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Digestive Enzymes: Why Enzymes Are Important to Health

It’s been said that we are what we eat. But, more accurately, we are what we absorb. The difference is digestion. And, a major factor in digestion are digestive enzymes.

Digestive enzymes are protein catalysts that speed up the break down (digestion) of raw material (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals) into smaller components (like amino acids, fatty acids, fiber and glucose) that can be absorbed (or not absorbed in the case of fiber) by your intestines.

While enzymes are not changed or destroyed after digestion, the enzymes speed the process of digestion. Enzymes also help build tissue from the absorbed particles. For enzymes to work effectively, they require enough vitamins and minerals.

Many enzymes are produced by the body for digestion. Enzymes also play a part in the running of your body and in the manufacturing of new tissue. There are also enzymes in raw foods that help start the digestion process. Scientists have identified over 75,000 different enzymes in humans and are still finding more.

Where Are Nutrients Digested?

eating photo

Photo by Sole Treadmill


The process of breaking down cell membranes begins in the mouth where food is chewed. This is why it is important to chew your food until it becomes mushy. This releases the nutrients within the cells and allows chemical digestion to begin.

Enzymes work in the mouth, stomach and small intestines to break apart proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Stomach acid breaks down cell membranes, and further digestion occurs in the small intestine.

The gallbladder introduces bile in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) which breaks down or emulsifies fats that may be coating other food particles. Bile also helps neutralize stomach acid. This allows enzymes from the pancreas to continue digestion. Your pancreas releases enzymes throughout the digestive tract to digest the foods you eat.

  • Enzymes start working in your mouth where the breakdown of carbohydrates begins. Carbohydrates continue to be digested in the stomach and small intestine.
  • Proteins are primarily digested in your stomach.
  • Fats begin the digestion process in the small intestine.

Got Poor Digestion?

Bloating is probably the most common symptom of poor digestion. Undigested food in the digestive tract will ferment creating gas and bloating.

And, poor digestion can cause more serious conditions. Starches ferment in the small intestine to produce alcohol which can product non-alcholic fatty liver disease.

Many people have one or more of the following symptoms, but often do not identify the cause a poor digestion.

Nausea photo

Photo by Sarah G…

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence, gas, bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux

Among the common causes or risk factors of poor digestion include:

  • Drugs

  • Antibiotics
  • Poisons
  • Improper pH along the digestive tract
  • Non-ideal temperature
  • Hormones
  • Aging

If you have the symptoms of poor digestion or have any of the common risk factors for poor digestion, you may want to consider taking digestive enzymes before meals to help ensure more complete digestion.

Great Overview of Digestive Enzymes

This video outlines the role enzymes play in digestion, and how taking an enzyme supplement may improve your overall digestive health.

Produced by Pendulum Swing Media
More videos at: pendulumswingmedia.com
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What Your Doctor Should Know About Food

Your doctor has probably received some nutrition information as part of a basic education. But when actually seeing patients in a clinical setting, nutrition is usually not considered in treating sickness.

Dr. Michael Klaper is an experienced M.D. and has some concerns about what he was taught in medical school. He has found that the causes of most diseases are not unknown and should not bewilder doctors. He believes that cause of most illness is the very foods we eat. He makes some good points and proposes a vegan diet.

vegan food photo

Photo by BadSwan

Many people today are wondering about their diet, the foods they regularly consume. Consuming animal muscle or other organs three times a day has resulted in a fast food industry that is making us sick. To supply all this meat animals are grown in industrial feedlot settings, injected with growth hormones and antibiotics, all of which are passed on to the humans who consume them.

It really it time that the medical industry begin to educating consumers about healthy eating and the sad effects of what we often call the “Standard American Diet.”

Watch Dr. Klaper talk about how a vegan diet can improve your life and well-being. He also addresses the issues of potential nutrient deficiencies while eating vegan.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me In Medical School About Nutrition

Many people are interested in getting the most nutrition from their foods. And, most people want to help not only themselves, but the environment and future generations. For this reason many people are turning to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Such a “green” lifestyle is becoming more popular.

This involves eating real foods. Dr. Klaper makes a good point that too many people are eating food-like substances that come in attractive, colorful boxes. These manufactured food-like substances are made to make your mouth water and make you feel good, not to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you require.

Real foods are potatoes not potato chips, corn not corn chips, apples not pop tarts,

There are many benefits of the vegan lifestyle where you eat real foods. Among them are:

  • Decrease in sugar levels. A diet of whole, real, foods has fiber that slows down the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. This helps moderate your sugar levels and reduces the insulin spike that drives sugar levels down to the point that you feed tired and sluggish.
  • Easier weight loss. An increase in carbohydrates in vegetables as well as a decrease in animal fats helps moderate your weight. The fact that you need to chew more means more energy is used in eating. This makes some fruits and vegetables have an overall negative calorie effect.
  • Lower fat content. Dairy products and meat have considerable fat content. Reducing fat content by eliminating meat and dairy can make a substantial difference to your health.
  • Avoids animal hormones and antibiotics. At a time when we are becoming more concerned about resistance to antibiotics and weight gain, a vegan diet has definite benefits. Most animals are raised in feed lots where they are given weight grain hormones increase their growth rate as well as antibiotics to reduce the spread of certain diseases. If you’re going to eat meat, buy organic meat.

A vegan diet offers you many health advantages. If you have not investigated being vegan, now before you come down with a chronic illness, is a good time to consider it. Be healthy.