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It Doesn't Agree with Me...

It’s a common phrase we hear from folks as they age. Unfortunately, this common cliché can deflect the cause of an intolerance to food when the problem may in fact be a shortage of digestive enzymes.

Whether it’s corn, beans, onions, or any member of the cruciferous group of foods that includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, or cauliflower, narrowing your range of fibre- and nutrient-rich foods due to digestive concerns can compromise many aspects of your health. Indeed, even the avoidance of spices such as curry, black pepper, ginger, and chili due to acid reflux (heartburn) can deny your health of many digestive, metabolic, and inflammatory benefits… not to mention flavour.

Gas, bloating, reflux, IBS, and irregularity can all be signs of a digestive-enzyme shortage. Fortunately, supplementation can help.

Pancreatic insufficiency (often age-related) is a common cause of incomplete digestion. The pancreas is the most critical digestive organ, with the production in excess of a litre per day of enzymes that specialize in the breakdown of proteins (protease), carbohydrates (amylase), and fats (lipase). Supplementation with pancreatic enzymes of animal origin duplicates our own production of this trio of enzymes, which is an excellent therapeutic option for digestive support.

Here’s an overview of several other compounds to look for in a comprehensive digestive aid:

  • Betaine hydrochloride is essential to bolster the amount of hydrochloric acid within the stomach to initiate protein digestion and neutralize harmful bacteria.
  • Pepsin A is a proteolytic enzyme that works synergistically with stomach acids to initiate protein breakdown.
  • Ox bile amplifies the liver’s supply of bile for natural assistance breaking down stubborn fats that can lead to bloating and discomfort.
  • Papain—sourced from papaya fruit—assists in the breakdown and assimilation of stubborn proteins that, left undigested, can contribute to inflammation and food intolerances.

The importance of eating a broad range of food correlates with a diverse probiotic population within our digestive tract. Addressing digestive challenges with supplementation can deliver benefits that are more far-reaching than averting a sore stomach, gas, or bloating. It can elevate long-term nutrient status, immune performance, energy levels, and—last but not least—looking forward to culinary adventures that can truly enhance your quality of life.