Food Intolerance, Enzymes and Digestion

Have you heard of food intolerance? If you are prone to frequent digestive problems, suffer from abdominal pain, bloating and stomach upset on a daily basis, you may be suffering from food intolerance.

Don’t worry-you’re not alone. Statistics have revealed that there has been a steep increase in the number of people suffering from food intolerance over the past decade.


Food Intolerance

Some researchers believe that our digestive system was made to digest and take in food in its purest form-raw. Our delicate stomachs were made to accept food in this form only, not the processed, additive-rich, nutrient-lacking food that we consume today on a daily basis. Raw foods are low in calories, and high in nutrients, which are then absorbed by the body and support different organs and body function.

Processed, packaged foods, on the other hand, barely contain any nutrients, and loaded with preservatives which may slowly and steadily, start accumulating in the body.

With certain foods , an enzyme deficiency could cause stomach distress and may cause a variety of symptoms in some people. Many experience intolerance with milk and gluten as the body may lack the enzyme needed to break these foods down, they may also be intolerant to sulfites or food additives.

A food intolerance should not be confused with a food allergy, which is an immune response to certain foods where the body reacts as if it were fighting an intruder, causing the immune system to overreact and release antibodies. This may cause a life threatening reaction.


Types of Digestive Enzymes

Since they’re a part of your body, you ought to know a little bit about them. Digestive enzymes, like the name suggests, are enzymes that aid the process of digestion of food. Since the foods we consume are so different from each other in terms of nutritional value and composition, different digestive enzymes may be needed. Listed below are some common and important digestive enzymes.

  • Lactase- Responsible for the breakdown of the sugar lactose (found in dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt etc), this enzyme is one of the most vital enzymes for digestion. People who suffer from lactose intolerance are unable to product this enzyme in their bodies, and hence, need to take supplemental forms of lactase to help digest dairy products.
  • Lipase- This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of fats, and is present in small amounts in the mouth and the stomach, and in large amounts in the pancreas.
  • Amylase- This enzyme plays a role in digestion of carbohydrates and helps convert starch into sugars. Determining the level of this enzyme in the body is sometimes used as a diagnostic technique to help detect diseases of the pancreas and other organs involved in digestion.
  • Proteases- Trypsin, chymotrypsin and pepsin are some common proteases; all of which play a role in breaking down proteins. They are also known as proteolytic enzymes or proteinases. These enzymes are now making several breakthroughs in the field of medicine and have major applications in the field of oncology, immune system regularion, prevention of inflammatory conditions, enzyme therapy, blood regology control and more.
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