Scientists Say Digestive Enzymes are Key to Fighting Obesity

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Scientists Say Digestive Enzymes are Key to Fighting Obesity

Digestive enzymes help improve nutrient absorption and ensure healthy digestion. In addition, they may also help overcome conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance.

Due to their role in food absorption, many people wonder if digestive enzymes can also help them lose weight. This article refers to the health benefits of digestive enzymes, including their role in weight loss and foods containing digestive enzymes, and the role of supplements.

Before exploring more about the benefits of digestive enzymes, let's understand what digestive enzymes are in greater detail.

What Are Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are compounds that play a crucial role in breaking down the food that you consume. These proteins are also responsible for speeding up the chemical reactions that help turn the nutrients into components that your digestive tract can easily absorb.

Your saliva consists of digestive enzymes. Moreover, some organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, also release digestive enzymes. The cells within the surface of your intestine also store the digestive enzymes. Different types of digestive enzymes break down different nutrients. The three main types of digestive enzymes are:

  • Amylase: It breaks down starches and complex carbs into simple sugar.
  • Protease: It breaks down proteins into amino acids.
  • Lipase: It handles lipids and breaks them into glycerol and fatty acids.

While your body naturally releases digestive enzymes, they are also taken in supplement form. Digestive enzymes help treat serious digestive conditions such as IBS and celiac diseases when taken in supplement form. The health benefits of digestive enzymes are discussed in detail in the next section.

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Digestive Enzymes Benefits

Some of the scientifically proven health benefits of digestive enzymes are discussed below:

1. May Impact Gut Bacteria

According to a research study, digestive enzymes can help improve the gut microbiome, the microorganisms present in your digestive tract.

Another study examined the impact of pairing a probiotic supplement with digestive enzymes. The study revealed that probiotics and digestive enzymes could help protect the body against the gut microbiome, mainly caused due to chemotherapy and antibiotics.

Some studies have also suggested that the gut microbiome can help with weight control. According to a review, an increased amount of the beneficial bacteria in your gut may help reduce body weight and fat mass.

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2. Support Weight Loss

Digestive enzyme inhibitors can help treat obesity as they can decrease the absorption of some macronutrients. A review suggests that supplementing with amylase extracted from white beans may speed up the process of fat and weight loss among humans.

Similarly, a lipase inhibitor known as orlistat can reduce fat absorption, resulting in noticeable weight loss. According to a study, lipase inhibitors may help reduce fat absorption by 30% by minimizing lipase production in the pancreas and stomach, resulting in weight loss.

A study conducted on 40 obese women revealed that using orlistat for a prolonged period could help suppress appetite and hunger by increasing specific hormones in the body.

3. May Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

When food is not broken down completely in the digestive tract, the bacterium in your digestive tract is congested and overfed. As a result, it prompts gas, swelling, loose bowels, and other common effects of IBS. However, some sources suggest that a digestive enzyme, Pancrelipase, can help alleviate some symptoms of IBS and other conditions that are caused due to inflammation in your gut.

Besides, preliminary studies have concluded that appropriate digestive enzymes can help overcome food sensitivities and conditions like lactose intolerance.

4. Ensure Healthy Inflammatory Response

The proteolytic enzymes, such as bromelain, papain, trypsin, chymotrypsin, and papain, help break down proteins into amino acids or polypeptides. The biological catalysts, protease, also help digest the proteins present in poultry, nuts, meats, and eggs.

As protease ensures that protein is highly bioavailable, they are important for many protein interactions, such as improving immune functions and ensuring a healthy inflammatory response. In clinical studies including more than 570 patients with IBS and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), the digestive enzyme supplement helped improve the symptoms such as bloating, constipation, painful bowel movements, and stomach pain.

5. May Help Overcome Pain and Chronic Fatigue

Inflammation is the root cause of pain and health problems. The inflammation in your gut causes pain like migraines and headaches. However, by ensuring smooth digestion, the digestive enzymes reduce inflammation in your gut resulting in decreased pain and fatigue.

6. May Help Reduce Cancer Symptoms and Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Result suggests that digestive enzymes may be beneficial in reducing cancer symptoms and minimizing the side effects of chemotherapy. According to clinical studies with more than 2500 cancer patients, supplements containing digestive enzymes helped overcome cancer-related gut disturbances.

In addition, digestive enzyme supplements also help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Now that you are aware of the benefits of digestive enzymes, you must learn about foods rich in natural digestive enzymes that can help improve your digestion. The next section refers to the foods containing digestive enzymes.

Foods That Contain Digestive Enzymes

Here is the list of foods that contain natural digestive enzymes:

1. Pineapple

Pineapples contain the digestive enzymes known as bromelain. These enzymes help break down protein into amino acids, thereby aiding in the digestion and absorption of proteins.

According to a study on persons with pancreatic insufficiency, Bromelain combined with a pancreatic enzyme supplement enhanced digestion, a condition in which the pancreas cannot produce enough digestive enzymes.

2. Honey

Honey is another important source of digestive enzymes. The enzymes found in honey, especially raw honey, include proteases, amylases, diastases, and invertases.

Proteases are enzymes that help break down proteins into amino acids.

Amylases are enzymes that break down starch into sugars such as glucose and maltose.

Diastases help break down starch into maltose.

Invertases are enzymes that break down sugars like sucrose into glucose and fructose.

If you're looking for digestive health benefits, make sure you get raw honey. Heat is frequently used to process honey, and high heat can disrupt digestive enzymes.

3. Mangoes

Mangoes contain digestive enzyme amylases that help break down carbs into sugar like glucose and maltose. As a result, carbs can be easily digested by your body.

Amylase enzymes in saliva help break down carbs for faster digestion and absorption, which is why chewing meals extensively before swallowing is highly recommended.

4. Bananas

Bananas contain digestive enzymes, amylases, and glucosidases. These digestive enzymes help break down complex carbs into easily absorbed sugar. According to a study, eating bananas also helps increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating.

5. Papaya

Papayas contain a different group of proteases called papain that helps digest proteins. A study suggests that taking papaya-based digestive enzyme formula may help reduce digestive symptoms such as bloating and constipation.

If you want to eat papayas, make sure to eat them when they're ripe and raw, as heat can destroy their digestive enzymes. According to a study, unripe or semi-ripe papayas can also be harmful to pregnant women since they might cause contractions.

6. Avocados

Avocados contain lipase, the digestive enzyme that helps break down fat into smaller molecules like glycerol that your body can easily absorb. Your pancreas produces lipase. Therefore you don't need to consume it.

On the other hand, taking a lipase pill can help with digestion, especially after a high-fat meal. Polyphenol oxidase is one of the enzymes found in avocados. When green avocados are exposed to oxygen, this enzyme causes them to turn brown.

7. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut contains digestive enzymes and is famous as a probiotic food containing healthy gut bacteria, boosting your immunity and digestive health. Research suggests that probiotics can help people with IBS, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. It helps relieve digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.

8. Ginger

Ginger has many health benefits, some of which can be attributed to the digestive enzymes that it contains. Ginger contains Zingibain, the protease that helps convert proteins into their building blocks.

Research suggests that ginger helped those suffering from indigestion by promoting stomach contractions, resulting in making food move faster.

While digestive enzymes can be consumed through food, taking digestive enzyme supplements ensures many health benefits, as discussed next.

How Do Digestive Enzyme Supplements Help Your Body?

While digestive enzymes are naturally produced by your body and are commonly present in food, supplements containing different digestive enzymes provide multiple health benefits. For instance, DMoose digestive enzymes contain a perfect blend of digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes complex include protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase, papain, bromelain, and pectinase.

The best digestive enzyme complex helps improve your gut health. Besides, the perfect blend of enzymes supports digestion and improves nutrients absorption in your body. It helps reduce discomfort caused by gas, bloating, and heartburn due to consuming a meal that is high in sodium, fat, and carbohydrates.

However, to avoid any side effects, it would be best to follow the recommended dosage. An adult may not consume more than one capsule one to two times before the beginning of a meal.

Takeaway

Digestive enzymes are important compounds that break down food so that the digestive tract can easily absorb it. They have multiple health benefits, such as improving your gut health, supporting weight loss, alleviating IBS symptoms, ensuring a healthy inflammatory response, reducing cancer symptoms and side effects of chemotherapy.

While your body naturally produces digestive enzymes, consuming food and supplements containing a perfect blend of digestive enzymes is crucial for maintaining adequate digestive enzymes in the body.

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