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Digestive Enzymes – Serena Coan Bsc, DipION, CNHC

With your first bite of food, your body prepares to digest and absorb by producing stomach acid, digestive enzymes and bile, however various factors can influence our ability to produce these.


Why do we need them?

Digestive enzymes play a vital role in breaking down the food we eat, they are present throughout the body, secreted in saliva but also by the pancreas, gallbladder and liver. There are three main categories of digestive enzymes which serve different functions:


  • Proteases – these break down protein into smaller peptides and amino acids

  • Amylases – these break down carbohydrates into simple sugars

  • Lipases – these break down fat into fatty acids

Stomach acid also aids the breakdown of protein molecules and fights against bacteria that enters through food to reduce infection. Bile is introduced in the small intestine to aid the digestion and absorption of fats. Without these components the body would not be able to optimally digest food and absorb nutrients, which may lead to digestive complaints and nutrient deficiencies over time.

Why do some people have insufficient secretions?

There are a plethora of reasons why an individual may produce insufficient digestive enzymes or stomach acid, including, but not limited to, chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cystic fibrosis, stress, gallbladder removal, and gastrointestinal surgery. In some of these cases, individuals may benefit from adding these into the diet either through food or supplementation.


Digestion Requirements

Gastric Secretions

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