Issue 11.6.15 DIGESTING Those High-fat Holiday Meals – Your Health Detective

It’s that time of year again when we’re all looking forward to get-togethers, all the while dreading those high fat delicacies we so look forward to and have set traditions by. 

It’s important to remember that all digestive enzymes are NOT created equal and the wrong ingredients can literally cause blood-sugar to spike as well as compromise, cardiovascular, liver and gallbladder functions.

As reported in a Life Extension report, more than 70 years ago scientists recognized the importance of enzymes in raw foods and how they boost human nutrition. Scientists noted that by supplementing with specific enzymes they could achieve rapid digestion of foods – mimicking self-digestion that takes place when raw food is consumed.

Additionally, nutritionally-aware medical professionals have been using digestive enzymes when caring for individuals with various chronic digestive disorders. For instance, patients with cystic fibrosis need pancreatic enzymes to help break down proteins, fats, and nutrients they otherwise could not break down. Those with chronic pancreatic disorders benefit from lipases to help breakdown fats. More recently, research evidence points to most adults being deficient in specific enzyme deficiencies and, therefore, should supplement, especially when consuming fats and carbohydrates.

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You Need to Know…

®     Those with pancreatitis benefit from formulas containing amylases. However, the downside to many full-spectrum digestive blends is they contain amylases and are, therefore, responsible for rapid-absorption of dietary starches, which in turn raises glucose levels, that in many are already above the healthy range.

®     Those over age 55 benefit needs a digestive enzyme that facilitates digestion of protein, fibers, and beneficial fats, but in the process does not promote the breakdown of starches because they are rapidly absorbed as glucose and subsequently raises blood sugar levels. Most people age 55+ have higher than healthy fasting and after-meal blood glucose levels leading to increased risk of vascular disease, cancer, kidney failure and diabetic eye disorders.

®     Enzyme production slows significantly as we age so we lose the ability to break down fast-digesting proteins that include meat, dairy protein (including whey). When digestion is compromised we’re at increased risk for poor protein absorption and eventual malnutrition even though we “believe” we’re eating healthy.

®     Athletes and those who use concentrated protein supplements have shown in studies that adding protein-digesting enzymes affords them more complete protein breakdown – allowing them to achieve full benefit of their additional protein intake. This is important because high concentrations of protein in the digestive tract can overwhelm existing enzymes and their ability to full break down those proteins.

®     Lipases are enzymes that separate fats into individual fatty acids – promoting more normal fat digestion overall, especially in those with pancreatic disease. In addition, lipase helps us to facilitate better absorption of vital fat-soluble nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, vitamin K, lutein, and gamma tocopherol.

®     Human starch-digesting enzymes are collectively called amylases – they break down the bonds between sugar and molecules in starches and then release that sugar for immediate absorption. This rapid release of sugars from starches is what produces the dangerous after-meal surge in blood glucose that damages heart muscle and blood vessels. Otherwise healthy individuals have NO NEED for supplementing with any amylase, single or in a complex. Most people do not know that, in fact, amylase-blockers actually play a useful role in combating overweight and sugar surges.

®     The human digestive tract does not contain digestive enzymes to process cellulose through the intestinal tract like those in plant fiber, as in broccoli and other vegetables. This accounts for the gut fermentation when organisms in the large intestine break down the plant cellulose into molecules that then get fermented. This fermentation draws fluid into the colon and produces bloating and gas – keeping many people away from healthy vegetables like broccoli – all because of symptoms that can be avoided with the correct cellulose-digesting enzymes that break down these plant fibers.

®     When eating starchy foods, taking amylase-blocking compounds like chlorogenic acid, found in green coffee bean extract, can help the breakdown of starches into rapidly absorbed glucose.

®     Drugs like Prilosec and Prevacid suppress stomach acid secretion, but do so at the expense of poorer digestion. When stomach acid production is blocked, gastric contents and the bile secreted by the liver can still reflux back into the esophagus and cause that heartburn and the irritation that can lead to more serious disorders. Especially those with esophageal reflux do not want undigested food to remain in their stomach any longer than absolutely necessary.

The following is a quick review of specific functions of enzymes, all contained in the formula I use and recommend that Avoids Rapid Starch Breakdown :

INGREDIENT                                                       PURPOSE

Protein-Digesting Enzymes   

Protease complex                                           Breaks down whole proteins and smaller peptides into single amino acids. 

Trypsin                                                           Breaks down whole proteins into shorter oligopeptides that are further reduced to amino acids by other proteases.

Chymotrypsin                                                  Breaks down whole proteins and shorter oligopeptides. 

Fat-Digesting Enzymes   

Lipase complex                                                Breaks down complex fats into simple free fatty acids.

Fiber-Digesting Enzymes  

Cellulase                                                         Breaks down cellulose, a normally indigestible plant                                                                     fiber.

Hemicellulase                                                  Breaks down hemicellulose, a structural (and                                                                               indigestible) component of plant cell walls. 

Phytase                                                            Breaks down phytic acid, a grain- and seed-derived sugar containing an indigestible form of phosphorus, releasing phosphorus for biological uses. 

Beta-glucanase                                                 Breaks down otherwise indigestible fiber                                                                       including  cellulose. 

Pectinase                                                          Breaks down pectin, the jelly-like matrix in plant cell walls, releasing juice and nutrients.

Xylanase                                                            Helps break down hemicellulose into xylose, a simple sugar that helps feed intestinal bacteria.

NOTE: Click here for an enzyme formulation LE Extraordinary Enzymes, that provides optimal digestion of proteins, fats, and cellulose (plant fiber) – notice the absence of amylase, the enzyme category that breaks down dietary starches into blood SUGAR-BOOSTING simple sugars.

Everything in moderation, but with the right digestive enzyme blend, you CAN enjoy those holiday family traditions without sabotaging heart, digestive and blood sugar health, Naturally.

Happy Beginning of the 2015 Holidays

Dr. Gloria

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