If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about digestion until it’s giving you trouble. Frequently, the cause of indigestion is overeating, like when you’re immobilized on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner, wondering why you had three servings of mashed potatoes. (Hint: maybe don’t do that.) But sometimes it’s not foods that cause indigestion. Sometimes, the problem is more systemic.
Before we get into that, it helps to consider how your body digests food.
Meet the Digestive Enzymes
Your body uses two kinds of digestive enzymes to break down what you eat: the ones it makes itself and the ones that come bundled in plant foods. (Nature is helpful like that.)
Some people are familiar with enzymes produced by the stomach, which are known as gastric enzymes or, more colloquially, stomach enzymes. But it’s not just your stomach that makes enzymes. These miniature food processers are secreted at various points throughout your digestive system, including your mouth, pancreas, and small intestine.
Each enzyme is a specialist, designed for a certain kind of food. If you lack a specific enzyme, you’ll have trouble with the food it works on. That’s what’s behind lactose intolerance. Some people don’t make the enzyme lactase (poor souls), so dairy foods don’t agree with them.
Some of the major enzyme players include:
- Amylase, the carb cruncher, breaks down both the virtuous (think complex carbs like brown rice) and the junky (think simple carbs like donuts).
- Cellulase, the plant demolisher, razes cellulose, or plant fiber.
- Lipase,the fats expert, handles all manner of lipids: the monos, the polys, and the saturated fats.
- Protease,the protein pro, digests meats, tofu, eggs, and other proteins like a champ.
- Bromelain,your pineapple-derived pal, also helps break down protein.
- Alpha-galactosidase,the enemy of gas and bloating, has a penchant for the complex sugars in beans and greens.
- Lactase, the whiz that helps you digest lactose (milk sugar), lets you enjoy brie cheese and ice cream.
Is Your Thanksgiving Tummy Ache a Sign of a Bigger Issue?
To digest a meal of turkey with dressing and gravy, mashed potatoes with butter, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, wheat rolls, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, you could use all the enzymes above…if you have them.
But you might not. Some people just don’t make sufficient digestive enzymes, or they may lack one entirely. (Consider our lactose-intolerant friends mentioned before.) And since they’re fragile little things, the enzymes that occur in plants can be lost when food is cooked.
Luckily, Flora’s got an answer. Actually, three answers.
- Enzyme Blend is a solid, all-around combination of digestive enzymes to promote healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall health.* It features amylase, alpha-galactosidase, protease, cellulase, lipase, and bromelain for overall digestion, plus lactase for relief from lactose intolerance.*
- Adult Enzyme Blendis a good option for people eating a diet high in protein and fiber. It provides relief from occasional gas, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion.* This blend has nearly all the same enzymes provided in Enzyme Blend (sans lactase) but has more protein and fiber-digesting power.
- Advanced Adult Enzyme Blendis the most powerful enzyme blend Flora offers. If eating certain foods like beans or dairy products regularly gives your digestive system trouble — even sending you running to the bathroom — Advanced Adult Enzyme Blend lets you indulge comfortably.* It supplies all the enzymes in Adult Enzyme Blend, with most at higher potencies, plus lactase for relief from lactose intolerance.*
For more digestive support, try Floradix Gallexier® Herbal Bitters or Flora Swedish Bitters: Maria’s Original Formula. This week only, we are offering 15% off all Flora Enzymes using the code ENZYMES15 at www.florahealth.com.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.