You’ve likely heard of digestive enzymes and already know they are important for helping to break down the foods you eat. But you may not know just how necessary enzymes are to every cell in your body—not just for digestion, but for all your physiological processes. Enzymes are your body’s workers. They are responsible for energy production, fighting infections and healing wounds, reducing inflammation, carrying away toxic waste and slowing the aging process. When you were young, you had an abundant supply of enzymes and energy. You felt great with enzymes to spare, which kept your body running efficiently.
Over time, you begin to lose that efficiency. You might not notice right away, but eventually you’ll realize you’re less able to eat some of the foods you love or are less able to recover as quickly from the aches and pains of weekend activities. This reduced digestive ability, vitality and stamina can signal an enzyme deficiency, specifically a protease deficiency.
Protease is the digestive enzyme needed to digest protein. Proteolytic enzymes break down the peptide bonds in protein to free the amino acids needed by your body. Additionally, these enzymes have been used in a variety of therapies based on studies indicating their benefits in oncology, inflammatory conditions and immune regulation. Supplementing with proteases may:
- Improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
- Repair cellular damage of stomach ulcers
- Reduce osteoarthritis discomfort
- Encourage good digestive health
- Decrease gastric discomfort and gas
Combining different enzymes from a variety of sources provides a much broader range of digestive capability. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant and have difficulty digesting dairy foods, you may be deficient in lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down and absorbing milk sugar. As we get older, our bodies produce less lactase. Lipase is especially helpful in the digestion of dietary fats. Amylase digests fruits and vegetables, while cellulose tackles grains. Look for a digestive enzyme supplement that encompasses all of these for the best results.