According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders
, gastrointestinal disorders affect 1 in 4 people in the U.S. Although the symptoms of GI disorders themselves may not be debilitating, an inability to digest certain foods could compromise your ability to maintain health and to provide the body with the vitamins and minerals needed to sustain health.
If your digestive system cannot digest and transform the nutrients in your food into the nutrients your body needs and which it can use, then your body may end up with deficiencies, and you will pay the price in terms of your health.
The most common enzymes for digestion are lipase, amylase, and protease, but these are not the only enzymes you need to ensure an efficient digestive process. Enzymes like cellulase, invertase, pectinase, and galactosidase also play roles in the transformation of nutrients, and a lack of these enzymes can result in digestive inefficiency.
Plants consist of a millions of cells surrounded by a tough cell wall. Many of the nutrients in the plants are contained in the cells themselves, and digesting the cell walls of the fruits and vegetables you eat is vital for supporting a healthy digestive system. Cellulose is a major component of these cell walls.
If you have included a variety of healthy greens, sprouts, and other vegetables and fruits in your diet, then your digestive system needs cellulase to break down the components in the cell walls of these plants. Without sufficient cellulase, this material cannot be broken down efficiently, and this can lead to gas, bloating, and discomfort.
The modern diet contains a large component of starch, carbohydrates, and sugars. Although it is best to minimize your intake of sugar, most diets will still contain a certain amount of it. The body needs sugar in the form of glucose to power your cells. To convert sugar and carbohydrates into glucose, the digestive system must split sugar into its component parts of glucose and fructose. Invertase is vital for this process.
Invertase is also an antioxidant that protects the GI system from free radical damage, and it acts as a natural immune booster within the body.
Many fruits like apples and bananas contain a type of fiber called pectin that is found in the cell walls of these fruits. Pectin is often used as the thickening agent in preserves and jams, and it may therefore be present in your diet in many of the foods you consume.
You need pectinase to break down the pectin in the fruits you eat, and your body needs pectin to promote the healthy colonization of your digestive tract. Pectin is used by your colon as fuel for the cells in the colon. Pectin also supports the absorption of other nutrients in the fruits and vegetables you eat.
Your may have heard about the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables. The cruciferous vegetable family includes vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and various types of other greens. These vegetables contain proteins, vegetable matter, and active ingredients that promote optimal health, but these compounds also pose a challenge to the digestive tract. Many individuals struggle to digest these vegetables efficiently, and this results in bloating, gas, pain, discomfort, and other digestive symptoms that make them difficult to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. They are particularly known for their ability to create gas within your digestive tract.
However, you don’t need to suffer with gas and bloating if you have the right enzymes to digest these vegetables. Alpha galactosidase is the enzyme that is responsible for breaking down greens and cruciferous vegetables into the nutrients your body needs. Once broken down, these components no longer create gas and bloating within the digestive tract, and you are able to get the full health benefits from these vegetables.
Your body is supposed to produce alpha galactosidase, but genetics, age, and other factors play a role in its production. It is therefore possible to not produce sufficient amounts for your needs. The enzyme is not found in food, but many digestive supplements now offer alpha galactosidase as part of their enzyme supplement, so it is possible to supplement your levels of this enzyme.
Supplements that Support Digestion
If you are struggling with digestive disorders or symptoms like gas, bloating pain, diarrhea, or gastrointestinal discomfort, then it may be good idea to invest in a digestive supplement
like the Digestzyme-V by Ortho Molecular Products
that contains a variety of the enzymes that are vital for digestion.