Why Take Digestive Enzymes?
By Dr. Christine Doherty
Enzymes are specialized molecules, made by our bodies. There are thought to be approximately 75,000 enzymes in the human body. Enzymes are complex proteins that are generally thought to work in a “lock and key” fashion, meaning every enzyme (key) fits a specific substrate or ”lock”. When enzymes come in contact with their substrate they facilitates some kind of change in the state of the substrate, changing it in to something that is more useable for our bodies. If enzymes didn’t facilitate the quick changing of these molecules, the reactions would happen too slowly to support human life. There are two main types of enzymes: digestive and metabolic, If you are missing even one enzyme you can wind up with a serious disease.
One of the best-known enzyme deficiencies causes lactose intolerance, a deficiency in the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, the sugar found in dairy. Lactose intolerance is a common deficiency in celiacs, as many of the digestive enzymes are made at the tips of the intestinal lining, called the villi. Celiac disease damages the villi leading to multiple chronic digestive enzyme deficiencies, some that recover when the gluten is removed and the villi heal, some that don’t. Two of the most commonly recognized brands of digestive enzymes that have been used over the counter for decades are Beano and Lactaid.
Digestive enzymes also play a role in the absorption of nutrients, especially fat soluble ones. That is a major reason they are included in the formula for C-liac Vitality Packs. I have worked with thousands of gluten free patients and I almost died of complications of celiac disease. I personally didn’t tolerate most multivitamins; they gave me digestive and immune symptoms. I found this was common in the gluten free population. I eventually figured out that if I combined digestive enzymes with a multivitamins both my patients and I could tolerate them again. I suspect the key is lipase, which helps break down and facilitates absorption of the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. I found that a broad-spectrum enzyme, like the one in the C-liac Vitality Digestive Enzyme, worked best for improving tolerance of the nutrients in the formulas.
I have been in private practice since 1999, and I think it would be accurate to say I have prescribed digestive enzymes to thousand of people, most of whom had compromised digestive tracts or some form of gluten sensitivity. I have seen my patient’s lives transformed and their symptoms improve dramatically with the use of these safe and effective pills. If someone has an enzyme deficiency, or insufficiency they will respond within a day or two of beginning the supplements. Like with the examples of Beano and Lactaid, they work right away.
I really feel the digestive enzymes are a critical part of the clinical effectiveness of my C-liac Vitality supplement convenience packs. I want celiacs and those on a gluten free diet to have access to what I have clinically found to be most effective in improving quality of life in this underserved population. The future treatment of celiac disease may just lie in enzyme therapy. The pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily in just that theory.
Digestive Vitality Enzyme is a broad spectrum enzyme, meaning it contains enzymes that digest fat, protein and carbohydrates. When taken with food, they act like little scissors that break down those large molecules in to their individual components so that we can absorb and re-use those building blocks for our own bodies. Symptoms that can be caused by a lack of digestive enzymes include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. You have to dose the enzymes correctly for the amount of food in the meal, for example if you are having a piece of fruit you may not need any enzymes, but if you are having a steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli you may need four, because that meal contains a lot of fat, protein and carbohydrates, so you need more scissors to break down all that food. The enzymes need to be in your stomach at the same time as the food in order to facilitate digestion.
Enzyme therapy can be a powerful ally in aiding optimal digestion and renewed vitality. They are safe, can work quickly and are inexpensive. They have been a foundation in my clinical practice for the last decade. I hope they can enhance your well-being too.