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 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
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.
Understanding Digestive Enzymes When your body starts digesting food, it produces enzymes that
contribute to the process. A lack of enzymes can cause problems, so
it's important to understand the purpose of each enzyme and what
enzyme supplementation can do for your health.
The Importance of Enzymes Enzymes are needed for countless actions within the body. Do you know what they do? Learn why should make sure you
Statements made about specific vitamins, supplements, procedures or other items sold on or through this website have not been evaluated by eVitamins, UK Department of Health (MHRA) or the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. As always, please consult with a licensed doctor or physician before starting any diet, exercise or supplement program, before taking any vitamin or medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a problem.