Digestive Enzymes

Recently digestive enzymes have come on my radar and I had a question about them that perhaps someone can answer: would this not be potentially the most valuable supplement to take?  Let's assume that everyone absorbs X value of whatever supplements they take, and people here take a lot of supplements.  If taking a digestive enzyme increases X by let's say 50% then you can take less of your supplements and get the same benefits.  Now, if you are spending 100 dollars a month on supplements if you can take digestive enzymes and get by on 50% what you used to need that's huge.  Or, you may suddenly be able to get much more nutrition out of the food you eat.  If I am right should not digestive enzymes be considered the most important supplement for anyone to take? 


Comments

  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭

    I would go with either Digest or Digest Gold by Enzymedica. Enzymedica is one of the best digestive enzyme companies because all they make is enzymes.


     


    Digestive enzymes shouldn't be used on a daily basis because of a negative feedback loop may develop where the body doesn't produce enough digestive enzymes on it's own during use of the enzyme or if you stop. Unless you have a medical condition where enzymes aren't being produced properly, or if you need them short term for digestive issues,  enzymes should only be used longer tem with caution.


     


    Betaine HCL and Digestive Bitters can be used in most healthy people occasionally to regulate a healthy digestive enzyme system.


    My book Fix Your Gut, is offered on Amazon for $9.99.

     

    I also offer coaching:  http://fixyourgut.com/health-coaching-information/

     

    Please join or like the Fix your Gut Facebook. Also please add me on twitter @FixYourGutJB.

     

    http://www.fixyourgut.com

     

  • Agree with JB.  Popping pills is not a permanent solution but a temporary fix that has negative long-term consequences.  Breathing exercises and yoga poses are a more natural way to stimulate digestion.  Google those...ton of info out there.


  • IS it ok to take Betaine HCI everyday? I take one with B-Fast and one with Dinner.....


  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress


    IS it ok to take Betaine HCI everyday? I take one with B-Fast and one with Dinner.....




    =====


    Based on John's comment, no.

  • I would be one big ball of GAS if I didn't take probiotics and digestive enzymes!!!! TMI? - NEVER! 


  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress

    No you wouldn't; you would be farting your arse off!


  • edited December 2013

    I really think I need enzymes, guys, what do you think?


     


    I am intolerant towards coconut oil, MCT-oil, ghee (wtf?), bone broth, and even meat-stock!


     


    Is it gelatinase that I need? Or together with lipase?


    ---

  • I only take enzymes when I eat a heavy meal or on cheat days. I used to take them on a daily basis and when I would run out... my stomach would prepare for nuclear blast and i'd fart a desert storm. 


     


    Obviously diet plays a big role in how much I need them. But it's def easy to build a tolerance. Not sure how long it takes for the body to recover after taking enzymes for long periods, maybe someone else can step in and answer that question.


  • In podcast #122 with Donna Gates, Dave references using hydrochloric acid, pepcin and pancreatin for his digestive enzymes. He also says tat most people should not take plant based enzymes since they are made with aspergillus.


     


    Is the a BP recommended digestive enzyme to take?  Does anyone know what brand Dave takes?


     


    Thanks.


  • NickatNickat
    edited July 2014

    Aspergillus species of mold can commonly be found on starchy foods like potatoes and bread and eventually through A. fumigatus and A. flavus that contaminate nuts, maize and corn through aflatoxin (shell based). It can grow on plants and trees too so maybe taking an enzyne derived from aspergillus is not ideal.


     


    John will probably have better info and we can certainly vouch for his Digestive Bitters Protocol for enzyme help.


  • I take around 10g of Betaine daily - I probably plan to do so for the next several months.  Acne/rosecea is starting to clear but I still get no burn.


  • It's actually podcast #122. I just recently discovered that plant based digestive enzymes are made from mold. It might explain why I react badly to some supplements made with plant based enzymes.


  •  


    Betaine HCL and Digestive Bitters can be used in most healthy people occasionally to regulate a healthy digestive enzyme system.




     


    When does one know that Betaine isn't needed anymore? Also, how high do you reckon a dosage can be per meal?

  • I would go with either Digest or Digest Gold by Enzymedica. Enzymedica is one of the best digestive enzyme companies because all they make is enzymes.

     

    Digestive enzymes shouldn't be used on a daily basis because of a negative feedback loop may develop where the body doesn't produce enough digestive enzymes on it's own during use of the enzyme or if you stop. Unless you have a medical condition where enzymes aren't being produced properly, or if you need them short term for digestive issues,  enzymes should only be used longer tem with caution.

     

    Betaine HCL and Digestive Bitters can be used in most healthy people occasionally to regulate a healthy digestive enzyme system.













    Is this just a proposed problem though? Or is there concrete evidence now?


    What about using ACV for digestive support? Is this a suitable substitute for betaine Hcl or is there really no comparison?

    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant

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  • I use Life Extension Digestive Enzymes and GI Bifido Bacteria 


  • googlealchemistgooglealchemist Alchemist


    Is this just a proposed problem though? Or is there concrete evidence now?


    What about using ACV for digestive support? Is this a suitable substitute for betaine Hcl or is there really no comparison?




     


    I am very curious about this as well. Anytime I see anything exogenous being used I wonder about a negative feedback loop. Mainly for hormones, but it seems to apply in the same potential way to enzymes.


     


    I would love a more concrete idea of dose/length of time ratio of enzyme supps to internal shutdown. Of course that would vary depending on personal chemistry and health condition too...


     


    The direct link to the article is no longer online since he switched domains but there is the best info I've found on HCL by Charles Poliquin that I saved to a text file (and it's still copy/pasted all over the net in quotes on different bb sites). 


     


    His current active site is http://www.strengthsensei.com/ and for anyone interested in health and longevity (everyone here) and especially any sort of strength training/muscle growth...this guy is incredible.


     


     


    Maximize Your Progress with Hydrochloric Acid  

     

    Stomach Acid is more important to your development than you think. Read the latest insights on digestion with tips for improving your own.  

     

    Are your muscles getting all the protein contained in that 12-ounce steak? Does your immune system enjoy all the antioxidant protection from the vitamins and minerals in organic fruits and vegetables? Do your supplements work as well as the manufacturer promises? There’s a 50/50 chance that the answer is “No.” The reason is that it’s not so much what you eat or what supplements you take, but how much you assimilate. 

     

    This statement might seem peculiar, but it is true. I’ve worked with countless athletes who seem to do everything right with their diet and training but make little or no progress in the gym. Their problem can often be traced to low levels of stomach acids, a condition known as hypochlorhydria. 

     

    Stomach acid breaks down food, chemically altering it so that the body can extract the required nutrients for proper structure and function, including muscle maintenance and growth. The acid begins the digestion of protein in the stomach and then triggers the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes and the gallbladder to release bile into the small intestine. The acid is also responsible for killing pathogenic bacteria that enters the body via food. 

     

    The Acid Test

    In our land of abundance, it is hard to imagine that our body’s cells could be starving, especially when we consume high-quality food in sufficient quantities. Yet many of our affluent habits prohibit us from properly digesting our food, leaving our cells weak from undernourishment. 

     

    If there is insufficient hydrochloric acid (HCl), proteins will pass into the intestine and putrefy instead of being digested. In addition, carbohydrates will also be left to ferment without adequate digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Fat digestion is also dependent on the acid’s influence on the pancreas to secrete lipase and the gall bladder to secrete bile. Poor digestion of these macronutrients means poor absorption of our basic energy sources. 

     

    Low stomach acid prevents adequate absorption of essential minerals such as zinc, manganese and calcium because they cannot be ionized for proper absorption. Cruciferous vegetables are known for their estrogen-detoxification properties through the production of Diindolylmethane from Indole 3C, but this extraction cannot occur without an adequate amount of stomach acid. 

     

    Low stomach acid also puts you at an increased risk of food poisoning since you are missing your primary defense against bacterial organisms. It has been shown that the drugs that inhibit stomach acid, such as Prilosec and Tagamet, can cause an increase in stomach bacteria and inflammation. 

     

    Undiagnosed low stomach acid is linked to various neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s because those ailments are linked to folic acid and B12 status (i.e. no stomach acid, no folic acid and B12 absorption.) In effect, you could go senile just from low stomach acid. Here are a few of the symptoms of low stomach acid: 

    belching or gas within one hour of a meal

    bloating and fullness shortly after eating

    bad breath

    loss of taste for meat

    nausea after taking supplements

    brittle fingernails

    undigested food in stool

    foul-smelling stools

    stomach pain

    desire to skip meals

    estrogen buildup

    acne rosacea

    depression

     

    The Growing Epidemic of Low HCl

    After taking numerous functional medicine seminars from digestion experts such as Dr. Nigel Plummer, PhD, from Wales; and Dr. Jeff Baker, NMD, from North Carolina, I realized how important it is to monitor stomach acid. In Wales alone, it is estimated that over 40 percent of the adult population is deficient in hydrochloric acid. In the USA, many experts estimate the deficiency also to be in the range of 40 to 50 percent. Some gastroenterologists are now advancing that it is today’s most under-diagnosed ailment. 

     

    Over the last four years at my training centers, we have been doing stomach acid challenge tests routinely. In this time I have yet to see a single successful male over the age of 40 with normal stomach acid levels. Actually some of them are actually achloridic, which means that they make almost no stomach acid. 

     

    There are many reasons for low stomach acid, such as B vitamin deficiency, excess carbohydrate consumption, hypothyroidism, food sensitivities, H. Pylori infection, soda consumption and aging. But the most common cause of low stomach acid is actually stress. Stress experts estimate that we now have 100 times more stress than our grandfathers did. 

     

    How do you test for low HCl? Here are a few ways: 

    From your blood chemistry screen values, or by a urine test

    A string test where you swallow a string in order to measure your stomach pH – not a pleasant test, incidentally

    An examination of the reflex point on your abdomen, an inch below the bottom of the breastbone on the edge of the left rib cage

    Presence of a zinc deficiency; an insufficient amount of this mineral is associated with hypochlorhydria 

    Presence of vertical ridges on your nails

    Stool testing

    Amino acid profile tests

     

    Finally, there is a simple test you can do at home, but I suggest you talk to a physician qualified in nutritional medicine before you try it. Nutritionally-oriented physicians often prescribe this test along with a zinc challenge test. It requires a bottle of Betaine HCl, at 200 mg potency per capsule. Here is how it is performed: 

     

    Step 1 - Have a high-protein solid meal (no shakes). Let’s say for illustration purposes a 12-ounce steak and vegetables.

    Step 2 - Eat half the protein, roughly 6 ounces of the steak.

    Step 3 - Swallow a 200mg capsule of HCL.

    Step 4 - Eat the other half of the steak and the vegetables.

    Step 5 - Wait 15 minutes.

    Step 6 - If your stomach acid is normal, you will feel like you just drank a hot cup of tea. If you feel nothing, you need HCl as a supplement. So what do you do next? At every meal repeat steps 1 to 6, upping the dose one capsule per meal until you feel the burning sensation. So if it takes five meals to get a burning sensation, you need on average four capsules per meal. If you get to seven capsules and you have no burning, stop the test – you are achloridic! 

     

    At our Phoenix center alone we have been doing over 250 tests a year for the last four years. In that time, I have never seen one person not need at least one capsule; the average person tested could feel it after five capsules. You are getting better when you start feeling a burn at your initial determined dosage. For example, if you found that five capsules was your initial need, you may find that three days later it starts to burn, so then you would cut back to four capsules with a typical high-protein solid meal. And so on. 

     

    Most people achieve normal levels within eight weeks even when they start at seven capsules, but some individuals take as much as 18 months. I have two clients who need two caps a day permanently. Why? Because neither one will ever escape their stress levels - one of them is a real estate mogul, and the other is a highly accomplished author. 

    Once you go off HCL, it is suggested by most functional medicine experts to take 2g of histidine a day for eight weeks to support HCl production. (Great Smokies Laboratories offers a battery of tests that determine proper digestion. They are very helpful; have your physician contact their technical help line, if necessary.) Take a great multivitamin formula once a day upon engaging in HCl therapy, as it will accelerate the healing. Make sure that your HCl product also contains the probiotic pepsin and the digestive enzymes papain and pancreatin, as they have a synergistic effect with HCl therapy. (Note: You can acquire my version of this product by contacting [email protected] . ) 

     

    One of the most common positive effects our clients get from HCl therapy is enhanced sleep. Why? Because they are finally absorbing the supplemental magnesium they have been taking. Minerals need an electric charge to be absorbed. You need sufficient HCl to provide that charge to the minerals. I had a client, a former Olympian in bobsleigh and former national weightlifting team member, go from an erratic four hours of sleep each night to a sound eight hours after three days of HCl supplementation. 

     

    In addition to the above HCl protocols, here are a few other suggestions to normalize your stomach acid levels. First, avoid carbonated drinks. Second, avoid all-you-can-eat buffets, as they are America’s leading source of food-borne pathogens. Finally, there are numerous herbs that can contribute to raising HCl, such as gentian, peppermint and ginger, but be aware that very few controlled studies exist on this topic. 

     

    Over the last four years, I have been amazed how a correction in HCl deficiency has led to not only dramatic improvements in physique and strength but also improvements in a variety of health parameters. Interestingly enough, in strength-trained individuals those improvements are often associated with gains of 15 to 18 pounds of lean body mass within two months! Why? They are now absorbing proteins and minerals. 

     

    If you suspect that you are low in stomach acid, you must address this issue with the utmost importance. You cannot make adequate use of your food or your supplements if you cannot break them down for proper absorption. It’s true that not only are you what you eat, you are what you assimilate!
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