Raw fruits and vegetables contain live enzymes that help our bodies break them down and absorb their nutrients. Any food that’s been processed or cooked beyond a light steaming, however, does not contain its own enzymes. While our bodies have their own reserve of digestive enzymes, these reserves are depleted as we age. Fortunately, we can ease our reliance on them by taking digestive enzyme supplements. The body may then use its store of enzymes to repair DNA and renew skin collagen, promoting health and beauty.
What to Look For
Vegan Not all enzyme supplements are vegan—watch out for blends containing bovine ingredients. Choosing vegan isn’t just better for the animals. According to clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, “Plant enzymes may be more active at a fuller pH range than animal-based products,” making for a more effective supplement. Sounds good to me!
The Right Enzymes Make sure your digestive enzyme supplements contain the following:
Amylase – breaks down starches
Protease – breaks down protein
Lipase – breaks down fat
For a bonus:
Cellulase – breaks down cellulose and chitin (found in the cell walls of candida).
Giving your digestion a boost may result in the following benefits:
improved absorption of minerals and vitamins
decreased indigestion (bloating, constipation, gas)—and increased digestive comfort
improved conditions like acne and other skin imbalances
How to Use Them Preferably, digestive enzymes should be taken before any meal containing cooked food. They may also be taken during or after the meal if you forget to take them before—which I sometimes do! While I store a large bottle in my kitchen vitamin cabinet, I also tote around a little bottle in my purse. They’re a huge comfort when I’m travelling or eating out. Of course, as with any supplement, digestive enzymes are not a ticket to eat crazy-processed food–that’s never good for digestion and health. Digestive enzyme supplements are non-habit forming and complement any regimen of probiotics and other nutritional supplements. Consult your doctor before consuming if you are pregnant or have a special health condition.
A Few Suggestions
Containing enzymes from ten different plants, these vegan enzyme supplements are a good choice for anyone trying to avoid common allergens like gluten and soy.
Recommended by clinical nutritionist Lauren Talbot, these supplements contain a good dose of cellulase (see above), and may be beneficial for those suffering from candida.
With twenty different digestive enzymes, the Omega-Zyme supplements boost any diet already high in raw fruits and vegetables.
What do you think, dumplings? Have you tried taking enzyme supplements? What other supplements or probiotics do you take? Discuss!
Related: Can Your Gut Affect Your Mood?
Photos: 123rf, Rainbow Light, Healthforce Nutritionals, Garden of Life