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April 9, 2010 at 6:06 AMComments: 0 Faves: 1

Everything About Digestive Enzymes

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Digestive Enzyme Basics

Digestive enzymes are limited to the gastrointestinal tract (digestive system) of the body. Digestive enzymes are responsible for the degradation of specific complex compounds, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, into simpler compounds that can be readily absorbed and used by the body. It is crucial that the body produce adequate amounts of these digestive enzymes to ensure proper digestion has occurred. If food is not digested, it can not be absorbed, and it is possible that nutrients can be excreted and not used if not digested correctly.

Digestive Enzymes: The Digestive Tract and Accessory Organs

The digestive system is responsible for the production of the necessary digestive enzymes. This process begins in the mouth with mastication and saliva. This food then travels through the esophagus to the stomach, where digestion continues by a variety of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid presence. The pancreas secretes enzymes into the stomach and small intestine. After the stomach, food travels to the small intestine, where the majority of absorption occurs. The liver also secretes bile to the small intestine, aiding in the digestion process. Food then travels to the large intestine, rectum and anus where it is excreted.

Digestive Enzymes: The List

There are many digestive enzymes crucial to the proper digestion process. There are three main types of digestive enzymes: gastric, intestinal, and pancreatic. The following is a list of these enzymes and their associated classification. Gastric enzymes are isolated to the stomach, pancreatic enzymes are produced by the pancreas, and intestinal enzymes isolated to the small intestine. The pancreas is responsible for the production and distribution of pancreatic enzymes to the stomach or small intestine for use.

Gastric Enzymes:

  • Gastric amylase
  • Gastric lipase
  • Pepsin
  • Gelatinase

Pancreatic Enzymes:

  • Steapsin
  • Trypsin
  • Chymotrypsin
  • Elastase
  • Pancreatic amylase
  • Nuclease
  • Carboxypeptidase

Intestinal Enzymes:

  • Lipase
  • Maltase
  • Isomaltase
  • Lactase
  • Sucrase

Digestive Enzymes: Tips for getting Enzymes from Food

There are certain things that you can do to optimize the amount of enzymes in your diet from food. The following is a list of tips for maximizing your intake of enzymes naturally from food products.

  • Eat Slowly: By eating slower, you allow more time for the process of digestion. It is also typical for individuals to eat less when food is eaten slowly.
  • Chew Food Well: Mastication is the first step to digestion, smaller pieces are more readily digested.
  • Eat Smaller Amounts: Don't overeat. Stop eating when you are full.
  • Eat Frequent Meals: Instead of eating three large meals a day, break up your schedule to involve snacks to avoid overeating at meals.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Heavy meals are difficult for the body to digest properly and should especially be avoided for three hours before bedtime.
  • Eat Healthy Foods: Healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain higher amounts of natural enzymes.
  • Drink Water: Water is required by the body for many processes, but promotes proper digestion and regulates the digestive system.
  • Relax: Give your body some time to digest the food taken in before activity.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pancreatitis/DS00371

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