What they do…digestive enzymes
What are they?
Digestive enzymes are proteins needed to digest food and are secreted primarily by the pancreas. There are three main types: protease breaks down protein, lipase digests fat, and amylase processes carbohydrates. Illness or injury to the pancreas can affect absorption of these vital nutrients in the body and digestive enzyme supplements are thought to protect against this malabsorption.
What can they do?
Improve indigestion: A double-blind trial found that giving digestive enzymes to healthy people along with a high-fat meal reduced bloating, wind and abdominal fullness.
Ease symptoms of IBS: The enzyme bromelain, found in pineapples, has been shown to reduce bloating and abdominal spasms.
Reduce pain of arthritis: A study of those with painful osteoarthritis of the knee experienced greater pain relief after six weeks of taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain.
Protect against travellers’ tummy: Some experts suggest taking digestive enzymes to increase digestive resistance to ‘foreign’ bugs.
When do I need it?
Whenever experiencing the conditions mentioned. You may also want to take a supplement as you get older; research suggests your digestive enzyme production levels decrease as you age.
How do I get them?
Take: A supplement containing a wide range of digestive enzymes.
Be careful if…
You have pancreatitis or Crohn’s Disease – check with your medical practitioner before taking digestive enzymes.