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Nutrition & Natural Health - Digestion

Digestion Troubles 101 - Enzymes are Key

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Using Digestive Enzymes for Gut Issues (Instead of Pharmaceutical Drugs)

If you experience digestive troubles such as gas, bloating, nausea, stomach pain, reflux, diarrhea or constipation - what do you do? Well, most who have obtained guidance from a physician, a pharmacist or main stream media will tend to reach for a quick fix option such as TUMS, ROLAIDS, IMMODIUM, PEPTO-BISMOL, GAVASCON or a PPI medication (proton pump inhibitor). Did you know that all of those methods actually impede digestion?

I'm here to tell you that there is a better way, a safer way and a healthier way. While you may experience some short term relief from over-the-counter and prescribed medications - the long term consequences of the "quick fix" approach can be catastrophic to your overall health.  

Digestive enzyme supplements might be some of the most helpful supplements of all. They literally help to digest food, which is what the digestive system is designed to do when it's operating in peak performance. Lets face it, life is full of factors that inhibit digestive functions and reduce it's performance. We are bombarded with toxic foods, refined foods, artificial ingredients and lots of stress - especially over the past couple years. Emotional stress is one of the most significant factors that cause undesirable digestive symptoms. The more stress someone perceives - the less digestive enzymes are produced due to the body's demand for producing adrenal hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. The human body is pretty amazing, but it can't do everything all at once. Stress hormones and Digestive functions are inversely related. Lot's of stress always results in less effective digestive functions.

Fake Food Frenzy

It seems like real food is hard to find these days. Especially if your main food source is the grocery store. "Food" labels are littered with ingredients I can't even pronounce. Refined sugar is added to foods that should never have sugar in them, foods are denatured, radiated, treated with toxic chemicals and they often contain dangerous emulsifiers like propylene glycol (antifreeze). Foods contain preservatives, flavour enhancers like monosodium glutamate and aspartame as well as food coloring such as tartrazine (yellow 5 dye) and Red #40 which are carcinogenic. You can be certain that the digestive system will experience some added stress at some level when these types of "fake foods" are consumed.

It is clear that many of these harmful additives and unnatural processing methods are a direct cause of many digestive problems. The body can certainly handle some of these unnatural substances, but there is a great deal of potential reactions and unknown side effects related to the digestive system. It's always a good idea to reduce these harmful ingredients, but the reality for most people is that its not going to happen over night. This is why I think it's important to know about enzyme supplements and how they can help. There are so many different kinds to be aware of and some important considerations to help choose the right one for you.

The Quick Fix Trap

Many people suffer from digestive issues for various reasons and do not consider the underlying cause(s). Instead, they just want to get quick relief. But if the first place you go to seek answers is the doctor or pharmacy - you might fall into a trap. Unfortunately many people consult a doctor or the pharmacy for nagging digestive issues and this almost always leads to deteriorating health and often turns a small issue into a big problem. If there is an emergency, by all means - get medical support, but don't fall for the medical solution to "control" or "manage" your symptoms. 

Relying on medications to “manage” the symptoms of digestive stress is NOT helpful for any digestive related condition in the long term because of the severe implications of these drugs which reduce digestive functions. The consequences of impeding digestion with medications inevitably lead to malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis, hormone imbalances and a myriad of symptoms stemming from these serious imbalances. Without healthy digestive functions merely all bodily functions can be impeded as a result. This is why it is important to understand how to address these imbalances from the root cause perspective.  

Digestive Enzymes are Helpful and Supportive

Digestive enzymes are catalysts that help digest food in the stomach and gut (intestines). They are key to accessing the valuable nutrients in the foods we eat for our energy, cell repair and immune functions. Many enzymes are produced in the body by specialized glands and secreted by the stomach, pancreas and liver when we eat. They break down macronutrients that we eat (carbs, proteins and fats) into their individual (smaller) parts so that we can properly digest and absorb them. They’re just too big otherwise, and if we don’t absorb them properly, we can get symptoms of fatigue, malnutrition, digestive distress, bloating, gas, reflux and a host of other symptoms.

There are many lifestyle factors that can reduce our ability to produce adequate amounts of our own high quality enzymes naturally such as; stress, nutrient deficiencies, EMF, medications and artificial food additives.

Common Enzymes

  • Carbohydrases (amylases) work on carbohydrates to break down starch into simple sugars
  • alpha-Galactosidase - Helps to break down specific “fermentable carbohydrates” into its sugars.
  • Proteases break long protein chains into smaller amino acid chains and into single amino acids
  • Lipase digests fats or triglycerides into free fatty acids (lipids) used for energy and cell protection
  • Lactase digests lactose – the sugar found in dairy products
  • Bromelain is similar to protease in that it helps digest proteins into amino acids

When should you consider supplementing digestive enzymes?

  • When you want help to prevent gas/bloating and other common digestive issues. These happen when food that isn’t broken down arrive to our small intestine or colon and start to ferment there rather than digesting properly. This is common if the body is taking on a high toxic load or when dealing with periods of emotional or environmental stress.
  • When you want to maximum nutrient absorption - as we age, production of enzymes in our body naturally decrease, food doesn’t break down as efficiently and causes digestive discomfort. People with diagnosed chronic gut disease such as crohn’s, colitis and other irritable digestive issues tend to have less than optimal enzymes levels.
  • When using medications – most medications tax the body in one way or the other, which takes energy away from your digestive system. This can lead to reduction in food breakdown and increased digestive discomfort. NSAIDS are known to both irritate and deteriorate the digestive lining of the gut, Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prevacid, Dexilant, Pantoprazole) inhibits stomach acid which drastically reduces digestive ability, Statin (cholesterol) drugs have multiple side effects including digestive system problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and gas.
  • When drastically changing your diet. For example; people who switch to a paleo diet significantly increase protein and fat intake, our natural enzyme profile take much longer to adjust to the new diet. Same idea when switching to a primarily plant based diet (reducing animal protein while increasing beans and legumes).
  • When eating an unhealthy diet; The most difficult diet to digest is the modern diet, which contains lots of highly processed foods, fast foods and industrial ingredients such as vegetable oils and refined sugars as well as drastic variances in food types at all times during the year. A diet that does not follow the seasons can often result in digestive troubles.

Overview of Why Should You Take Digestive Enzymes Supplements?

  • To support digestion and alleviate enzyme deficiency
  • When experiencing digestive issues like gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation and bowl irritation
  • A healthy alternative for dangerous digestive inhibiting pharmaceutical drugs
  • To combat nutrition deficiencies due to poor digestive functions
  • If you eat mostly processed and cooked foods
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Gluten intolerance
  • In the absence of fresh and varied food
  • In case of bowel diseases, as an aid to break down and absorb nutrients
  • When experiencing fatigue and exhaustion to help with the large energy requirements of digestion
  • With aging, when the gut has less ability to produce the required amount of enzymes
  • During periods of stress, when the body is using energy for stress rather than digestion

Enzymes you need to know about:

Urgent Care Enzymes 120caps

Urgent Care Enzymes

Is your digestive system feeling overworked? Need help digesting fats and proteins? Digesting fats and proteins are much harder than breaking down carbs. Even people with strong, healthy digestion can have difficulty when following low carb-high fat diets. Grains are great, but they are full of proteins that can be difficult to digest. These enzymes can help!
Adding digestive enzymes to your meals can help you emulsify fats properly while preventing the unwanted effects such gout, gallbladder problems and gut discomfort.
Not all digestive formulas are created the same. Urgent Care is formulated specifically to support the digestion of fats and proteins in the diet. Great for anyone without a gallbladder, anyone struggling with gas and bloating or just general discomfort or fatigue after eating.
Did you know? Urgent care is very beneficial for food sensitivities because most of the culprit food are protein structures (mainly gluten, processed dairy and soy). 

Daily Maintenance 60 caps

Daily Maintenance

Also known as ‘full spectrum’. This is a good all-around digestive enzyme combination to support starch, sugar, dairy, vegetable and protein digestion.
It’s designed to support people with weak digestion (like elderly) or people struggling with ongoing digestive disease.
*After a round of antibiotics our gut flora takes time to rehabilitate, for 3-4 weeks enzymes levels go down as well. So this makes a nice companion to support digestion along with a probiotic.

Immediate Relief Enzymes

As the name suggest, this is the enzyme to take when your digestion needs immediate help.
Perfect for people with food intolerance after being exposed to culprit food, especially dairy.
It contains lactase for lactose intolerance/gas and bloating.
Designed for usually healthy digestive systems that need occasional help with food intolerances or sporadic digestive issues.
This is the best one to take on your next trip.

Flora Enzymes Immediate Relief Travellers Size

Immediate Relief traveler’s size is a must have in any purse!

Digest Best Enzymes

Enerex Digest Best is a full spectrum enzyme blend that enhances the digestion and assimilation of food by helping to break down every type of food group: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, dairy, plant and vegetable material (cellulose). Digest Best is designed as a replacement for the enzymes lost in the cooking and processing of food, and is intended for those who want to fully benefit from the nutrients in the foods they consume. The addition of Betaine HCl helps with indigestion, L-Glutamine helps your body repair and soothe the digestive tract, and DPP IV Protease breaks down gluten and casein - the common culprits for those with wheat and dairy intolerance.



V-Enzymes is a benchmark vegan digestive support product. It includes plant and microbial enzymes and broad-spectrum action. The formula helps to reduce the complex nutritional components of food, digesting proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates to allow for optimal absorption. In laboratory results, the effects of one V-Enzymes capsule on digestion of beef, egg white and zucchini was investigated (items provided a typical profile of protein, fat and carbohydrate). The in vitro experiments simulated intestinal conditions including adjustments for pH and simulated ‘churning and pulverization’ action of the stomach (via stomacher mixed well and incubated at 37°C/ 98.6°F). In all cases the addition of V-Enzymes completely liquefied the food item compared to the control where only stomach pulverization took place.* Note: It is available in capsules or chewable tablets

Digest Best Enzymes

Digest Best Enzymes

Enerex Digest Best is a full spectrum enzyme blend that enhances the digestion and assimilation of food by helping to break down every type of food group: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, dairy, plant and vegetable material (cellulose). Digest Best is designed as a replacement for the enzymes lost in the cooking and processing of food, and is intended for those who want to fully benefit from the nutrients in the foods they consume. The addition of Betaine HCl helps with indigestion, L-Glutamine helps your body repair and soothe the digestive tract, and DPP IV Protease breaks down gluten and casein - the common culprits for those with wheat and dairy intolerance.

If you want to take your health to the next level by understanding digestion at a deeper level and explore some other factors affecting it as well as learning about various natural remedies then check out my Digestive Health Kickstarter Program. It's just $10.99. You can buy it here to get the download.

In health and joy,

- Rick Kohut


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