For as much as they do, digestive enzyme supplements don’t get enough attention. We’re breaking down the benefits of using supplemental digestive enzymes to break down your meals.
What are digestive enzymes? Before we get into taking digestive enzymes, let’s talk about the ones we already naturally make. Digestive enzymes speed up your body’s processes of breaking down food into absorbable nutrients. In fact, the body begins to release these enzymes before food even enters your mouth. Yep, eating with your eyes is a real thing! The mouth begins to release enzymes to get the digestion process started, and continues to do so while you eat. As food moves through the digestive tract, it encounters more enzymes in the stomach and small intestine.
We make different types of digestive enzymes. Every enzyme has a different job. Here are the major ones and what they break down:
Sometimes we don’t make enough enzymes. Digestive enzyme insufficiency can lead to the impaired ability to break down certain foods, and thus affect the absorption of nutrients. The most common one you’re probably familiar with is lactose intolerance. In fact, two-thirds of the world’s population cannot make enough lactase to digest lactose, the milk sugar.1 Some individuals may also suffer from an insufficiency in other enzymes, which prevents them from effectively absorbing what they’re eating. So no matter how “good” someone is eating, they may not be absorbing all those nutrients if there is an enzyme insufficiency.
How can you tell if you need extra digestive enzymes? Signs and symptoms to look out for include (but are not limited to): abnormal bloating, gas, abdominal cramps/pains, seeing undigested food in the stool, acid reflux/heartburn, etc. This may be even more noticeable when eating raw plant foods. Let your healthcare professional know if these things apply to you!
Dr. Morrison has his own blend of digestive enzymes. Benezyme contains a comprehensive variety of 17 plant-based enzymes to support the digestion of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, as well as fiber and lactose. We recommend taking 1 to 2 capsules with the first bite of each meal or snack. If pills aren’t your thing, you can also open up the capsules and sprinkle the contents over food. Children and pregnant or lactating women should consult their healthcare provider prior to use.
Going beyond the enzymes.
Looking for the root cause of digestion issues can involve more than taking digestive enzymes. Our team of integrative practitioners is happy to help you identify the underlying causes of health imbalances, and the best foods and supplements to rebalance your system. Call our office to find out more: 212-989-9828.
- Definition & facts for lactose intolerance. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance/definition-facts. Accessed February 7, 2022.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat or cure any disease.