Enzymes are foundational to all life on Earth. Without them, thousands of metabolic processes wouldn’t be possible – metabolic processes that ensure our bodies have the energy and materials they need to function optimally.
They’re also needed all over the body, so it’s critical that they’re replenished. And as you age, it’s even more important that you address your enzyme levels with oral supplementation.
What Do Enzymes Do?
Enzymes are proteins responsible for facilitating chemical reactions in the body, and there are thousands of enzymes for thousands of jobs. Each enzyme is dedicated to a single process in the body, including vital processes that assist with the following:
- Creating muscle tissue
- Enabling nerve function
- Facilitating breathing
- Enabling cell division
- Removing toxins
In addition to the above, enzymes are also essential for the digestion process. And like with other enzymes, there is a huge variety of metabolic enzymes that each serve a single purpose. Some of those digestive enzymes include:
- Protease – digests proteins
- Lipase – digests fats
- Amylase – digests starches and glycogen
- Lactase – digests lactose (milk sugar)
- Glucoamylase – digests starches
These digestive enzymes work together to break down the foods we eat. Without sufficient numbers of them, our gut has issues completely digesting food and unlocking the nutrients inside of them. This can result in poor energy levels and chronic gut disorders that produce bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.
Where Do We Get Enzymes From?
We’re all born with a unique composition of digestive enzymes, and while we’re young, our bodies can replace the enzymes we lose with normal enzyme turnover. The digestive enzymes we require for survival are created from other enzymes that use our diet as raw material.
That means to create the proteins that function as enzymes, our bodies require amino acids – the building blocks of proteins. Some of these amino acids are also synthesized by our bodies, but some are “essential” amino acids, which means we must acquire them through our diet.
It’s important to consume a diet that’s rich in protein and a full spectrum of amino acids. However, as we age, our bodies become less efficient at producing new digestive enzymes. This is partly why adults, starting in their 30s, are more likely to develop gut-related issues. With fewer digestive enzymes to work with, it’s more difficult for our bodies to fully digest the food we consume.
When enzyme levels are low enough that digestive issues are present, many people decide to supplement with oral enzymes to boost their levels.
What Types of Enzymes Can People Get From Supplements?
Supplementing with oral enzymes can help restore proper gut function, and it’s safe for the overwhelming majority of people. Oral supplementation is like most other forms of supplementation – merely take the supplement with a glass of water. Ideally, this is done prior to mealtimes so the enzymes are available when food is present in the gut.
A large number of enzymes can be successfully supplemented, including:
In addition to those enzymes, which are naturally present in the human gut, oral supplementation can also deliver the following enzymes:
- Phytase – helps digest the phytic acid (unusable phosphorous) found in many plant tissues.
- Cellulase – digests cellulose, an organic polysaccharide found in plant cell walls.
- Pectinase – digests pectin, another organic polysaccharide found in plant cell walls.
- Alpha-galactosidase – digests compounds left over by red blood cell recycling.
- Diastase – digests starches and breaks them down into maltose.
- Invertase – breaks down sucrose into fructose and glucose for easier digestion.
- Hemicellulase – breaks down hemicellulose, which is present in a variety of fiber-rich plant materials.
This second set of enzymes enables our gut to better digest plant material and allow for better nutrient uptake. As much of the plant material we consumer is ingestible, these enzymes ensure proper waste elimination and prevent partially digested foods from remaining in the gut.
What Are the Benefits of Supplementing Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are one of the most popular options for oral supplementation, and there are several reasons why. For example, supplementing digestive enzymes can:
- Replace the enzymes we lose through age, diet and stress – As we age, our bodies become less efficient at replacing lost enzymes. Poor dietary choices and chronic stress can also influence gut enzyme levels. Oral supplementation can boost these enzyme levels in people who no longer have the levels they need for proper digestion.
- Provide relief from a variety of gastrointestinal disorders – Poor digestion can result in bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and other GI problems. Some of these issues are chronic in people with reduced enzyme levels. Oral supplementation can help mitigate the effects of these conditions.
- Help with regular waste and toxin removal – The body removes a lot of toxins and waste products through digestion, and digestive enzymes are essential to that process. With oral supplementation, better waste and toxin removal is possible.
- Support the body’s overall health – Efficient digestion unlocks more nutrients and removes more waste from the body. Together, this can help your body achieve better energy levels and ensure every cell gets the materials it needs to function optimally.
Enzymes Are Essential for Life, and Essential for Whole-body Health
Enzymes are needed for thousands of processes in the human body, including digestive enzymes foundational to nutrient uptake and maintaining energy levels. However, many people don’t have the digestive enzymes they need for proper gut function. This can be due to age, diet, or other factors, but in every case, oral supplementation is recommended. By orally supplementing digestive enzymes, you can improve digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste elimination. That means better overall health.
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