Enzymes are necessary for proper digestion, and most are released from the pancreas. When an inadequate supply is produced in the body, supplements may be necessary to prevent acid reflux and other conditions created when food is not properly digested. Speak with your health practitioner before taking supplemental enzymes to prevent acid reflux.
The Role of Enzymes
When food is not properly broken down by pancreatic enzymes, it remains in the stomach for longer than it should, causing putrefaction, which may trigger acid reflux. Sometimes the body does not produce enough of one or more essential pancreatic enzymes, and individuals must take supplements to provide for healthy digestion.
Carbohydrate digestion is primarily accomplished by the pancreatic enzyme amylase. Most amylase is released by the pancreas; however, pre-digestion takes place in the mouth with the release of saliva, which is high in amylase. A deficiency in amylase makes carbohydrate digestion difficult or impossible. An example of this deficiency can be seen in the form of lactose intolerance. Individuals who lack the enzyme lactase are unable to digest lactose, or milk sugar. Adding oral lactase to meals including dairy products will solve this problem. Honey is one of the best sources for amylase. However, the honey has to be raw and contain all of its elements including pollen, royal jelly and propelis. A spoonful of honey added to high-carbohydrate meals may prevent acid reflux by assisting in the digestion of starches.
Lipase breaks down fats and is another pancreatic enzyme essential for healthy digestion. Most combination enzyme supplements contain lipase. In addition, raw milk is high in lipase and other healthful cultures that encourage proper digestion. The enzyme compounds found in raw milk and raw milk products are better used by the body early in the day, and should be consumed no later than noon, according to "The Acid Alkaline Balance" by Felicia Drury Kliment. It was a common practice at the turn of the 20th century for doctors to have patients consume raw milk and raw butter for the treatment of joint pain and stiffness, diabetes and dyspepsia, she adds.
Protease is used by the body for the breakdown of proteins. When protease is in short supply, protein digestion is compromised, causing food to leave the stomach more slowly and creating the need for the release of additional stomach acids. The result may be increased acid reflux. The enzyme pepsin stimulates protein digestion. Pepsin comes from ox bile and is used in many essential enzyme preparations. Some people prefer using plant-based enzymes over taking pepsin or other enzymes from animal sources. Papain and bromelain are two plant-based enzymes found in papaya and pineapples; they are effective in the breakdown of proteins. These enzymes are available in health food stores on their own, or in combination with lipase and amylase to enhance overall digestion.
Acid reflux can have a variety of causes and may indicate a more serious disease in the making. Do not self-treat with digestive enzymes without first consulting your health practitioner to be sure they are the correct remedy for your condition.
- The Acid Alkaline Balance; Felicia Drury Kliment
- Colorado State University: Exocrine Secretions of the Pancreas
- University of Michigan Health System: Digestive Enzymes
- Burning and smoking heart sign of love image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.