Vitamins? Check. Minerals? Check. Probiotics? Check. Still not feeling your best? What about enzymes?
Enzymes are a crucial part of the equation we're learning a lot more about these days. They can help you stay healthy, preventing illness, aid in the breakdown of your food and can also help you power through your day. Sound good? Here's why you should add enzymes to your health checklist.
What Are Enzymes?
Enzymes are essential for the proper function of all the body's systems. Enzymes are considered complex proteins made up of linked chains of amino acids and there are many different kinds. Each of these specific types of enzymes causes a different chemical change within the body, making them catalysts. Enzymes can be found in all of the body's cells and organs as well as the fluids, like saliva, blood and those fluids found in the digestive system.
Within each of your cells, there may be between 100 and 1,000 enzymes, all waiting for their chemical match to spring to action. As you get older, your body will produce less and less enzymes, which makes it necessary to pay attention to how you're feeling in order to determine if you're in need of more.
Benefits of Enzymes
Chemical reactions are behind everything your body does. That's why, when your body is missing a certain enzyme or enzymes, the consequences can be dramatic. Here are some of the main ways enzymes impact your health:
1. Digestion -- The food you eat has different components that need to be broken down by the body individually. These components are carbohydrates, fats and proteins and each them has a different type of enzyme. These enzymes break down molecules so vital nutrients can be extracted and absored and waste products can be removed. For carbohydrates, you need amylase, for proteins, protease are essential and lipase handles fats. If you're low on or missing any one of those, you can experience symptoms of digestion like gas, bloating or constipation. Lactase is also needed to breakdown lactose, which explains why some people are lactose intolerant.
2. Immunity -- The majority of your body's immune system is found within the gut. About 70 percent, actually. Your stress level, age, diet and lifestyle can all impact your enzyme production, which can lead to a weakened immune system. When the immune system is compromised, you're more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections that can make you sick. Free radicals, which we encounter from pollution and toxins in our daily environment, will also go after the cells, causing oxidative stress and damage that causes the body to age.
3. Energy Production -- Since enzymes break down carbohydrates, or glucose, they're an essential component of energy production. Using glucose for energy is ideal to prevent it from being stored within the body as fat, which brings us to the added benefit of metabolism support. You want to help your body break down these food components efficiently to keep energy up and blood sugar levels stable. Without proper breakdown of the foods you eat, your energy levels will peak and dip throughout the day, affecting your productivity and how you feel in general.
There many also be anti-inflammatory benefits to ingesting greater amounts of enzymes, which include reduced pain and improvement of inflammatory skin conditions. However, these benefits require further study.
How to Get More Enzymes
Enzymes can be found in many foods you eat, like the papaya above, which contains papain. Pineapple is another source of enzymes, most notably bromelain. You can also take an enzyme supplement. There are single-enzyme supplements or you can choose a blend to cover all your bases. These supplements should generally be taken with meals to help your body break down the food you're consuming.
As with all supplements, speak with your doctor first if you have a medical condition, especially one related to digestion, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Shop for enzyme supplements at eVitamins today to see all they can do for you! Have a great week!