Every woman knows that her looks are

Defined By Digestion

Defined By Digestion

Defined By Digestion

We are what we eat, and our digestion makes our bodies the quality of skin as well as every other organ in the body

Feelings of general sluggishness that tend to feed back into more unfortunate food choices, lack of exercise and other kinds of “self-care” indulgences are a commonplace vicious circle we fall into, especially after the holiday festivities. But even with overindulgences there are high-tech supplements to ease our heaviness, and all we need is to learn to distinguish them from the abundance of indulgences on the supermarket shelf.

To date, approximately 75,000 enzymes are thought to exist in the human body—all divided into three classes: metabolic enzymes that run our bodies, digestive enzymes that digest our food and food enzymes from raw foods that start our food digestion.

Tens of thousands of different enzymes are made within the bodies of animals and humans. They are complex proteins that catalyze cellular reactions, including ones that facilitate digestion (where food is broken down into fats, carbohydrates and proteins small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining) and metabolic reactions (where proteins, carbohydrates or fats are ‘burned’ within cells to make the energy required to power those cells). Some enzymes act as important antioxidants or are part of the immune system.

Among digestive aids are amylases, which break down carbohydrates; lipases, which break down fats; and proteases, which break down proteins. These enzymes are produced in the salivary glands of the mouth; in the cells that line the stomach; in the pancreas, the gland that also makes insulin; and the digestive liquids produced in the intestines. Digestive enzymes are also found in “living” foods—fresh, whole plant foods that have not been heated to more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read: How To Stop Sabotaging Your Diet

Digestive problems are certainly epidemic in the US, in no small part due to diets that are too heavy, too processed and cooked until their live enzymes are denatured. Chronic constipation affects 63 million Americans and irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by bouts of constipation, painful gas and diarrhea, afflicts another 15.3 million, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. About 20% of the US population suffers from heartburn at least once a week. If you count yourself among those who wouldn’t mind improving their digestive health, add a digestive supplement with a full spectrum of enzymes—so your need to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats is covered.

10 Priority Digestive Enzymes

Gas Stop

1 Alpha galactosidase. The primary enzyme used in popular gas-relief products, alpha galactosidase is responsible for breaking down complex sugars into simple sugars. This allows for certain foods such as cruciferous vegetables and legumes to be more easily digested.

Gluten Sensitive

2 Dipeptidyl Peptidase. A proteolytic enzyme responsible for completing the digestion of peptides to basic amino acids, dipeptidyl peptidase breaks down gluten found in grains such as wheat, barley or rye. In individuals who have sensitivities, gluten proteins trigger a reaction that can cause digestive distress similar to lactose intolerance. Symptoms of gluten sensitivities include loose stool or constipation and abdominal discomfort.

Lactose Intolerence

3 Lactase. The enzyme responsible for the hydrolysis of the milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose, lactase is often lacking in certain ethnic groups including Asians and Europeans.

Going Paleo

4 Bromelain. A proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple, bromelain attacks the long chain polypeptides of proteins ingested from flesh foods, breaking them down into shorter chain peptides, which are then able to be broken down further by other enzymes. Bromelain is often paired with papain, another proteolytic enzyme derived from papaya.

Pancreas Power

5 Proteases. These proteolytic enzymes are one of three types secreted by the pancreas and in various forms work at different pH ranges. Vegetarian forms are derived from beneficial bacteria such as Aspergillus oryzae and Bacillus licheniformis.

6 Amylase. An enzyme that breaks starch down into maltose, amylase is secreted from the pancreas and saliva.

7 Lipase. Triggering the breakdown of fat into various types of constituent fatty acids, lipase is the third enzyme that is found in the body’s pancreatic juices.

No Bloat

8 Cellulase. An enzyme that digests cellulose or plant fiber, most animals (including humans) do not produce cellulase, which is why some fibrous veggies cause tummy bloat.

9 Hemicellulase. This enzyme breaks down hemicellulose, a type of polysaccharide that is more complex than simple sugar and present along with cellulose in all plant cell walls.

Read: Global Body Change

Chemical Sensitivities

10 Xylanase. An enzyme with the ability to digest artificial food dyes and preservatives found in processed food, xylanase is usually lacking in digestive formulas.

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