Science continues to make amazing discoveries about the world we live in – and the worlds that live in us. The human body is like a solar system, and each year, scientific exploration reveals more information we can use to better care for our bodies. Like the gravitational forces that sustain our galaxy, our interconnected systems are in perpetual motion to ensure our survival and maximize our experience of being alive.
The enjoyment and sustenance provided by food is one of the things that make life enjoyable. A faster pace of life, coupled with the introduction of processed foods into our diets, lessened that enjoyment for many. People are reporting common symptoms associated with enzyme deficiency, including abdominal pain, gas, bloating, heartburn and nausea, in greater numbers.
Digestive enzymes are produced naturally by the body and their job is to break food down into amino acids and other necessary nutrients. There are three types of digestive enzymes, each of which performs a vital role in the digestive process. Digestive enzymes originate in plants, fungi, and the human pancreas and salivary glands.
The three types of enzymes, proteolytic enzymes, lipases, and amylases work together to transform food into needed energy. In addition to processing food, scientific research has identified some other important roles digestive enzymes play, such as reducing inflammation and lessening pain.
Proteolytic enzymes are also called protease, proteinase, or peptidase. Their main function is to help the body digest protein and convert it into amino acids. They are classified as exopeptidases or endopeptidases according to the location within the proteins where cleavage takes place.
Lipases break down fats so that they can be absorbed by the intestines. It is produced in the pancreas, mouth, and stomach. People who suffer from certain medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn disease, or celiac disease, often don’t produce enough lipases to transform their food to adequate nutrition. Proteolytic enzymes are capable of digesting lipases, so it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of digestive enzymes.
Amylases catalzye starches into smaller carbohydrate molecules like maltose. There are two categories of amylases, alpha and beta, each of which breaks down the bonds in a different way. Amylases produced by the salivary glands produces ptyalin, which works with stomach acids to break down starches. Amylases produced by the pancreas completes the process within the small intestine. Beta amylases can be found in plants, seeds, yeasts, molds, and bacteria.
Digestive enzymes play a vital role in breaking down proteins, fats, and starches into nutrients. The amount of each type of digestive enzyme needed to maintain a healthy balance depends largely on our diets and whether there is a medical condition that affects enzyme production. Food allergies, which have increased as the result of GMO’s, are another common cause of digestive enzyme imbalances.
Fortunately, there are now supplements available that can restore and help maintain that healthy balance. Nothing is more important than ensuring that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to make life enjoyable.