How well do you know your digestive enzymes?

Human bodies are a complex collection of many different individual parts and systems, each of which must work together in harmony to support good health and wellbeing. Your digestive system plays an important role in the functioning of your body as a whole, helping to ensure you get the nutrients you need from your daily food intake.

There are several key components in the digestive system that are important for normal function. The intestines are one of these, but did you know that certain digestive enzymes play a big role as well?

These small proteins can have a big effect on how your digestive system works, helping it to break down the foods and beverages you consume every day.

What are digestive enzymes and how do they work?

All enzymes are a type of catalyst, meaning they are essential for prompting certain reactions in the body. This includes digestion as well as other processes such as blood clotting. Enzymes are needed for almost all functions of the body and can be found in various organs and cells, such as the bloodstream, intestinal fluids, saliva and gastric juice in the stomach.

The human digestive system utilises several parts of the body, such as the small and large intestines and the mouth. These secrete special digestive enzymes that help us to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats from our foods.

This enzyme secretion occurs in reaction to certain signals – for example, seeing or smelling a delicious plate of food. The secretion intensifies as we begin to taste and eat our food, and different types of digestive enzymes work to break down the various nutrients in each item of food.

For example, amylase is the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, essentially turning starches into sugars. It is found in the saliva and pancreatic juices.

Meanwhile, protease (also known as pepsin) and hydrochloric acid work to to digest proteins efficiently, and lipase enzymes break down any fats present in our food. Protease is found in the gastric and pancreatic juices (depending on the type) while lipase is also secreted through the pancreatic juice.

Together, these enzymes work with the larger components of the human digestive system to ensure the body can make use of each nutrient in the food matter.

Supporting your digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes do a great job at breaking down the various food groups you eat every day, but insufficient enzyme production can take a toll on your digestive health. A diet filled with processed, sugary, fatty and otherwise unhealthy foods can affect the normal function of your natural digestive enzymes.

Certain substances such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats can be more difficult to break down. If something breaks the structure of amino acids in the digestive enzyme, it can become denatured – this means its shape has changed, and it is unable to function as it should.

If you have an enzyme deficiency, you may experience a range of symptoms such as constipation, bloating, cramping, flatulence and more. Certain substances found in nature can help – for example, bromelain (found in pineapples) can support proper digestion and alleviate the symptoms of poor digestive health.

Ginger is also renowned for its ability to help those suffering from indigestion or flatulence.

If you are concerned about the state of your digestive system, turning to natural sources for a solution can help you with your symptoms.

Nature’s Own Digestive Ease contains a comprehensive combination of beneficial plant derived enzymes including Amylase, Protease & Lipase to help break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Radiance DigestEzyme – Super Papaya Enzyme is made from 100% natural ingredients including papaya, melon, enzymes, peppermint oil and chlorophyll. These delicious chewable tablets are designed to aid the digestion of food and support intestinal comfort after meals. Buy them both now from our secure on-line shop.

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Do you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, for example bloating? Do you know what foods usually cause these symptoms?

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Sources

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002353.htm

http://ibs.about.com/od/ibsglossaryae/g/Digestive-Enzymes.htm

http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/Contexts/Digestion-Chemistry/Looking-Closer/Digestive-enzymes

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/21/enzymes-special-report.aspx