The first day of fall has come and gone, and many of us have already started planning for the holidays. Sure, our festive gatherings may look a bit different this year with everything going on, but one thing you can count on during the holiday season is an abundance of delicious food and hard-to-resist treats. And, if you plan on indulging even a little bit, it may help to keep your digestive enzyme supplement handy.
What are digestive enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are proteins made by the body, specifically in the gastrointestinal system, to help break down the food we eat into usable nutrients that are then absorbed from the digestive tract and used throughout the body. Examples of digestive enzymes include amylase, which helps break down carbohydrates and starches; lipase, which helps break down fats; and protease, which helps break down proteins.
Some foods, including many fruits and vegetables in their raw, natural state, also contain enzymes, and these can help with digestion. However, too often we don't reap the benefits of these natural enzymes because they may be destroyed through cooking and processing.
Do you know the 5 key benefits of digestive enzymes?
- Enzymes help the body break down all types of foods
- Enzymes support the absorption of key nutrients from the diet
- Enzymes promote optimal digestive function and bowel health
- Enzymes help reduce occasional gas, bloating, and upset stomach after eating
- Taking enzyme supplements, similar to eating a raw food diet, assists with the digestive process without altering the body’s ability to create new enzymes
Getting older impacts natural enzyme production, but supplements may help.
As we age, our bodies may produce fewer digestive enzymes, making it difficult to break down food and absorb nutrients. As a result, some people may experience occasional gas, bloating, and indigestion after eating a meal or when they eat a specific type of food, such as dairy products.
In some studies, taking an enzyme supplement—that is, a combination of beneficial enzymes taken in pill or powder form—has been shown to support optimal digestion and help reduce occasional digestive discomfort so that people can eat the foods they enjoy without having to worry about feeling uncomfortable.
Digestive enzymes have also been shown to support colon health by ensuring more complete digestion and helping to prevent the buildup of undigested food in the colon.
What is the difference between enzyme supplements and probiotic supplements?
We know that digestive enzymes are proteins made by the body to help us break down our food and absorb valuable nutrients, and enzyme supplements may provide additional support for good digestion. But what are probiotics? While both play an important role in promoting digestive health, the two are actually very different in several ways.
Believe it or not, there are trillions of microorganisms living in and on the human body, primarily in the digestive tract (where at least 70 percent of the immune system is located). Many of those microbes are beneficial and support optimal digestion and wellness. However, there are also some neutral and harmful bacteria, which is why it's important to maintain a healthy internal balance.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. In simple terms, this means they can provide good bacteria to your gut to promote a balanced digestive environment and support digestion and health.
To learn more about enzymes and probiotics, check out these blogs!
When is the best time to take an enzyme supplement?
Even the healthiest eaters may experience occasional bloating or upset stomach after a meal, especially around the holidays when our willpower seems to take a months-long hiatus. For this reason, many people take a digestive enzyme supplement to support the digestive process and help break down the foods they eat more completely—but when should you take your supplement?
Aim to take enzymes before or with meals. It is best to take them before so they have ample time to get to the small intestine (where the majority of digestion occurs). However, sometimes you may forget to take your enzyme supplement before a meal, so don’t worry if you take it afterward.
How do you know which enzyme supplement to choose?
When it comes to choosing the right enzyme supplement, think about your unique dietary needs. A broad-spectrum formula may be best for more complete support, or you can opt for a targeted formula to address specific issues such as gas or heartburn.
You may also wish to use a digestive enzyme formula made specifically for a certain food or diet type, such as plant foods (for vegetarian diets), fats and proteins (for high-protein diets), or dairy foods (for those who may have trouble digesting dairy).
Trust Renew Life with all of your digestive health needs this holiday season.
As a pioneer in gut wellness and a champion for women's digestive health, Renew Life offers a wide selection of plant-based enzyme formulas made for your body and its unique needs. Our plant-based DigestMore enzymes are great for taking on the go, whether you’re traveling to see family this holiday season or just running around trying to get everything ready.
For additional support, be sure to check out our probiotic supplements, made with multiple clinically tested strains and proven effective for balancing the unique microbiomes of women.