Those who suffer from digestion issues may be recommended digestive enzymes to assist with the breakdown of meals they consume. That being said, there are actually some really amazing benefits to utilizing digestive enzymes that can improve your health and recovery from intense workouts.
This article will look at not only what digestive enzymes are but how you can leverage them in your supplement regimen to maximize your health and results in the gym.
Note: As always, it is advised that you speak with your doctor before implementing any nutritional changes or supplements into your program or regimen to ensure they are suitable for you and your current health status.
What Are Digestive Enzymes and Why Do You Need Them?
When you eat, food travels down into the stomach and then passes through to the intestines. These two areas are where food is broken down, absorbed, and then ultimately shuttled out into the body to be used.
Without the ability to break down food (naturally or through the help of digestive enzymes), you may find you’re at a greater risk for health issues and nutrient deficiencies.
Each macronutrient found in your diet breaks down differently, such as:
- Broken down by stomach acid into usable amino acids
- Broken down by pancreatic enzymes into glucose
- Broken down by bile from the liver, which is then secreted by the gall bladder, which turns the fats into lipids
If your body doesn’t produce enough bile or hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), you may not be fully digesting your food which means you’re not getting the most (nutrients) from the food you’re consuming. These digestion issues can cause nutrient deficiencies as well as additional problems with the digestive tract, such as bloating, diarrhea, gas, leaky gut syndrome, fatigue, and even inflammation.
Digestive enzymes are used to alleviate some of these issues as well as support the digestive system with efficiently and effectively breaking down food.
The use of digestive enzymes can also help improve:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
When looking at the big picture, your gut plays a central role in almost everything. A healthy gut helps improve the appearance of your skin, helps improve the immune system, plays a role in physical and mental performance, and can even affect your mood.
Common Digestive Enzymes
There are many enzymes that your body uses on a daily basis – some of which you may have heard of before. Many enzymes have “-ase” at the end of their name, which denotes it as a particular type of enzyme. For instance, lactase is a commonly talked about enzyme that helps break down the sugar lactose.
Some other common digestive enzymes you should become familiar with as they can support proper digestions include:
What Causes the Body to Produce Less Digestive Enzymes?
Issues can arise when the body does not produce enough natural digestive enzymes on its own. There are several factors that can come into play that can negatively affect your body’s ability to make these very important enzymes.
Some of the common reasons this can happen are due to:
- After the age of 20, digestive enzymes slowly start decreasing
- Alcohol consumption
- Not thoroughly chewing and breaking down your food
- Consuming too many processed foods
- Taking certain medications
- Not getting enough sleep
- Chronic stress
3 Health and Recovery Benefits
Now, for the meat and potatoes of the article. How exactly can utilizing digestive enzymes help improve your health and recovery?
1. Improve Muscle Recovery
The act of resistance training and even cardiovascular workouts can cause microtears in muscle fibers. In order for those muscle fibers to recover and be rebuilt, the body needs to break down protein into amino acids, which can then be used to support the repair and growth of muscle tissue.
Unfortunately, many people have issues breaking down protein and other vital nutrients that play a role in muscle recovery. Digestive enzymes are generally suggested for those who find they are having digestion issues such as bloating, gas, and stomach cramping due to consuming high amounts of whole food sources of protein and even protein powders and protein supplements.
Through the help of digestive enzymes, they go to work attacking and breaking down the protein you consume during meals to allow for better and more efficient absorption of amino acids to aid in muscle recovery. Research has shown that supplementing with digestive enzymes can drastically help improve muscle recovery and muscle-building when compared to a placebo.
2. Reduce Muscle Soreness
Delayed-onset muscle soreness (also referred to as DOMS) can rear its ugly head up to three days following an intense workout. In addition to digestive enzymes helping to improve recovery, they have been shown to also play a role and minimizing perceived muscle soreness both immediately following a workout (muscle pain and tenderness due to the stress and strain on the muscle), as well as several days after a workout when DOMS would typically set in.
Part of the reason for a decrease in muscle soreness stems from the ability of digestive enzymes to help reduce inflammation in the body – similarly to that of something like aspirin.
Taking things one step further, digestive enzymes have also been found to help reduce joint stiffness and osteoarthritis-related pain. This can be extremely advantageous to those who may not be as young as we once were and who are feeling the effects of Father Time reminding us of that fact through daily aches and pains. By making these improvements, you can continue pushing yourself during workouts and allow the digestive enzymes to do their job at reducing the soreness, so you won’t need to take additional time off to recover before getting after it in the gym again.
3. Boost Immunity
Your body is under attack from harmful toxins and pathogens on a daily basis. In fact, it’s under attack all day, every day, which makes keeping your immune system healthy of extreme importance.
Digestive enzymes can actually help protect your body by strengthening white blood cells. White blood cells (also known as killer cells or lymphocytes) help improve your natural defense system by boosting immunity and seeking out and destroying harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Utilizing digestive enzymes can also help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Your digestive tract contains good bacteria that combat harmful bacteria, helps produce vitamins, regulates the immune system, and also plays a prominent role in digestion.
Through the use of digestive enzymes, they can help reduce the amount of stress put on the digestive system to break down food which can help maintain its overall health and proper functioning.
Who Can Benefit from Using Digestive Enzymes?
The good news is that just about everyone can benefit from using digestive enzymes (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). With all the benefits that can be had through their use, many find the common issues they were having following meals (bloating, gas, heartburn, etc.) were alleviated and better managed.
If you want to start benefiting from digestive enzymes to help improve your health, recovery, and overall digestion, Ultimate Digestive Support uses a comprehensive blend of the highest quality enzymes to help provide you with the best results possible. Ultimate Digestive Support also uses vegetarian v-caps (the capsule itself) for those who have dietary restrictions or follow a very specific diet.
Can you afford to push food through your system without properly breaking it down? Of course, not! That’s why there’s Ultimate Digestive Support to provide you with all of the digestive enzymes your body needs to help break down, absorb, and utilize the nutrients you consume. Try it for yourself, so you can notice and feel the difference!