Optimise Digestion with Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics Article

Some people struggle with digestive issues that can compromise their ability to adequately break down and absorb the nutrients we get from our food and supplements.

Your digestive system breaks down what we eat and drink into smaller components to extract nutrients with a combination of mechanical digestion – physically chewing and contractions in the gastrointestinal tract – and chemical processes that rely on enzymes and probiotics.

Your body naturally produces digestive enzymes mainly in the pancreas, as well as the small intestines, stomach and even your mouth. Different enzymes fulfil various roles in the body by helping to break down and digest specific macronutrients and other compounds.

For example, proteases like pepsin and proteinases like trypsin break down proteins into their smaller amino acids components.

When the body is working optimally and we eat a wholesome and balanced diet, we generally have sufficient enzymes to meet the demands associated with digesting 3-6 meals a day.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are beneficial living micro-organisms that primarily help to digest food and absorb nutrients. Their role in digestive health includes promoting gastrointestinal motility (how easily digested food moves through your intestines) and function.

They also help to regulate intestinal mucus secretion and utilisation and help to synthesise nutrients like vitamins B and K and produce short-chain fatty acids and other organic compounds that perform various vital functions in living cells.

We get enzymes from numerous fruits and vegetables. For example, avocados contain the digestive enzyme lipase, while mangoes and bananas contain amylase.

Natural honey has amylase and protease, and papaya has a type of protease called papain. Fermented foods like cabbage also gain digestive enzymes during the fermentation process.

And you can bolster your gut microbiome by eating natural sources of probiotics by including cultured dairy products such as kefir and natural full-fat yoghurt, and fermented foods like sauerkraut in your diet.

However, various factors can affect natural enzyme production, such as stress, food allergies, gut inflammation, low stomach acid, eating an unhealthy diet, alcohol and certain medications. We also get fewer digestive enzymes from modern-day diets because heating food above 46.6°C denatures them, which renders most enzymes inactive. And many of us don’t eat sufficient raw, living plant food to sufficiently replenish our digestive enzymes.

Similarly, poor diets that include excessive amounts of processed foods and sugar, exposure to toxins from modern farming practices, as well as antibiotics, medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, and excessive stress (dietary, physical, psychological, emotional or environmental stress) can destroy the probiotics in our gut.

Without sufficient digestive enzymes and a healthy and adequately populated microbiome, your body cannot break down food effectively.

That means, even if eating a nutritious and balanced diet, you may not get all the nutrients your body needs due to a lack of adequate absorption. A lack of sufficient digestive enzymes and probiotics can also lead to discomfort in the form of bloating, gas and digestive distress such as cramps.

In these instances, supplemental digestive enzymes may offer support. Digestive enzyme tablets taken with meals help your body digest the food you eat and break it down into smaller molecules so your body can absorb the nutrients you need.

Digestive enzymes support healthy digestion by

  • Optimising the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and protein
  • Promoting optimal nutrient absorption
  • Reducing gas, bloating, indigestion, and constipation following meals
  • Helping your body process difficult-to-digest foods
  • Supporting colon health

For example, Biogen Digestive Enzymes have been formulated to assist in digesting proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre. All enzymes included are either from plant or fungal origin.

This effective supplement contains a blend of all the major digestive enzymes, including:

  • Amylase (breaks complex sugars into smaller molecules like maltose)
  • Protease (breaks down proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids)
  • Alpha-galactosidase (a digestive enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates in legumes and other veg)
  • Lactase (produced by cells in the small intestine to break down the milk sugar called lactose)
  • Phytase (an enzyme that specifically acts on phytate, breaking it down to release phosphorus)
  • Maltase (digests maltose into glucose)
  • Cellulase (a digestive enzyme that breaks down cellulose)
  • Lipase (breaks down complex fats into smaller fatty acids and glycerol)
  • Bromelain (a protein-digesting enzyme)
  • Papain (a proteolytic enzyme that helps break down protein)

Products like Biogen Supreme Probiotic 9-Strain or Biogen Probiotic Drops for children and Biogen Probiotic Chews Junior may help to improve and restore the microbial balance in the intestines when ingested on a regular basis by repopulating the gut with a diverse range of beneficial bacteria.

The most common genera of probiotics found in supplemental form include:

  1. Lactobacillus. The most common probiotic.
  2. Bifidobacterium: One of the most popular and best-studied probiotic organisms.

However, supplemental digestive enzymes only work when there is something to digest. Enzymes act as catalysts for a reaction – in this case digesting specific foods. So always take digestive enzyme supplements with meals, or as directed by the label or a healthcare professional when prescribed.

When it comes to probiotics, it is recommended that you alternate the strains your use on a regular basis to avoid overpopulating your gut with too much of one type. As such, a product with multiple strains, like Biogen Supreme Probiotic 9-Strain, offers a suitable option for sustained use.

Despite being a beneficial bacteria, an imbalance of healthy variants in the microbiome can also cause issues such as digestive discomfort and distress.