Deciphering Digestive Enzymes: A Comprehensive Guide

March 9, 2024

Many people today purchase digestive enzymes to treat various conditions affecting their digestive tract. Do these enzymes work? Who may benefit from taking them? What types are available? This comprehensive guide answers these questions and more.

What Are Digestive Enzymes?

The human body naturally makes proteins that it uses to break down food during the digestive process. This process allows the body to use the nutrients present in the food for energy, growth, and more. The body produces digestive enzymes in the pancreas, stomach, and small intestines. However, those enzymes produced in the pancreas are the most important because they take on the role of breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. If the body lacks these proteins, vegan digestive enzymes can be purchased to replace them.

Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency

Some men and women suffer from digestive enzyme insufficiency. Either their body doesn’t produce enough of these enzymes or it doesn’t release them in the appropriate quantities. When these enzymes are missing, the body struggles to break down some foods. In addition, it may not be able to absorb nutrients. Many people today have been told that are lactose intolerant. This is a prevalent type of digestive enzyme deficiency disorder.

Signs the Body Lacks These Enzymes

Men and women who lack these enzymes may have several symptoms. These symptoms might include stomach pains or cramps and unexplained weight loss. The person may feel bloated or be gassy. Diarrhea and oily bowel movements are other signs there aren’t sufficient quantities of these enzymes in the body.

Conditions Associated with Digestive Enzyme Deficiency

Certain people find they don’t produce or release enough digestive enzymes and others in the family have the same problem. There is a genetic component to this disorder. Some men and women have an abnormal gene that leads to this deficiency. Conditions associated with the deficiency include cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis. Individuals who have undergone gastrointestinal surgeries often find they lack the required number of digestive enzymes, and men and women with pancreatic cancer typically don’t produce enough of these enzymes.

Restoring the Proper Number of Digestive Enzymes

Options are available for those who do not produce or release the appropriate number of digestive enzymes. Diet alone is not enough to replace these enzymes, but a healthy diet supports the digestive process. Digestive enzyme supplements purchased without a prescription help some men and women. When taking one of these supplements, a person must ensure they are buying from a reputable provider, as these products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, the supplement must be taken with food, as it mimics the body’s digestive system. The supplement will break down the food that is being taken in.

If over-the-counter supplements do not resolve the symptoms, it may be time to talk to a doctor. Prescription digestive enzymes can help the digestive system process food and take in nutrients from this food. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy or PERT is the only enzyme replacement therapy that has been approved by the FDA. With the help of this supplement, the body can break down proteins, fats, and carbs.

One thing a person should immediately do if they have symptoms of digestive enzyme deficiency is make an appointment with their primary care doctor. The doctor works to find the cause of this deficiency so a treatment plan can be developed. Doing so ensures any underlying problems can be found and treated for better health all around.

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