Having problems digesting your food? Or is your digestive process producing an excessive amount of gas, bloating and fullness? One cause for these discomforts is a digestive enzyme deficiency.
Digestive enzymes are proteins that catalyze large food breakdown into smaller molecules. You mostly eat carbohydrates, protein or fats, which all need digestive enzyme to split them up for healthy absorption. Enzymes for digestion are produced by your pancreas and do their work in the stomach and small intestines. Some are found in your saliva and may be present in raw food as well.
Some carbohydrates consist of a long chain of glucose that are bonded together, known as starch. Digestive enzymes assist in their quick reduction into maltose, which is two units of glucose. Your saliva contains amylase, which initiates the break down of starches and dismantling is completed in your small intestine with the aid of pancreatic amylase.
Another primary natural enzyme for digestion is pepsin. It’s secreted by your stomach lining and is involved in protein division. Besides pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin are enzymes that also help divide protein. Each type of enzyme specializing in link breaking between the various amino acids.
Your pancreas also secretes lipase enzyme, which breaks up fats into glycerol and fatty acids. Lactase is another small intestine digestive enzyme that’s essential for digesting lactose, a molecule found in milk.
If you have a digestive enzyme deficiency that’s required to partition carbohydrates, then harmless bacteria found in your large intestine participate in breaking down the food. It’s during this separation when hydrogen, carbon dioxide and sometimes methane gases are produced. Outcome of this shortage is excess bloating and flatulence.
A deficiency of an enzyme for digestion is a cause for food intolerance, e.g. lactose intolerance. A cause for malabsorption to occur is when your pancreas fails to produce enough digestive enzymes. Some health conditions associated with this type of enzyme deficiency are pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
The cause of a food allergy is not a deficiency in enzymes required for digestion. Instead, the digestive problem is caused by an immune system response to food that has been mistakenly identified as harmful. As a result, your immune system triggers the release of certain antibodies the next time you eat that food. This in turn causes histamine and other chemicals to be discharged, creating the symptoms of an allergic reaction.