Papaya Enzyme Tablets – There are many claims relating to digestive enzymes recently, that they can do everything from curing depression to helping you lose weight. Behind all of these claims, I believe, is the growing awareness that what we eat not only affects our bodies, but also our thoughts and moods.
But what happens if your digestive system does not damage healthy food effectively? Because your body uses essential nutrients, the inability to break down food effectively can affect your entire body in many ways. However, there are some common symptoms that you might notice if your digestion is disturbed:
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Symptoms are similar to irritable bowel syndrome
Diarrhea or constipation
Feel bloated for days at a time
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Foods that are not digested in feces
Steatorrhea (floating feces)
Feel full after only a few bribes
Food allergies and intolerance
What do enzymes do?
Enzymes are the way the body breaks down food into the nutrients needed to function. At each stage of digestion – from the mouth to your large intestine – different enzymes are released which help break down different nutrients. Lingual lipase, for example, begins to break down fat in the mouth, with gastric lipase taking over tasks in the stomach, and so on.
If there is a part of the digestive tract that is lacking in the right enzymes, your food will not be damaged properly and you will start to get a heavy bloating in your stomach.
Why don’t you have enough enzymes?
There are many potential causes. Some common ones include:
Low stomach acid – Gastric acid is needed to break down food, kill pathogens, and activate certain enzymes. Drugs that reduce stomach acid are some of the most prescribed in the UK – used to treat almost all acute digestive problems such as stomach ulcers or indigestion.
Chronic stress – When anxious or stressed the body prepares to protect itself by moving the blood supply from the digestive area to your limbs, making you ready to fight or run (fight-or-flight response). If you are chronically stressed your body will never return to the relaxing (rest-and-digest) mode needed for digestion.
Aging – The amount of digestive enzymes decreases with age. It’s not entirely clear whether this is really natural or whether it is a buildup of other problems, such as long-term stress.
Low-level digestive tract inflammation – Often caused by infection, food sensitivity, certain foods such as coffee, sugar and high-processed foods, or disorders of organisms that live in the intestine.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to correct an enzyme deficiency is by taking an enzyme supplement. This usually comes in tablet form, to be swallowed or chewed about 30 minutes before eating.
There are three main sources of enzymes used in supplements. However, not all sources of enzymes are the same.
Pineapple and Papaya – Both sources contain enzymes that help break down proteins. They are vegan and, if you eat the fruit, contain other nutrients such as fiber and vitamins. But these enzymes can be difficult to make through hard stomach acid and only help break down protein.
Animal Resources – Although not friendly to vegans or veggie, these sources do contain enzymes needed to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the small intestine. Unfortunately, enzymes from these sources are unstable which limits their effectiveness.
Microbial Sources – These enzyme supplements are vegan and are vegan-friendly and contain all the key enzymes needed to break down food. An additional benefit of this enzyme is that they can help break down plant foods too. They are also very stable.
If you switch to a more plant-based diet or hope to lose weight through a healthy diet, the source of microbial enzymes is very useful. They also supplement enzymes that are produced naturally in the pancreas, rather than ‘putting aside’ natural systems.
In the end, the hope is that you can switch from supplements after your digestive enzymes are back in balance, so it’s better to take supplements that support your natural process rather than take over this process and potentially weaken your natural enzyme production.
What else can you do?
There are other things you can do to support the natural rebalancing process:
Reduce or eliminate foods that might cause intestinal inflammation from your diet.
Make sure you drink enough water (at least 1.5-2 liters a day).
Take time to eat your food by chewing more slowly and spending time relaxing after you eat.
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