June 03 2022 – Jack Riess
Are you troubled by heartburn, constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Do you need help with a gassy stomach? Are you embarrassed by frequent flatulence? Does diarrhea leave you tethered to your bathroom? Does your body have trouble fighting inflammation? Are you in a constant struggle with arthritis or cancer?
Chances are you’re experiencing enzyme depletion connected with aging. But you don’t have to put up with those conditions that are spoiling the quality of your life.
Thanks to modern research, there is an easy solution. Find out how you can end your suffering and regain your youthful appearance.
Be one of the thousands who have discovered the healing powers of digestive enzyme supplements!
Understanding the Importance of Digestive Enzymes and Aging Effects
Let’s face it. As much as we all hate aging, it’s a natural process. There’s not a lot we can do about it. However, when we look at physical, emotional, and mental parts of the aging process, there are some intervention strategies.
One major change is the amount and configuration of enzymes involved in the digestive process. As food passes from the mouth, through the digestive system, it is converted to energy by digestive chemicals.
Unfortunately, as we age, our ability to convert foods efficiently suffers. This can cause such health problems as: Irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, ulcers, malnutrition, fatigue and a general feeling of discomfort and bloating.
What are enzymes?
Like other catalysts the job of an enzyme is to speed up or increase the efficiency of converting food to energy.
Digestive enzymes are based on what they target. For example:
Peptidases which breakdown proteins and amino acids into more usable peptides.
Lipases divide fats into more manageable fatty acids.
While amylases take starches and sugars into simple sugars and glucose.
According to Scott Porter’s article, “Digestive and Systemic Enzymes Keep Us Alive and Healthy” (http://www.sandpointsuperdrug.com/digestive-and-systemic-enzymes-keep-us-alive-healthy/) while we rarely speak of them there actually over 3,000 enzymes already identified by researchers. Medical experts hypothesized in the 2016 Frontiers in Chemistry article “Whither Enzymology in the Twenty-First Century” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4840212/) that there may well be as many as 50,000 enzymes as yet unidentified.
Digestive enzymes are just one of three types of enzymes.
Metabolic enzymes are produced within our bodies. They help blood, organs, and tissues work more efficiently. They also help cells grow, repair themselves, and maintain good health.
Food-based enzymes are important for the general running of your body. They do such things as improve oxygen absorption, fight infections; reduce inflammation; carry out toxic wastes; dissolve blood clots. They also assist in regulating hormones and slow the aging process.
The Importance of Effective Digestion
Digestion is a process of breaking down the food we ingest. The goal is to extract from the food essential nutrients which are bodies need to function.
This process begins at the moment food enters our mouths. In fact, it occurs even earlier than that. According to Paul Breslin’s May, 2013 article “An Evolutionary Perspective on Food and Human Taste” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213004181) in Current Biology digestion starts as soon as our bodies senses—taste, smell, sight—perceive food that is pleasing. Breslin contends that senses release amylase and lipase in anticipation of our ingesting something we perceive to be pleasant.
Each one of these enzymes has a specific job in the process of turning your food into valuable energy.
Without enzymes, the best food in the world will not nourish your body. It is crucial to have the right amounts of these enzymes in your system.
What you eat, the amount you eat, and how effectively it is digested are all vital to your health.
Here’s an example. The American Heart Association states in the newsletter “New Statistics Show One in Every Three US Deaths Caused by Cardiovascular Disease” (https://news.heart.org/new-statistics-show-one-of-every-three-u-s-deaths-caused-by-cardiovascular-disease/). They cite 2016 Heart and Stroke Statistics (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/12/16/CIR.0000000000000350).
The root causes are: poor nutrition; obesity; lack of exercise; foods prepared by frying and other unhealthy cooking styles.
In essence, the Western world does not live a healthy lifestyle. Diet is a major factor. The article concludes that 80 percent of deaths in America are diet-related.
What part do enzymes play? When food is processed and/or sugary and heavily prepared this halts enzyme action. Food that is cooked at high temperatures halts digestive health. An article by Franzika Spritzler, “How Cooking Affects Nutrient Value of Foods” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooking-nutrient-content) in Health Line cites a study by Carmody and Wrangram entitled “Cooking and the Human Commitment to High-Quality Diet” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19843593)
When cooking temperatures are high and/or cooking processes are heavy, the body is forced to use foods which should rightfully be used for producing metabolic enzymes. This “robbing Peter to pay Paul” can have serious digestive outcomes.
Aging and Digestive Enzymes
What happens to enzyme production as we age? Researchers have discovered that our bodies become less efficient at enzyme production. An article, “The Connection between Aging and Digestive Enzymes” (http://genf20plus.info/the-connection-between-aging-and-digestive-enzymes.php) in Gen20Plus notes that this slump begins as early as twenty.
The study “Nutrition Concerns for Aging Populations” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK51837/) goes on to show that by age forty, enzyme production efficiency could be decreased as much as 25 percent by age 40.
By ages sixty or seventy, we experience a marked decrease in enzyme production. A study in Return 2 Health, “The Rise…and Fall of Digestive Enzymes” (http://www.return2health.net/articles/riseand-fall-digestive-enzymes/) hypothesizes that one cause may be the fact that hypochloric acid production decreases with age. This acid is vital to stimulation of the enzymes essential to digestion in the stomach.
What happens when enzymes are low? Foods are not efficiently digested. Thus the body cannot use all the nutrients it ingests. Malnutrition occurs. The end result of a lack of digestive enzymes may well be: increased colds, flu, liver disease, diabetes, hypertension, weakened immunity, fibromyalgia and depression.
It is a vicious circle as noted in an article in Aging Care.com, “The Aging Digestive System: Maintaining Gut Health as You Age” (https://www.agingcare.com/articles/the-aging-digestive-system-maintaining-gut-health-as-you-age-211926.htm) . Age decreases enzyme efficiency. Enzyme insufficiency speeds up the aging process.
Why is it so Important to Maintain Adequate Digestive Enzymes?
Research has shown us what can happen when the digestive enzymes do not allow adequate digestion. An article in Enzyme Science, “Food Intolerance: A Result of Enzyme Inefficiency or Deficiency” (https://enzyscience.com/blogs/news/32735747-food-intolerance-a-result-of-enzyme-insufficiency-or-deficiency) Dr. Mamadu points out that the body’s inability to accept a food can result in such conditions as: vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, intestinal imbalance, dysbiosis, and inflammation.
Eventually, food intolerance can lead to weakness, fatigue and increased susceptibility to diseases.
Because of these concerns, dietitians are making a conscious decision to supplement the body’s enzymes through healthy practices as we age.
Suggestions for boosting enzyme production include:
Eating more raw foods.
Raw fruits and vegetables allow the eater to get more enzymes from what they eat. Raw foods demand that your body create more digestive enzymes. Good raw food choices include: raw dairy products, papaya, avocado, pineapple, extra virgin olive oil.
When you eliminate calories, you stimulate your body to produce more enzymes.
Chewing food more thoroughly.
Health experts note the value of well-chewed food. This is supported in Dr. Marcola’s article, “7 Reasons to Properly Chew Your Food” (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/chewing-foods.aspw) When food is well chewed, he notes, , saliva production is stimulated. This allows enzymes there to work and lessens the work that must be done by the stomach and intestines later in the digestive process.
Thanks to modern medicine, you can now get supplements for almost anything your system lacks. Yes! That includes supplements for those decreasing digestive enzymes. It’s simple. You just take them whenever you eat. These supplements—if taken without food--go from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. Taken with food, they help to make digestion of food more efficient. These are called oral systemic enzymes.
Basically, these supplements help your body make up for the shortfall of enzyme production in your body.
As we age, many of us suffer from gas, flatulence, and a general feeling of stomach upset. It’s all part of less efficient digestion caused by enzyme depletion. Imagine what would happen if you could regulate those enzymes. Just think of how you’d feel if you could boost your immunity to diseases and fight inflammations like arthritis.
Manufacturer of enzyme supplements tout all sorts of miracles—including cures for cancer.
From where do these miracle supplements come? Many of them are manufactured from animal organs. Others are plant-based. Papaya is a favorite.
How effective are these enzyme supplements? Do they live up to their reputation? Tamara Duker Frueman in her article “Digestive Enzymes: Help or Hype?” (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/04/23/digestive-enzymes-help-or-hype) points out that as food intolerances increase, digestive enzyme supplements have become increasingly popular. Ms. Frueman notes that satisfied consumers insist that what is termed as “digestion support” relieves their discomfort. Those with gluten intolerance claim they can now eat such things as bread and pasta and be symptom free. Little wonder enzyme supplement are being heralded as miracle substances.
Whereas those with inflammation issues had to take steroids with their sometimes severe side effects, enzyme supplements are being used as non-steroidal substitutes and alternatives for anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
The safest and often most effective enzyme supplements are all natural.
As with anything you take, talking to your doctor should be your first step. There is a chance that enzyme supplements can interact with other medications.
So who benefits most from enzyme supplements? It depends on who has the most debilitating side effects from enzyme depletion and for whom enzyme supplements produce the most dramatic relief.
Here are some examples: those who have gluten issues including Celiac disease would insist that being able to eat foods with gluten and digest foods effectively is nothing short of a miracle.
If the pain and inflammation of arthritis is eased by enzyme supplements that don’t have the harsh side effects of other anti-inflammatories and steroids, those sufferers would call enzyme supplements a godsend.
People who suffer from cystic fibrosis have had their pain and discomfort eased by enzymes which combat pancreatic insufficiency.
If you are lactose intolerant, a lactase enzyme supplement may help breakdown and aid in the absorption of milk sugars. Suddenly, dairy products can be consumed without discomfort.
Vegans and people on high-fiber diets often get digestive assistance from plant-based enzyme supplements which help break down fiber, alleviating such side effects as bloating, gas, flatulence, and constipation.
What are the Downsides to Digestive Enzyme Supplements?
It’s easy to jump on a band wagon. Compared to the cost and side effects of other medicines and natural substances, digestive enzyme supplements seem like the perfect solution. Is there a downside?
Some gastroenterologists scoff at the necessity for supplements. Their claim is that these supplements are digested long before they could assist existing enzymes.
Moreover, noted New York gastroenterologist, Eric Goldstein cautions in “Digestive Enzyme Supplements” (https://www.chino.k12.ca.us/cms/lib8/CA01902308/Centricity/Domain/3697/Digestive%20Enzymes%20Help%20or%20Hype.pdf) that using plant-based enzyme supplements can have little to no effect on digestion because they lack enteric coating needed for absorption in the intestines. He also notes that these enzyme supplements are not regulated by the FDA. He suggests that, instead of jumping on the enzyme supplement bandwagon, you chew food more thoroughly and get tested for food intolerances instead of assuming you’ve got them and looking for a quick fix. He also states that we should all use common sense—as our forefathers did—and simply avoid foods that bother our digestive system.
Dr. Bauer at the Mayo clinic in an interview with US News (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/04/23/digestive-enzymes-help-or-hype) commented that, like many dietary supplements, enzyme supplements have become so popular because it’s human nature to look for something to stop discomfort. He admits that sales have literally gone through the roof. He cautions that many of these supplements have not been tested the way drugs have been. He also notes that while there is a lot of information about them, most of it is not evidence-based. While he states that over-the-counter enzymes have their place a lot more should be known about their long-range effects. It’s not enough that some famous person endorses them or a TV show says positive things about enzyme supplements.
Dr. Bauer goes on to discuss side effects of taking some enzyme supplements. First, taken in small amounts, he contends that the effects are miniscule. Taken in large enough doses, these supplements can often cause gastrointestinal irritations.
His advice is to take these supplements for a two-to-three-week trial period. If there’s a big improvement and side effects are manageable, then it may be something to continue. If the supplement is not working after the trial period, then it isn’t going to work, Dr. Bauer notes, so it should be discontinued.
Praise for Digestive Enzyme Supplements
In his article “10 Benefits of Digestive Enzymes” (https://drjockers.com/10-benefits-digestive-enzymes/) Dr. Jockers discusses these ten advantages:
- Digestive Enzymes reduce the stress on your digestive system. As we age, our supply of enzymes diminishes. Replacing these with supplements allows our digestive process to function as efficiently as it once did.
- Digestive enzymes reduce inflammation in our system. In her article, “3 Signs You Have Chronic Inflammation” (https://www.prevention.com/health/signs-chronic-inflammation) in Prevention, writer Patricia Brabaw notes that while swelling around a wound or a bump is a sign of healing, chronic inflammation is not healthy. Instead of helping your body heal, chronic inflammation results in such problems as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, hair loss and diabetes.
- Digestive enzymes improve digestion of foods. Think of it like a blender. The enzymes mix with the food helping to break it down and moving it into our system to provide energy needed for nourishment and repair cells.
- The presence of effective enzymes allows for maximum nourishment from the food we eat. Lack of enzyme action means even though we eat right, we might still be malnourished because we aren’t assimilating nutrients in our food.
In his article “Absorb More Nutrients with Digestive Enzymes” (https://draxe.com/digestive-enzymes/) Dr. Axe points out that the old saying: ‘You are what you eat’ is inaccurate. As we age, a more reliable adage is: You are what you digest. Why? As we age our enzymes are depleted and digestion is not as effective. It’s feasible to eat well and yet be undernourished. He cites research to show the trend toward growing number of illnesses lined to nutrient malabsorption. His contention is that the culprit is a lack of digestive enzymes in our system. He notes the research of Keller and Layer in “Human Pancreatic Endocrine Response to Nutrients in Health and Disease” (http://gut.bmj.com/content/54/suppl_6/1.full)
Because we know so much more now about how our digestive system works, modern medicine and technology can do so much more to support efficient digestion.
Noted endocrinologists point out to patients that there are six steps or stages in the digestive process. In the mouth salivary amylase is released. Chewing is assisted in breaking down food into molecules by this first set of enzymes. Next the stomach’s parietal cells trigger acids, pepsin, gastric amylase and other enzymes. These break the food down into a semifluid form called chime. These same acids neutralize the salivary amylase so the gastric amylase can do its job. Chyme is them propelled into the upper small intestine where stomach acid trigger hormone secretions to be released. This is a signal for the pancreas to release its magic hormones, bile and pancreatic enzymes. This mix changes acids of chime to alkalines. Enzymes can then degrade the food so it can be assimilated by the body converting it to energy for movement, repair and rejuvenation of cells.
- Digestive enzymes support microbiome balance. JJ Virgil explains in his article “Disease—and Health—begin in your Gut” (https://jjvirgin.com/microbiome-balance/) Microbiome balance is about the group of bacteria that lives in your digestive tract. He notes that when microbiome imbalance occurs, the microorganisms that live there cannot support healthy digestion and immune function. This can cause weight gain, hormone disruption, affect mental clarity and fail to fight diseases.
- Enzyme supplements reduce food intolerance and food allergies. In his article “Digestive Enzymes for Food Allergy and Intolerance” (https://www.foodsmatter.com/allergy_intolerance/food_intolerance/articles/digestive_enzymes.html) Dr. Devon Houston notes that our lifestyle of eating on the run and grabbing fat-laden fast foods has played havoc with our digestive systems and led to food allergies and intolerances. He recommends taking a plant-based enzyme supplement with meals. This allows the digestive process to start in the stomach and assists pancreatic enzymes to do their work.
- Moreover, effective enzyme supplementation reduces the body’s immune response so diseases are more effectively combatted. In her article “How System Oral Enzymes Keep the Body’s Immune System Healthy” (http://www.medizym.com/articles/systemic-enzymes/55-how-systemic-oral-enzymes-keep-the-bodys-immune-system-healthy) Dr. Lucia Desser points out that researchers have recently discovered that the immune system is crucial to maintaining the body’s a normal level of inflammation. She cautions that high levels of inflammation have been linked to such ailments as Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, arthritis and coronary disease.
- Optimum enzyme production results in ideal cellular health.
- Good enzyme health reduces autoimmunity. In its article, “Medical Definition of Autoimmunity” (https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=18985) Medicine Net.com points out, we’ve all got autoimmunity. However, the problem arises when our system becomes so effective that it can cause a broad range of autoimmune diseases like MS.
Writer Amanda Benchley points out in her article “6 Inflammation-Causing Foods no one Talks about” (https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/foods-cause-inflammation) that foods containing refined sugars, vegetable oils, fried foods, foods made with refined flours, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, food additives, saturated fat, grain-fed meats, processed meats, trans fats, beer and alcohol.
- Skin and tissue are healthier and heal faster if digestive enzymes are balanced. InEnzyme Essentials article “How Enzymes Support Radiant Skin (https://www.enzymeessentials.com/blog/how-enzymes-support-radiant-skin/) it is suggested that, in addition to enzyme supplements, foods that produce good health are the same ones that encourage glowing, healthy skin. It is suggested we adopt a diet heavy in fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and omega 3 fatty acids—and of course, ample amounts of filtered water with lemon.
Dr. Jockers suggests we should create an enzyme surplus in our bodies not only with supplements but by eating enzyme rich foods like: avocado, papaya, pineapple, cucumber, garlic, ginger root, sprouts, wheat grass, coconut, flax seed, chlorella, spirulina, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
He also notes the advantages in food preparation of using fermentation. This boosts enzymes. So, soak cruciferous vegetables, grains, seeds, legumes, and sprouts in fermented products like: coconut kefir, raw honey, fermented berry and grape beverages, kombucha, goat milk kefir or amasai. He recommends eating such things as sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and kimchi.
Why Worry about Digestive Enzyme Supplements?
There are those who ascribe to the “don’t poke the snake with a stick” school of thought. They have no noticeable digestion problems—or none they can’t live with. So their stance is: I don’t need digestive enzymes.
Then there are the naysayers who are sure that if something is new, untried, untested, un-natural, it should be avoided.
There is a group of people who believe if something is new it must be an improvement so we should try it.
Those who fight the aging process with every fiber of their being are definitely for digestive enzyme supplements if it will help them in their fight. They site research like
There are good reasons for digestive enzyme supplements. Who should take them?
People with digestive disorders including: IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis, bloating, leaky gut, gas, flatulence, acid reflux, diverticulitis, diarrhea or constipation. There is research to prove that digestive enzyme supplements can help.
Enzyme insufficiency related to the aging process can also be helped through enzyme supplements. As we age, our stomach acids become more alkaline. Thus, the chances of an acidic trigger as chyme comes into the small intestine from the stomach lessen. If this happens, the pancreas does not get a signal to release its secretions. Researchers hypothesize that low stomach acid and/or enzyme insufficiency caused by aging may cause such digestive problems as bloating, acid reflux and IBS. But not only older people suffer from lack of stomach acid. Each case should be assessed by doctors to determine whether enzyme supplements will aid digestion.
Those with liver disease at whatever age are likely to have enzyme deficiency. US Department of Veteran Affairs (https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/basics/liver-single-page.aspO) has reported optimistic results in treating various liver ailments using digestive enzyme supplements.
When considering the question: “Who should be taking digestive enzyme supplements?” Dr. Amy Myers in her article “Should You Be Taking Digestive Enzymes?” (https://www.amymyersmd.com/2016/04/digestive-enzymes/)
Answers: Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you trying to fix a leaky gut?
- Do you suffer from chronic digestion complaints?
- Do you have gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation after you eat?
- Do you have acid reflux?
- Have chunks of undigested foods shown up in your stool?
- Is there evidence of fats in your stool?
If any of these things is true, Dr. Myers contends that it indicates your body may not be producing sufficient digestive enzymes. Dr. Myers states that this is easily and safely remedied by taking digestive enzymes supplements.
A proponent of functional medicine, Dr. Myers advocates treating enzyme deficiency with supplements. She suggests you choose a digestive enzyme supplement that contains a wide range of enzymes and is available in chewable format. She further tells patients to try enzyme supplements for three weeks. If there is no improvement, supplements should be discontinued.
Thanks to research and modern medicine no one should suffer digestive problems without giving digestive enzyme supplements a try! Join the tens of thousands of people who have already faced and conquered their digestive problems with digestive enzyme supplements