Digestive Enzymes and Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that affects 1.4 million Americans annually.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that affects 1.4 million Americans annually, with most patients diagnosed before the age of 30.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Crohn’s disease is one of two major chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, known as IBD.  Crohn’s disease produces severe inflammation within the intestinal tract, causing diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and substantial weight loss. It is an incurable autoimmune disease, but symptom reduction is possible through controlling diet, drinking plenty of fluids and not smoking.  Because the intestines remain inflamed throughout life, digestion of certain foods is difficult. People with Crohn’s should avoid dairy products and decrease the amount of fiber consumed. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can be helpful in digesting and absorbing food in the affected intestines.

Digestive Enzymes

Our gastrointestinal tract uses vital digestive enzymes to break down and assimilate nutrients in food so the body can effectively absorb them. Typically, raw foods contain enough enzymes to facilitate the digestion process, reducing your body’s need to produce digestive enzymes. However, when you’re not consuming enough raw foods, your body must depend on making its own enzymes for digestion.  Your organs and the systems they support become stressed from having to participate so heavily in this process.  Other parts of your body suffer, particularly the immune system.  So, consuming only cooked foods is exhausting to your body.

The particular enzymes vital to healthy digestion include lipase, cellulase, pepsin, ptyalin, trypsin, amylase and protease. Cellulase – which is necessary to digest fiber – cannot be produced within the body, so the only way to obtain it is by eating raw foods or supplementation. Protease enzymes are plant-based and have to been shown to be especially helpful in alleviating the intestinal inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. Protease facilitates the breaking down of complex proteins into easily absorbed amino acids.

The Connection

If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, your intestines are not healthy enough to efficiently digest and assimilate the nutrients in food.  They need help. Supplementing with extra digestive enzymes improves the intestines’ ability to digest food and reduces the painful symptoms that result when your body can’t function properly.  Even if you don’t have Crohn’s disease and suffer from symptoms like heartburn, constipation, gas, ulcers and immune system issues, you may be lacking enough enzymes to properly digest your food.

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