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"Improving Digestion and Absorption with Enzyme Therapy"

Digestion is the process that breaks down food mechanically and chemically in the gastrointestinal tract to convert the food into absorbable forms. The body can absorb salt and water unchanged, but starches, fats and proteins canít be absorbed until they have been split into smaller molecules. Enzymes are the leading actors of the digestive process, playing out a script that ensures the body absorbs nutrients properly. Each of the main digestive enzymes has a different role to play. Amylase digests starch. Protease breaks down the peptide bonds that join the amino acids in a protein, ensuring the amino acids are readily available to the body. The enzyme lipase splits apart emulsified fats. These enzymes are secreted by the pancreas and are often referred to as pancreatic enzymes.

Deficiencies of digestive enzymes can wreak havoc on the digestive tract, causing bloating, flatulence, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Without proper supplies of these enzymes, the body struggles to digest fat, foods high in starches and protein meals frequently consumed in today's modern life styles. Though the cause in the reduction of these digestive enzymes is unknown, research studies suggest an association with stress. Particularly in regards to the over stimulation of the fight / flight response which causes aspects of the autonomic nervous system to become over dominant thus reducing digestive responses.

Symptoms of enzyme deficiency are easily identified. Frequently after meals, you will have one or more of the following symptoms: Acid reflux, heartburn, general digestive imbalances, bloating, gas, and cramping, constipation and poor elimination, diarrhoea, etc.


This enzyme is essential to the bodyís ability to break down lipids (fats). In 100 subjects suffering from flatulence, pressure and pain in the stomach, nausea after meals, and belching, lipase therapy and other proteolytic enzymes improved all of the above symptoms in 96 percent of the subjects. In another trial, researchers showed that lipase can assist with the nutrient malabsorption that occurs during HIV infection. Researchers gave lipase and another enzyme called chymotrypsin to 19 HIV patients suffering from malnutrition. After two weeks of supplementing with lipase and the other enzyme, the frequency of cases cured or improved on pancreatic enzyme therapy was significantly higher than that observed during the previous study period without enzyme treatment.


Amylase is an enzyme that helps the body digest starch, amylase is integral to the breakdown of refined carbohydrates, potatoes and other starchy foods consumed in abundance at this time of year. Due to amylaseís role in breaking down carbohydrates, itís not surprising that researchers have found that type 1 diabetics may suffer from an amylase deficiency, although this same deficiency wasnít noted in type 2 diabetics. Vegetarians consuming low tryptophan diets also may be deficient in this important enzyme.


Protease digests protein. Proteases (proteinases, peptidases or proteolytic enzymes) are enzymes that break peptide bonds between amino acids of proteins. The process is called proteolytic cleavage, a common mechanism of activation or inactivation of enzymes especially involved in blood coagulation or digestion. Protease has been studied for its ability to improve muscle healing after exercise in combination with amylase, lipase and other enzymes when taken on an empty stomach. When consumed with meals, however, protease helps break down protein so that the body can use proteinís building blocks (amino acids) more effectively. In animals fed primarily grains and soy products, a combination of enzymes that included protease, improved nutrient utilization and growth performance.

Usage issues

Digestive enzyme products have a good safety record, and serious side effects are rare. Even if you take a lot of pills, the body rapidly eliminates the enzymes. Side effects tend to be minimal. Digestive enzymes have no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with their use. It is advisable not to use pancreatic enzymes with stomach and/or duodenal ulcers, or emphysema.

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