Insufficient secretion of digestive enzymes is often blamed for indigestion, loss of appetite, abdominal bloating and other gastrointestinal disorders. Digestive supplements are recommended to cure digestion disorders.
Enzyme supplement benefits
Digestive enzyme supplements are usually sold in the form of pills containing different types of enzymes that aid digestion at different stages of the digestion process. In the human body, digestive enzymes are produced in four different sites – mouth, stomach, intestines and pancreas.
Enzymes produced in these four regions of the body are associated with different stages of digestion. Synthetic enzymes in digestion supplements mimic the natural enzymes. Health experts believe that digestion problems could be solved by supplying excess enzymes to the gastrointestinal tract.
Enzyme supplements enhance absorption of nutrients. They could prevent nutritional deficiency and malnutrition. They facilitate fat excretion. Some health experts suggest that digestive enzymes present in dietary supplements might lower the risk of food allergies. They might be beneficial for people susceptible to lactose intolerance, celiac disease and vascular disease.
Types of enzyme supplements
Digestive enzyme supplements are usually obtained from specific animals, plants and fungi. Pancreatic enzymes such as pancreatin, chymotrypsin and trypsin are obtained from animal products.
Digestive enzymes such as lactase, lipase, cellulose, amylase, peptidase and protease are produced by fermentation of certain fungi. Enzymes in digestion supplements sourced from animal products are more unstable than plant or fungi based enzymes.
The stomach acid could easily destroy enzymes derived from animal products. Plant supplements are usually derived from pineapple and papaya. Pineapple is a source of the enzyme bromelain. This digestive enzyme eases digestion of protein.
Bromelain could even provide relief from acid reflux. It could cure diarrhea caused by bacterial infection. Papaya is a source of papain, an enzyme that aids protein digestion.
Who needs enzyme supplements for digestion?
Secretion of digestive enzymes might slow down with age. Older adults suffering from indigestion might take enzyme supplements to improve their gastrointestinal health.
Excess stress might reduce production of digestive enzymes. Illness and pregnancy often tends to worsen stress. Enzyme supplements are recommended to prevent digestion problems in people suffering from excess stress. However, pregnant women should consult their physicians before taking enzyme supplements.