Digestive enzymes are found in every living creature. These enzymes are used by the body to break down the chemical bonds in foods, allowing the various nutrients to be used to nourish the body. Digestive enzymes are found in saliva, the stomach and digestive tract, as well as in the cells. There are four different glands which secrete digestive enzymes: the salivary glands, glands in the stomach, the pancreas and a number of glands in the small intestines.
Why Supplemental Digestive Enzymes Are Needed
Raw foods contain a large number of digestive enzymes to help the digestive system process them. Many of these enzymes are lost when this food is cooked. Heavily processed foods also lose most of their digestive enzymes in the processing. Raw vegetables retain most of their nutritional value and digestive enzymes when they are steamed, however if you do not steam your vegetables you end up losing the beneficial digestive enzymes found naturally in them. Science has determined that foods lose digestive enzymes at a dry heat temperature of 150 degrees and a wet heat temperature of 118 degrees, during the cooking process. For this reason, fresh vegetables should only be lightly steamed until they are hot, yet still crispy.
Effects of a Lack of Digestive Enzymes
Many upper gastrointestinal tract complaints can be alleviated by maintaining healthy levels of digestive enzymes. Some of these include heartburn, gas, constipation and bloating. Proper levels of enzymes can also keep you from developing ulcers and allergies. If you find yourself constantly tired and lacking energy to get through the day, you may find that you need to supplement your body’s digestive enzymes. Also, if you find yourself getting sick, catching a cold or the flu easier than you used to, you might try a digestive enzyme supplement to help revive your immune system.
Because they help break down the foods we eat so the body can more fully process and use the nutrients in food, enzyme supplements can help to improve your health. When the body doesn’t have to produce and abundance of these digestive enzymes, it becomes able to rebuild and regenerate. This benefits your immune system. When you take digestive enzyme supplements, you will see decreased episodes of GERD/esophageal reflux and indigestion, experience less severe food allergies and find relief from lower back pain and sinusitis. Properly balanced levels of digestive enzymes will also help relief the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Increased Energy Levels
When your body’s systems don’t have to work overtime producing digestive enzymes, it becomes better able to repair itself and replenish your energy levels. Medical science states that 80 percent of your body’s energy usage goes toward the digestive process. This means that if you can help it out with supplemental digestive enzymes, there will be more energy to use towards constructive daily pursuits, such as work and exercise.