So many people struggle with digestion and food intolerances.
But how much of this is related to the actual food, and how much is really related to how well your digestive system is working?
Sometimes it’s a little bit of both, but no matter how healthy you eat, you’re only as healthy as the food you’re able to digest and absorb.
Digestion converts food into fuel. It gives us life and energy. As long as you’re eating the right foods, it’s the cornerstone of good health.
Fortunately, we have supplements that can help with digestion and absorption, but should we rely on these forever?
When it comes to enzymes, there’s a delicate balance – Not too much, not too little, but just right!
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
When we chew our food, digestive enzymes are released into the mouth and begin to break down our food so we can better absorb the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, when we eat.
When we have proper amounts of enzymes and the food is properly broken down, we don’t experience digestive upset like bloating, gas, burping, or see undigested food in our stool.
Without these enzymes working hard for us, food particles are left in the gut to ferment and feed gut bugs, which leads to dysbiosis or an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria.
Digestive enzymes also support a healthy immune system by activating some of the enzymes that are absorbed by the body. When you have a healthier immune system, you’re less prone to seasonal illness and other bugs.
Who Needs Digestive Enzymes?
The following signs of poor digestion are a sign you may benefit from digestive enzymes:
- Bloating and gas after meals
- Feel full after eating protein heavy meals or even small amounts of food
- IBS type symptoms like alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Heartburn or indigestion – or diagnosis of GERD
- Food sensitivities or intolerances
- Food or seasonal allergies
- Gallbladder issues or gallbladder removal
Real Client. Real Results.
When Kristin and I started working together, she was on a vegan and heavily processed food diet. She loved her carbs – snack bars, bread, pasta, pancakes, hot cereals, nuts, and anything packaged.
When we started to add meat and more vegetables to her food plan, it made her feel heavy and bloated. She always took this as a sign that her body didn’t tolerate meat. The problem was not the meat.
Processed foods destroy the environment of the gut and lead to low stomach acid and an overgrowth of unwanted pathogens. That’s exactly what we saw when we did further advanced lab testing.
We look at intestinal health markers on the GI MAP to better understand how well a client is digesting their food by looking at 2 digestive markers.
It was clear by her labs and symptoms that she was struggling with low stomach acid, wasn’t digesting her fats well, and needed to support pancreatic enzymes to help her better digest her protein. This is common when someone has spent years consuming processed foods and lives on a poor diet.
Kristin was taking digestive enzymes when we met, but they weren’t supporting her needs. You can purchase supplements online and at big box stores, but quality matters. We switched her enzymes to a professional grade brand and she was finally able to enjoy her steak with no digestive issues.
These Digestzymes digestive enzymes are some of the best on the market. Even though I’ve healed my gut, I personally take them with each meal for 30 days every 6 months and as needed for bigger meals throughout the year to build better gastric juices and give my digestive system a break.
For Kristin, this was one piece of the puzzle that helped her move the needle in a positive direction in her health.
As she included more quality protein in her diet, she regained her energy and her body composition started to align with her goals.
She was able to build a stronger foundation with her nutrition and lifestyle choices. Then we could do some deeper gut healing work based on the bacterial imbalances we found on her GI MAP.
Dysbiosis (like the results found on this test) has been shown to be closely linked with conditions like:
- IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gut diseases such as colitis
- Candida or yeast overgrowth
- Celiac Disease
- Leaky gut syndrome
- PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The bacteria are typically overgrown due to poor diet, stress, toxic environment, and low stomach acid. We use a holistic approach to address these imbalances using nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle approaches to give the body the best chance to heal.
The GI MAP also looks at healthy bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungi/yeast, antibiotic resistant genes, and other pathogens. It provides insight into other intestinal markers that look at the health of your liver, immune system, gastric inflammation, blood in the stool, and whether or not you are reacting to a protein called gliadin (found in traditional gluten-containing foods – wheat, barley, and rye).
Interested in running a GI MAP for yourself? We offer this comprehensive stool analysis as a part of our Go With Your Gut Intensive Program. The program includes a test and full analysis, along with a step-by-step plan to help you address the underlying cause of your symptoms.
Take the first step today to share a little more about your health goals and schedule a time to chat about your next steps so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.
Are digestive enzymes necessary long-term?
You must correct the cause of poor digestion so you can better absorb your nutrients if you want to heal long-term. Digestive enzymes may contribute to a desired outcome, meaning they help you better digest and absorb nutrients, but they are not addressing the underlying cause, which can be an imbalance of bacteria, poor diet, overexposure to toxins, leaky gut, and other lifestyle factors.
The length of time varies from person to person, but enzymes should be used as a part of a gut rebuilding program, like our Go With Your Gut Intensive, where we address digestion and gut health as a whole.
Generally it takes several months of use to give the gut time to rest and correct damage. If you use enzymes too long and in high doses, you can disturb beneficial biofilms of the gut microbes and it could cause more damage.
In our Gut Intensive, we use digestive enzymes as well as acid boosting foods throughout the program, and wrap up with an HCl Challenge to help improve the normal production of stomach acid and enzymes in a way that supports the cause.
Digestive enzymes and HCl are wonderful when used periodically to support the body’s natural digestive function, but should not be necessary long-term once you heal your gut.