Monthly Nutritional Practice Builder: November 2017

Human digestion is a complex process with many stages. At any of these stages, inadequate concentrations of natural digestive acids and enzymes can make digestion problematic. Digestion begins with a very simple, yet important step: chewing. The smaller the particles of food are when swallowed, the easier they are to process and the smoother digestion will be.

From the mouth, food travels to the stomach, where it is further digested by stomach acid. Americans are taught to believe that digestive problems arise because we produce too much stomach acid. But more often than not, digestive problems arise from too little acid production. Stomach acid is critical to digestion and performs many functions in the digestive process. It aids in the digestion of protein, facilitates the assimilation of minerals and essential nutrients, controls harmful bacteria and parasites that may be present in our food, and stimulates the production of additional digestive enzymes. This depletion in digestive acids and enzymes, along with the challenges of the American diet, are responsible for the digestive dysfunction which many people experience today.

Symptoms often believed to be caused by high stomach acid, such as bloating, belching, stomach pain, heartburn and bad breath, can actually be caused by low stomach acid and insufficient digestive enzymes. The prolonged usage of acid blocking drugs has been shown to cause an increase in the risk of hip fractures, H. pylori infections of the stomach, pneumonia, and an increased incidence of food allergies and intestinal infections. As we age, we produce smaller amounts of stomach acid, which can cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Stress and low thyroid production also can add to the reduction in essential digestive acids and enzymes.

While everyone can benefit from using a digestive enzyme supplement, there is not one single product that is right for everyone. Digestive Enzymes with Betaine is a natural dietary digestive supplement specifically formulated with bile, active digestive enzymes and betaine. This product would be a good choice for those individuals who consume a diet consisting of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Digestive Enzymes (Vegetarian) is a comprehensive blend of enzymes that not only facilitates the digestion of macronutrients, but also enhances the digestion of hard-to-digest foods such as dairy, grains, legumes and vegetables found in a vegetarian diet. Finally, Gluten Digestive Enzymes is a natural dietary supplement specifically formulated with enzymes known to enhance the digestion of gluten. More and more Americans are being diagnosed as being gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant. Even the smallest amount of consumed gluten can create problems for these individuals. Gluten presence is pervasive in American society. It can even be found in condiments and medications. Gluten Digestive Enzymes, taken before a meal, will help to digest gluten that is inadvertently ingested in a meal.