The process of digestion seems simple enough but there is a lot of activity going on in your gastrointestinal tract long after you finish eating. Not only that, but sometimes it doesn’t work the way we want it to and end up with gas, bloating, cramps and other symptoms. How do digestive enzymes work in the body? How can they help us relieve these symptoms?
What is a Digestive Enzyme?
The digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into small parts so the body can absorb and use nutrients to fuel energy, growth, and cellular function.1 The moment food or drink enters your mouth, the digestive system kicks into high gear. Digestive enzymes are a key part of that complex process.
The digestive system makes enzymes in the mouth, stomach, and small intestines to help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from food so the nutrients can be absorbed and utilized. Nutrients include key amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
But when the foods you love don’t love you back, that could mean you need extra enzyme support. That’s when digestive enzymes can come in handy.
There are a variety of different types of digestive enzymes including pepsin, papain, pancreatin, lactase, cellulase, bromelain, lipase, and more. For example, papain is an enzyme found in papayas that helps support the breakdown of proteins.2 Bromelain, which is a plant-based enzyme from pineapple, also helps support the breakdown of proteins.3 Lactase is an enzyme that helps support the breakdown of lactose, which is a compound found in dairy and milk products.4 Lipase is an enzyme that has been shown to help support the breakdown of fats.5
For people who need additional digestion support, digestive enzymes are available as dietary supplements that can be taken with meals. For additional support, especially for the stomach, digestive enzymes can be combined with soothing herbs such as ginger and peppermint.6
Digestive Enzymes to the Rescue
The function of enzymes in the human digestive system is to help turn food into fuel. Without enzymes, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are not broken down properly to gain the nutrients needed from the foods you eat. Adding digestive enzymes to your mealtime routine will help support digestive and intestinal function. Digestive enzymes before your meal will help give you the comfort you deserve after it.
If your digestive system seems to need a little extra support, consider taking digestive enzymes, like KAL Super Enzymes™. For more tips on nutrition, staying healthy and motherhood follow us on Facebook @kalvits and Instagram at @kalvitamins!
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Your digestive system & how it works. NIH. 2017;Dec. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
- Manjunath M, Chandrashekhar J, Mahesh M. Comparative analysis of papain from different varieties of papaya plant latex. International Journal of Agricultural and Food Science. 2014;4(4):123-127. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279277641_Comparative_Analysis_of_Papain_from_Different_varieties_of_Papaya_Plant_Latex
- Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Altern Med Rev. 2008;13(4):307-14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19152478/
- Malik TF, Panuganti KK. Lactose intolerance. StatPearls. 2023;Apr 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532285/
- Levine ME, Koch SY, Koch KL. Lipase Supplementation before a High-Fat Meal Reduces Perceptions of Fullness in Healthy Subjects. Gut Liver. 2015;9(4):464-469. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477989/?report=reader
- Masruroh N, Safitri Y, Laili U, et al. The effectiveness of giving ginger and mint leaves to the incidence of emesis gravidarum. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. 2020;24(9). http://repository.unusa.ac.id/6195/1/The%20Effectiveness%20of%20Giving%20Ginger%20and%20Mint%20Leaves%20to%20The%20Incidence%20of%20Emesis%20Gravidarum.pdf