Although they don't get a lot of attention, enzymes are vital to your body's ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. Your body produces many types of enzymes, and each enzyme has a specific function. You can also take enzyme supplements to assist your body. If you know the exact nature of your digestive issue, you can take the suitable enzyme for the condition, or you can take a supplement that contains a variety of enzymes to break down different types of food. Here's a look at various enzymes and how they help your body.
Types Of Enzymes
The enzymes in supplements come from plant sources, such as papaya or pineapple, or they come from animal organs such as sheep pancreas. Some enzymes break down protein while others break down carbohydrates or fat. You can purchase a supplement that contains only lactase if dairy products give you digestive trouble.
You can also buy a product that contains a specific enzyme to help you digest beans. Other products contain a combination of enzymes such as lipase for digesting fat, cellulase for breaking down fiber, amylase for carbohydrates, and protease for breaking down protein.
Reasons To Take An Enzyme Supplement
Your body produces enzymes naturally in the pancreas, intestines, and stomach. Your saliva also is abundant with enzymes. However, you might have a medical or genetic condition that causes you to be deficient in a particular enzyme. You might have a digestive problem that keeps you from breaking down foods or absorbing nutrients. In that case, taking an enzyme supplement for the short-term can help you maintain optimal nutrition while your digestive tract heals.
You may find enzymes help reduce heartburn and gas. If you go to a naturopathic doctor, he or she may even recommend that you take an enzyme supplement to help with a medical condition you have that affects a part of your body other than your digestive system.
How To Take Enzyme Supplements
Enzyme supplements can be taken in different forms. Papaya supplements have a sweet taste and are available in a chewable form that you can take with your meals. Others come in pills and capsules. They might be coated, so they don't dissolve until they reach your digestive tract. Some enzymes can be taken in powder form and sprinkled on food before you eat it. To get the best results, you'll want to time the enzymes properly with your meals.
Depending on the enzymes you take, you may need to take them before you begin eating your meal. If your healthcare provider recommends proteolytic, or protein-digesting, enzymes to treat a health condition rather than a digestive issue, then you'll need to take them away from meals so they can enter your bloodstream rather than stay in your stomach to digest food. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions or the instructions on the enzyme supplement you buy, so you get the best results when you take the product.