Want to know what to look for in your digestive enzymes? Clients are always asking what supplements they should be taking to improve their digestion. That can be a loaded question depending on what symptoms they may be experiencing.
Although, it’s important to realize that the digestion of food must first be broken down into its component parts in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Salivary secretions, chewing, gastric acid, and pepsin begin the process of digestion, and then the majority of digestion takes place farther down the gastrointestinal tract in the small intestine. Once food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, digestive enzymes begin the monumental task of turning it into the building blocks and fuel that the body needs for structural support and metabolic processes.
How Digestive Enzymes are Produced
Digestive enzymes are produced primarily in the pancreas and brush border of the small intestine, and the health and function of these organs is vital to effective digestion and absorption. Proteolytic enzymes, amylases, and lipases are responsible for the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The complete digestion of these macronutrients produces small peptides, amino acids, monosaccharides and disaccharides, and free fatty acids that can easily pass through the intestinal microvilli and enter the bloodstream.
Healthy digestion assures that incompletely digested molecules and proteins don’t enter the bloodstream where they may be recognized as “foreign” by a vigilant immune system (presenting issues like “leaky gut”).
The enzyme lactase is required to break down lactose into glucose and galactose before the intact lactose can draw excess water into the bowel, and before colonic bacteria can break it down into volatile gases and acids. Though lactose (a disaccharide found only in mammals’ milk) is readily digested by most infants, normal production decreases as a child is weaned onto whole foods and may eventually cease in adulthood. Exogenous administration of lactase can support lactose digestion effectively and allow for continued consumption of milk based products.
Digesting plant compounds and proteins
There are several principle digestive enzymes as well as a complement of enzymes designed to break down plant compounds and fibers that humans would otherwise have trouble to digest. Raffinose and melibiose, carbohydrates commonly found in legumes, can be broken down by the intestinal enzyme alphagalactosidase. In the absence of this enzyme, these carbohydrates pass into the large intestine, where microbes can ferment and produce gas (which beans are known for).
Exogenous administration of alpha-galactosidase, supports the digestion of these plant-based compounds and has been used safely and effectively. Beta-glucanase, hemicellulase, pectinase, xylanase, and dipeptidyl peptidase (DPPIV) are also present and improve the digestibility of plant-based foods by breaking down plant cell walls, fibers, and proteins. Phytase is present to facilitate the breakdown of indigestible phytates from grains and seeds, and release phosphorus, calcium, inositol, and other nutrients for absorption. Bromelain and papain offer additional support for protein digestion. The enzyme invertase catalyzes sugar to glucose and fructose.
Oz Garcia Supplement – Digest Can Help
Digest is a non-prescription, broad-spectrum, digestive enzyme formula suitable for vegans and designed to support the digestion of fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and lactose. This comprehensive formula contains lipase, proteases, alpha-galactosidase, hemicellulase, papain, lactase, and other key digestive enzymes. Digest works in a wide pH range—unlike porcine pancreatin, which works in a narrow pH range.