I want to provide a word of caution about digestive enzymes. Yes, they work. Yes, there are times when taking digestive enzymes might be beneficial. This may be especially true if you are eating an enzyme deficient diet, have been diagnosed with hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria, have a fungal infection, or are over 50 years of age and notice that your digestion simply is not what it used to be. If you do not fall into one of these categories, you should be careful.
Ideally, it would be best if you were consuming an enzyme-rich diet consisting of whole/live foods with all of the enzymes present to promote their own breakdown (think of an apple that turns brown after biting into it). Then you would chew it thoroughly, which then mixes with your enzyme-rich saliva. Then it enters your enzyme-rich stomach, where it is eventually mixed with bile, pancreatic enzymes, and an abundance of hydrochloric acid. Then, of course, your food moves into your intestines, where it is broken down further by the bacteria and then eventually absorbed into the body.
If your diet resembles something close to what I have suggested in my other health articles (a healthy diet), the chances are good that your pancreas is already providing all the digestive enzymes you need. If you take digestive enzymes unnecessarily, you risk becoming dependent or even hindering bile and pancreatic enzyme production prematurely. That could be a significant problem for some.
If you are looking for a way to increase your digestion naturally, start by simply drinking a large glass of clean water about 15-20 minutes before eating. This method floods your stomach with water, which dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Your body then recognizes the need and naturally increases the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes, which will help your digestion. Then, during your meal, avoid drinking too much of anything. Doing so will ensure your stomach acid is not diluted when the acidity is needed most.
If the preceding recommendation doesn’t work for you or you insist on taking digestive enzymes because you’ve read somewhere that they can help, you should know a couple of things. Not all enzymes are necessary, and not all digestive enzyme supplements are created equal. For digestion, you will want to ensure that you get a supplement that has Lipase, Bromelain, and Amylase. These are responsible for breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and protein. An added benefit is that they help destroy preservatives.
I hope this helps.
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This article was adapted from a chapter in the book Natural Health Made Easy: The Briobiotic Protocol (2016)
Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.