10 Benefits of Digestive Enzymes:
Digestive enzymes and cellular and system wide enzymes are extremely vital to human well-being. They play a critical role in digestion and nutrient assimilation, in immune response, cognitive acceleration, and cellular detoxification among other things (1). These systems battle for enzymes to utilize within our body.
Enzymes are some of the most important structures in the body. They are long-chain proteins that take on specific shapes and act like a key to unique locks throughout the body. Their job is to carry out very specific functions throughout the body. Here are 10 benefits of digestive enzymes and how they improve your inflammatory levels and overall energy.
When the amino acid bonds within an enzyme are damaged the enzyme collapses and can no longer do its particular job. This denaturing process may be caused by any of the following (2):
Free Radical Damage
Heating above 118 F (cooking)
Damaged Enzymes are Rendered Useless
When enzymes are damaged they are no longer able to carry out their unique processes and they become another foreign protein in the body. These foreign proteins are recognized by the immune system as a possible hazardous invader. The body may then trigger an immune response and create inflammation (3).
All processed and heavily cooked foods contain an abundance of denatured enzymes (4). These are highly allergenic in the body and create a massive assault on the body. These processed and irritated foods also depend upon good enzymes from the body for digestion. So these foods, in essence, steal enzymes from our system.
Other lifestyle factors that utilize a significant amount of our bodies’ enzymes include exposure to air pollution, medication usage, insufficient sleep, relational stress and financial stress. Most people in our society are living under these conditions on a daily basis and this is causing an enzyme deficiency in their body.
Additionally, poor food combining can utilize more enzymes than necessary. This would include eating grains or starches like potatoes with proteins (such as a turkey sandwich, pizza or meat and potatoes). Most Americans have starch and protein at every meal, which puts stress on the digestive system and drains our enzyme reserves.
Create an Enzyme Surplus in Your Body
To create an enzyme surplus in your body you will want to incorporate a diet high in raw and living foods. The optimal nutrition plan should be at least 75-80% raw and living foods with 20-25% high quality cooked foods.
Healthy cooked foods would include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous veggies are great to steam as boiling will steal valuable water-soluble nutrients. Steaming these veggies breaks down the outer cellulose wall that is challenging for the digestive system to metabolize (5). This actually makes the food more bioavailable.
Organic and grass-fed animal products are to be cooked in a medium-rare fashion. This will break down the thicker proteins but keep much of the powerful nutrition still intact. Fresh squeezed lemon and apple cider vinegar should be added to any cooked food and especially to meat in either a pre/post cooked marinate or just before serving.
Lemon and apple cider vinegar provide organic acids, enzymes, probiotics and anti-oxidants that help to pre-digest the cooked meal and neutralize any free radical formation.
Boost Your Enzymatic Potential:
To boost enzymatic potential it is essential to soak and sprout all grains, seeds, nuts & legumes. The practice of soaking, fermenting and sprouting breaks down challenging proteins and activates key enzymes that improve the bioavailability of the nutrients. Sprouted legumes, seeds, cruciferous veggies and nuts are basically a pre-digested food that has unlocked its full potential of enzymes and nutrients. Broccoli sprouts may be the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
The fermentation process unlocks huge nutrient potential within the seed. Sprouted foods have five to ten times higher B vitamins, double the vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and iron content of its pre-soaked and sprouted counterpart (6). The enzymes will also make the protein much more bioavailable for consumption.
Fermented Foods and Enzymes:
Incorporating fermented foods and drinks is another great way to boost enzyme load. Great fermented drinks include coconut kefir, raw whey, fermented berry & grape drinks, kombucha, goat milk kefir, etc. Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and fermented veggies are also great resources for enzymes.
Intermittent fasting and incorporating fermented drinks are especially important parts to creating an enzyme surplus. Fasting for periods of 16-48 hours each week or month allows the body to catch up in its enzyme processing.
Using Digestive Enzyme Supplements:
Digestive enzyme supplements are extremely helpful and often necessary for certain individuals for a period of time. I personally use digestive enzymes whenever I am going to have a big meal. I notice better digestion, more energy, less digestive stress, gas, etc. when I use enzymes.
One of my favorite all-purpose digestive enzyme is Super DZyme.
Why Super DZyme:
This is a great product for a number of reasons including:
1) Includes a Wide Variety of Enzymes: Many different enzyme subtypes to give a wide array of effects and address all digestive enzymatic effects. This includes carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes, proteolytic enzymes and fat- metabolizing enzymes.
2) Functions in a Wide pH Range: There are significant pH ranges in the stomach and small intestine. These enzymes are formulated to survive and thrive in a number of different ranges.
3) BioAvailable Enzymes are Key to Reducing Intestinal Stress: Intestinal stress is a major contributor to the formation of leaky gut syndrome. Bioavailable enzymes reduce the stress on the gut and improve nutrient absorption.