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Importance of Enzymes For Digestion

Posted Feb 08 2010 2:30pm

You need a large supply of digestive enzymes to process food as it passes through your intestines. Here's how they work:

The food you put into your mouth is a complex mixture of large organic molecules -- macromolecules. There are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, along with vitamins, minerals, and other components.

To absorb these nutrients into your bloodstream, you've got to break these large molecules down into smaller bits.

Fortunately, your system has evolved sophisticated chemical engineering to accomplish just that. While you're polishing off your latest meal, digestive enzymes are pouring into your small intestine (from your liver, pancreas, and gall bladder) to break down the large macromolecules into easily absorbable smaller pieces.

These digestive enzymes are specialized proteins, each designed to break apart a specific type of molecule in your food.

All too often, diminished levels of your normal digestive enzymes are the root cause of less-than-optimal digestive function. Here are a few of the many common reasons that your enzymes might be depleted.

  • A generally unbalanced diet, without the right mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

  • Inadequate vitamin or mineral intake

  • Poor eating habits -- rushing through meals, not chewing thoroughly

  • Exposure to artificial food additives, colorings, and preservatives

  • The aging process -- as you advance into middle age, a certain degree of enzyme depletion becomes almost inevitable

With all these possible factors contributing to enzyme depletion, it's no wonder that minor digestive complaints are so common.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take today to make sure your digestive tract has maximal support to do its job. It begins when you take your first bite. Read more from Dr. Joseph Mercola.

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