After having 2 of my children suffer greatly from acid reflux and intolerances to many foods for several years I came into contact with Shan Stratton (a renowned nutritionist) who has helped me to be able to understand how the digestive system really works.
I was impressed with what this "Inspire" site's definition of digestion is..."When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion." A quote from Shan is "You are what you digest".
Obviously if the body is unable to break down the food then we get digestive problems. What causes the body to not be able to do this properly?
Digestive Enzymes are made in the pancreas and then go into the stomach to aid in breaking down food. What causes the pancreas to not make enough enzymes? The biggest cause is either diet or inherited. All foods have digestive enzymes in them but when they are cooked or processed then the enzymes are killed. Many people that change their diets to mostly fresh foods will notice a significant improvement in their digestive problems.
When there isn't enough enzymes in the stomach to break down the food then the stomach will make excess acid to try to break it down. This excess acid can cause problems like acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. It also kills probiotics (good live bacteria that lines, coats, and protects the entire digestive tract). When probiotics are depleted or low then the esophagus and intestines can become raw and even bleed. Probiotics also get killed when taking antibiotics.
When my children started taking a supplement of enzymes and probiotics, they improved significantly!!! I am not saying that anyone will be cured with probiotics and enzymes but I do feel that anyone with digestive problems will greatly benefit from them.
There are many companies out there that sell probiotics and enzymes. To ensure you are getting high quality enzymes make sure they...
Are plant based and not animal based. The body will become dependent on animal based ones whereas with plant based ones the body views them as food.
Include the major enzymes (protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase) and also the minor enzymes (peptidase, lactase, glucoamylase and malt diastase). . The minor ones help to assist the major ones to work better.
Probiotics...make sure they...
Have at least 8 different strains in them. Twelve or more is optimal. Make sure it has the strain "Streptococcus thermophilus" in it because it produces lactase and is very efficient in breaking down milk products. Dairy products can be hard for many people to break down because of the protein in it. And protein is one of the hardest things for the digestive system to break down.
Are pH balanced and pH activated. Some probiotics are activated by heat and thus have to be refrigerated to stay alive. But it is possible that they can die in our warm bodies before being of much help. Ones that are pH activated means they stay "dormant" until they reach the correct pH level where they need to be of assistance and then become activated.
Have the necessary co-factors (vitamins and minerals) in there. When taking a supplement that has no co-factors, the ingredients in it will rob the body of vitamins and minerals to make them work to the fullest.
We use Digestive Health from Core Health Products. I like and trust this company because they are extremely helpful and have made such a difference in our family's life!