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Enzymes for Digestion Boost Immunity

By , Managing Editor
Friday, January 25, 2013
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With more of the health industry focusing on the gut as the center for overall wellness, you may have already heard of enzymes. They help your body get the most from the food you eat, but how? On the January 25 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed the relationship between enzymes and our immune system.

What are enzymes?
Enzymes are first and foremost crucial for digestion. They break down different food substances (carbohydrates, fat and protein) and help the body properly absorb the nutrients within. As explained on the show, lipases are enzymes that tackle fats, proteases break down proteins and amylases are needed to process carbohydrates. There are several enzymes that fall into these three categories. Without enzymes, you can experience symptoms of indigestion like gas and bloating. However, the modern, more processed diet can prove quite the challenge for the body's own, naturally occurring enzymes.

Enzymes for Immunity
As guest Robynne Chutkan, MD, explained, 70 percent of your body's immune system is found within the gut. The immune system is the body's first line of defense against pathogens and other toxins as well as free radicals. The immune system helps prevent you from contracting viral or bacterial infections. Again, the modern diet as well as the modern medications and over-the-counter products we take (especially for indigestion) can weaken the immune system, according to Dr. Chutkan.

Your body produces enzymes naturally, however, they do decline with age. Other factors that can reduce the amount of enzymes your body produces includes stress, poor lifestyle choices or diet and the toxins we encounter in our environment everyday. If you're experiencing digestive symptoms regularly, a skin rash or feel like you're constantly getting sick, you may be lacking in enzymes.

Trying an Enzyme Supplement
Dr. Chutkan suggested protecting the gut with additional enzymes to make sure its one-two punch remains intact. You need to make sure the foods you consume are broken down properly to not only provide the nutrients your body needs, but also to "feed" the immune system. This is especially important for anyone who consumes fast food or processed foods regularly. You can get more enzymes through fermented, raw foods like pickled vegetables and fruits like papaya and pineapple.

You can also try a supplement, which can be produced from plants, animal sources, fungi and bacteria (good bacteria). You can find supplements that contain one specific enzyme (like papain or quercetin), but Dr. Chutkan recommended looking for a blend. He also said to find one without binders or fillers and in a capsule form.

Do your research on the manufacturer whose product you're interested in to make a smarter purchase. Follow dosage instructions carefully to make sure you're getting the most out of supplemental enzymes. As always, consult with your doctor before adding new supplements to your routine, especially if you're on medication or being treated for digestive issues.

Shop for a range of enzyme products at eVitamins and feed your gut to stay well!

Products you may like:

World Nutrition Vitalzym  World Nutrition Vitalzym 
Why you may like this product? Get all the enzymes you need to break down foods with this great supplement from World Nutrition. Each serving provides the enzymes bromelain, papain, rutin, amylase, protease, lipase, amla and serrapeptase. This combination can help you break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins, especially in processed foods.
Garden of Life RAW Enzymes Women  Garden of Life RAW Enzymes Women 
Why you may like this product? The high potency enzymes in this supplement are raw and combined with powerful probiotics. As explained on the show, the enzymes help the body break down food to extract its nutrients and the probiotics keep the gut healthy so it can absorb the nutrients. Also available in a formula for men and formulas for adults over the age of 50.
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Enzymes are needed for countless actions within the body. Do you know what they do? Learn why should make sure you
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