the breakdown of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins.

For a protein to be used in the body for muscle growth, muscle recovery, production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and other vital functions, it must be broken down into smaller molecules, known as amino acids. Digestive enzymes help break down protein, helping the body better utilise those nutrients.

The main digestive enzymes include:

  • Amylase: Its primary function is to break down carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and pasta into simple sugar molecules.
  • Lipase:  Its main function is to break down fats such as cheeses, oils, and avocados into glycerol and fatty acids. It also helps to break down and utilise fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, and K.
  • Protease:  Its primary function is to break down protein, including meats, beans, and nuts, into amino acids.
  • Another important enzyme is alpha-galactosidase. Its main function is to break down oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, molecules mainly found in legumes, beans, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.
  • Some foods also contain naturally occurring digestive enzymes. These include papaya, kiwi fruit, pineapple, bananas, ginger, mango, avocado, kefir, and sauerkraut.

Who Can Benefit from Digestive Enzymes Supplementation?

Most people will benefit from digestive enzymes, but if you experience the following, adding a supplementation may help reduce your symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Excessive gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Constipation
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Fructose intolerance

woman heart belly

When Can Digestive Enzyme Supplementation be useful?

  • Plant-based protein powders – digestive enzymes can improve digestion and reduce bloating and cramping.
  • Whey protein powders – consuming digestive enzymes can help improve digestion and reduce bloating and cramping.
  • You have increased your calories to support the breakdown of extra food consumed to support digestion and reduce bloating or cramping
  • You are trying to maximise muscle gains to ensure protein is being broken down into amino acids and being utilised for muscle growth and repair

How to Take Digestive Enzymes?

Taking a digestive enzyme supplement works best when taken right before eating a meal or with a meal, as this will mimic how the body secretes enzymes during the digestive process.

To help support your digestion further, it is also important to sit down and eat your food slowly or ‘rest and digest’ to reduce bloating, cramping, or discomfort.

Main Takeaway:

Digestive enzymes are essential during the digestive process. Without them, we would be unable to break down carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and nutrients. If you are suffering from gut health issues, food intolerances or nutritional deficiencies, then supplementing with digestive enzymes can relieve symptoms, prevent dietary deficiencies, and support your health goals.

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