Health benefits of digestive enzymes
There are many different enzymes used in dietary supplements but most may be categorized as proteases, carbohydrases, lipases or antioxidant enzymes. Protease is a general term that refers to all enzymes that break the amino acid bonds of proteins. A diverse group of enzymes, the carbohydrases break down carbohydrates including starch, sugars and various fibers. Lipases help digest dietary fats ensuring the availability of fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients. Antioxidant enzymes are also commonly used as supplements to help combat damage caused by free radicals.
DIGESTION and DIGESTIVE DISCOMFORT
Enzyme supplements have a long history of use as digestive aids. Before the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Jokichi Takamine had developed a fungal amylase supplement to aid digestion. In the 1920’s, Dr. Edward Howell recognized the vital role that food enzymes play in promoting digestion and formulated products to replace those enzymes lost in the cooking and processing of food. The loss of food enzymes creates a digestive burden for the human body that results in discomfort and indigestion. Supplemental digestive enzymes work with the body’s digestive enzymes to enhance the digestive process and may reduce the occurrence of digestive discomfort.
Nearly everyone can benefit from digestive enzyme supplements because processed foods, use of pesticides, herbicides and GMO’s and fast paced high stressed lives, all compromise digestive function and delivery of nutrients to our cells. The astronomical rise in allergies, asthma, autism and ADD in our children is proof that our food and environment is significantly different today compared to just 50 years ago. Every cell of the body, regardless of its location, structure, or function requires nutrients. Digestive enzymes, along with a healthy diet, support the availability of nutrients to the cells. Everyone can benefit from better digestion. Every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body depends on optimal nutrient intake and optimal digestive function in order to achieve health and wellness.
In 2004, the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center reported that acid reflux or GERD affected 60 million Americans. Helffrich explains, “The root cause is a lack of enzymes, not excess acid production. Undigested food in the stomach increases the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which increases the chance for stomach contents to re-enter the esophagus. The undigested food also signals continued secretion of acid. But when food is digested, with the support of supplemental enzymes, there is less pressure on the LES, less risk for regurgitation and the signal is received to stop secreting acid. The answer is to promote digestion with enzyme supplements not to neutralize or block acid production”
Dairy intolerance is experienced by the majority of the world’s population and while much of the problem is attributable to lactase deficiency, digestion-resistant proteins such as β-lactoglobulin may also contribute to the condition. Lactase deficiency is the most widely recognized enzyme deficiency with nearly 70% of the world’s adult population producing deficient levels of the enzyme. Dairy foods contain the sugar lactose normally digested by lactase. Insufficient levels of lactase can result in gastric discomfort including bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Studies indicate that supplemental lactase can help reduce this discomfort and allow individuals to consume dairy foods. Milk protein includes casein and β-lactoglobulin along with certain other proteins that are resistant to both acid hydrolysis and enzymatic digestion by either pepsin or the pancreatic proteases. In vitro testing indicated that blends of supplemental fungal proteases are able to break down these proteins. Products that combine lactase with blends of proteases that digest milk proteins may be especially suited for individuals who have digestive issues associated with dairy foods.
Broad spectrum digestive enzyme products can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet and exercise to support healthy weight management. Digestive enzyme supplements help ensure that individuals have a healthy nutrient baseline and may help eliminate cravings. Lipases may support healthy weight management through satiation mechanisms. Epidemiological studies and animal research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety or the feeling of fullness after a meal. Free fatty acids are believed to play a key role in the brain to regulate energy homeostasis.
Proteolytic enzymes may also be beneficial in weight management programs. High protein diets are a common approach and National Enzyme Company’s Director of Product Development and Innovation, Richard Mihalik explains that proteases may be added to high protein diets or shakes to support complete digestion and satiation. Helffrich emphasizes the role of systemic proteases in a healthy weight loss regimen. “Proteases taken between meals improve circulation supporting timely removal of toxins and metabolic waste. Also, in our clinical practice we have seen a reduction in inflammation and fluid retention as evidenced by lab testing and bio-impedance analysis. This is another way proteases can support healthy weight management programs.”
Enzyme supplements may also support a healthy cardiovascular system. Lipases help provide essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In vitro studies show blends of lipases effectively increase the availability of essential fatty acids from various vegetable oils as well as fish oils. These fatty acids have been linked to decreased inflammation and improved cardiovascular health. The role of inflammation in cardiovascular disease also supports the use of systemic proteases and antioxidant enzymes. Systemic proteases are also known to break down fibrin which may help to promote healthy circulation. Helffrich emphasized that systemic proteases play an important role in maintaining “healthy blood and blood vessels which supports a healthy heart.”
Enzyme supplements have the ability to impact the nutritional value of our diets, decrease the occurrence of food intolerances, and to act systemically to support various body systems.
ZIMEZ from Sun Wave Pharma is the most complete and effective formula of digestive enzymes, having 12 digestive enzymes in its composition that help digest all foods, completely (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber), combating indigestion and symptoms associated with insufficient digestion (abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, regurgitation or feeling of fullness and early saturation during meal) and contributing to the health of the entire body.