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Is Enzyme Supplementation Necessary?

By Rohit Medhekar, Ph.D.

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The enzymes naturally present in food play an important role in digestion by helping to predigest the ingested food in the upper stomach before hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) has even been secreted. This predigestion is hindered when food is cooked or processed because the enzymes are destroyed by the processing procedures. Placing the full digestive burden on the body, the body's digestive process can become over-stressed and incomplete. As a result, vital nutrients may not be released from the food for assimilation by the body, and gastrointestinal problems may result.

The primary purpose of enzymes in supplement form is to enhance the enzymes available in raw food, and replace those enzymes lost when food is cooked or processed. In addition, supplementation enables more digestion to begin in the gastric region, easing the burden on the digestive system as a whole. The earlier that digestion can begin, the greater the likelihood that no undigested food will enter the colon where bacteria can feed upon it, causing such problems as gas and bloating.

Nearly every person can benefit from supplementation with enzymes. Even healthy people may improve their absorption and utilization of nutrients through the use of digestive enzymes. Of course, the benefits will vary, depending upon the individual's diet and general health. Individuals in good health can expect to notice less fullness after meals, increased energy, faster emptying of the stomach contents, decreased gas, and more regular bowel habits.

Supplemental enzymes replace the enzymes once present in raw food. Most enzymes are lost in cooking and processing. Only raw or uncooked food contains enzymes. Nature put these enzymes in food to aid in digesting the food you eat so your body's enzymes would not have to handle all the work. By taking, a supplemental enzyme you free up your body's enzymes. When enzymes are missing from your food, the full burden of digestion falls on your own digestive system. Food sits in your stomach for nearly an hour before your body's digestive enzymes are secreted. It is during this time that food and supplemental enzymes do their best work breaking down complex food molecules. During the first 30 to 60 minutes after eating, enzymes are hard at work, predigesting food long before the stomach acids render some of them inactive. Enzymes not destroyed in the stomach are re-activated in the small intestine and continue working to fully digest the foods you eat.

Today's typical diet of cooked, canned and convenience foods make it very important to take supplemental enzymes to relieve some of your body's digestive stress. Since your body will put a higher priority on digestion than on maintaining health, it will steal enzymes from the immune system to finish digestion. Taking a supplemental enzyme can help take stress off not only your digestive organs, but also your immune system.

Natural Wellness Centers of America Inc offers the most complete digestive enzyme supplement on the market, Ultra-Enzyme Support ®. This high performance product provides all-natural plant enzymes and chelated minerals to support the digestive process and replace the enzymes lost during cooking and processing food. You also will recieve a complete high performance enzyme supplement within the Total-Nutrition Program™.