The Supplement That May Help Your Digestive Issues
3. You have a pancreatic deficiency. Since the pancreas makes digestive enzymes, if it isn’t functioning correctly, you will need supplemental enzymes. Pancreatic deficiency can be caused by cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, or pancreatic surgery.
4. You have food allergies or intolerances. A well-studied example of food intolerance and the benefit of supplemental enzymes is lactose intolerance. If someone is lactose intolerant, their body is not producing the specific digestive enzyme used to break down milk sugars, and eating dairy will make them sick. Taking the lactase enzyme will break down the milk for their body. Likewise, food allergies can cause inflammation in the gut, and may inhibit the release of enzymes by the body.
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5. You have nutrient deficiencies. Things like malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and leaky gut can cause the entire digestive system to stop working correctly. While taking supplemental enzymes may help, treating the cause is also important (for example by also taking a vitamin supplement).
6. You’re aging. As the body ages, the organs stop working as effectively. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies, decreased organ function, and incomplete food digestion.
The people most at risk for digestive enzyme deficiency are people over 40, people with pancreatic disorders, people with celiac disease or multiple food allergies, and people who have other stress related conditions. But even if none of these apply to you, you may end up needing supplemental enzymes temporarily or permanently. For example, the changes in the body during pregnancy may require the temporary use of digestive enzymes to counteract the symptoms until after delivery.
As with any supplement or diet change, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider first. The symptoms of enzyme deficiency can mimic those of other conditions and diseases such as food poisoning, gallstones, intestinal obstructions, or morning sickness, and it’s important to have the correct diagnosis before treating it.