Discovering the Side Effects of Digestive Enzymes

Discovering the Side Effects of Digestive Enzymes

The human body has been blessed with an extraordinary framework of the most impeccable systems ever; all working in perfect co-ordination with each other.

The digestive system, among others, is one of the most essential systems of the body. This system, however, is not completely immune to the repetitive blows impacted upon it by faulty eating habits and a diet based on processed foods. The result; the digestive system gets weak over the time, and we tend to develop digestive problems like indigestion, diarrhea, constipation etc.

Thankfully, just like vitamin and mineral supplements; we have digestive enzyme supplements to our rescue. You may find these at your local pharmacy store, and they can be a great life-saver for individuals suffering from chronic digestive problems. These supplements help aid the natural process of digestion and prevent many related health issues.

These supplements, however, also carry with them certain side effects; which cannot be ignored. Read on to know more…

A brief introduction- Digestive enzyme supplements are composed of natural substances that help break down food and make the process of digestion easier. Depending upon the concentration of enzymes in a particular supplement, it may be used as a general supplement, or as a replacement therapy for individuals suffering from chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis etc.

The side effects of digestive enzymes-There are certain unavoidable side effects associated with the use of digestive enzyme supplements. Though the severity of these side effects vary from person to person and depends largely upon the dosage of the supplements; it is important to realize the occurrence of these health risks.

Some common side effects are listed below-

  • Abdominal discomfort (ranging from mild to severe)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Joint pain
  • Painful urination
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Itching/swelling in the face, throat or tongue.

The story behind-  The reason why digestive enzyme supplements; though replicate the functioning of the digestive enzymes that the body itself produces; is because these supplements lack a buffering system to help protect the delicate, fragile internal system.

Heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and indigestion are all observed because the digestive enzyme supplements have excessive protease-an enzyme that aids digestion, without a buffering mechanism. This enzyme can be hard on the delicate lining of the stomach and can cause these symptoms.

Precautionary measures- Before considering taking digestive enzyme supplements, seek advice from your physician. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to avoid taking these supplements as they are not always in their purest form and can in turn, affect your baby too.

Kids, elderly people and immunocompromised individuals should be extra careful before starting with any supplements. If you are on medications, consult your doctor to check out if these supplements could cause drug interactions or interfere with the functioning of the medications.

Lastly, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage. Even if you’ve missed out on a dose, don’t double it; just follow as directed.

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