Part 4 of our 4-part H.O.P.E. series covering gut health.

Wrapping up our ‘H.O.P.E.’ series with information on Enzymes and why they are important for your gut health and overall well-being. Have questions? Our in-house Functional Wellness Coach can help you understand your needs.

Catch up on the previous article here.

Enzymes: It’s a Process

Proper digestion allows the body to fully utilize the nutrients from every meal we consume.

Digestive enzymes play a key role in that process by breaking down the food we eat into molecules our cells can use.  In a perfect world, all the nutrients from food would be easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestines, used for energy and other metabolic functions, or removed as waste through the colon.  As we all know, it is not always a perfect world. 

For many people, the enzymes used for digestion are compromised in some way or another.  For example, the naturally-occurring digestive enzymes in raw foods are destroyed when they are processed or cooked.  (Another reason to increase raw foods in the diet.)  Also, when we insufficiently chew food, the necessary enzymes from the salivary glands are not activated completely.  This could contribute to gas and bloating; consequently, the endocrine system could become stressed as it’s forced to compensate for this lack of “pre-digestion.”*  

If digestive enzymes are not activated adequately, nutrients from food will not be properly absorbed by the body’s cells. When you put time and energy into preparing a healthy meal, you want to make sure your body gets the greatest possible nutritional value from it, right?

Lastly, ensuring that food is well-digested may help prevent a buildup of toxicity in the body.  When foods are improperly digested, they can remain in the gut to rot and putrefy.  This trickles down to a buildup of waste in the colon, which can decay and produce toxins.

In a nutshell, the purposes of digestive enzymes are to:

  • assist with the breakdown of foods and their “pre-digestion” before they reach the stomach
  • ease discomforts such as bloating, gas, heartburn and indigestion
  • ease the burden on the endocrine system
  • ensure optimal nutrient absorption
  • prevent toxins from building up in the body

You can rely on your naturally-occurring digestive enzymes or you can bolster the digestive process with supplementation.  If you choose to use digestive enzyme supplements, look for a broad spectrum enzyme supplement that includes three main enzymes:  lipase (for fat digestion), protease (for protein digestion) and amylase (for carbohydrate digestion).

Here at Inner Spa, we use Vital Pro Natural Advanced Digest, available in bottles of 90 vegetarian, timed-release capsules.

Each capsule contains 22 different enzymes plus Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Cellulase, Papain, Bromelain, Lactase, Peptidase, Glucoamylase, Maltase, Pectinase, Diastase, Phytase, Xylanase, Alpha-Galactosidase

Three things to do this week:

1. Make an effort to chew-chew-chew your food thoroughly. All meals, including smoothies, should include the action of chewing. Take your time with snacks and meals, and truly savor the flavors and textures. Try this flavorful recipe for gluten-free, grain-free biscotti with cranberries and pistachios.

2. Use a small stepstool (like the ones for toddlers to brush their teeth) when you need to move your bowels. They are designed to fit snuggly around your toilet so you can just leave it there with no tripping hazard.

3. Try making your own salad dressing: Combine 2 oz Lemon juice, 2 anchovy filets, 1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp garlic powder or (½ of a garlic clove) with immersion blender or in a smoothie blender. Slowly add 4 oz high quality olive oil while it is running. Pour into a jar and add freshly ground pepper. Use it on salads, grilled veggies, even on white fish fillets like cod or trout and more.



Vital Pro Natural Advanced Digest capsules are available in-spa for $30/90 capsules. Speak with our knowledgeable staff if you have any questions.
Call ahead for quick pick-up. 215.968.9000

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.  This information is intended to inform only.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.  Always consult your healthcare provider.