One of the great things about nutrition being such a hot topic these days is that more research is being made available to the public. This is something that’s really been needed as far as fat loss and muscle building and has helped to debunk the myth that fat loss is all about cutting calories.
Thanks to more intelligent and scientifically-based research, most people now know that it’s not just how much you eat and how often you workout. It’s more about what you’re eating and and the way you work out.
I’ve talked quite a bit recently about how hormone imbalances and gut health impact your ability to lose fat and now I’d like to share with you some important information on the role that digestive enzymes have in fat loss. This may be the last key that finally unlocks your fat loss potential.
What are Digestive Enzymes?
There are dozens of digestive enzymes that occur naturally in food and that are produced by our bodies. They’re not generic or one-enzyme-digests –all. There are specific digestive enzymes for every type of food.
For instance, lactase helps us to digest lactose in dairy foods. Lipase helps us digest fat. Amylase helps us break down starches and so on. There are several specific enzymes for digesting protein as well.
Our bodies produce digestive enzymes, some of which work in the mouth, some in the small intestine and some in the stomach.
The Importance of Digestive Enzymes
Without the right digestive enzymes in the right amounts, we can’t absorb all of the nutrients we eat, so the value of a lot of our food goes to waste. Also, the less nutrition we’re able to use, the more we’ll have stored as fat. A deficiency in digestive enzymes also leads to an unhealthy, sluggish digestive system and suppressed immunity because of a lack of nutrients and poor gut health.
System-wide inflammation, slow digestion and poor nutrient absorption also make it very difficult to lose fat and can lead to food intolerances, especially when we’re low in the digestive enzymes needed to break down certain foods, like dairy or gluten. In a very frustrating cycle, those food intolerances can actually lead to additional fat gain, because our bodies aren’t able to fully utilize those foods, so the excess nutrients wind up being stored as fat.
Unfortunately, a number of things can cause us to become deficient in several digestive enzymes and many of these causes are extremely common today. For example, a poor diet, especially one that’s high in processed foods, stress and aging can all be responsible for poor digestion. All of these things can throw our digestive enzymes out of balance and lead to inflammation, fat gain, food intolerance and gastrointestinal problems.
How Do We Fix It?
Proper diet is the most important key to fixing deficiencies in digestive enzymes. Reducing stress, getting more exercise and getting enough rest are also important, but getting rid of artificial ingredients and toxins in your diet is the best thing you can do to restore your digestive enzyme supplies. This is something of a Catch-22, though, since current digestive enzyme deficiencies will keep you from absorbing all of those nutrients.
This is the main reason that I strongly recommend supplementing with some digestive enzymes as you’re cleaning up your diet, reducing stress and getting more sleep.
There are a number of foods that supply important digestive enzymes. Papaya contains papain, which helps us digest protein. Pineapple supplies bromelain, another protein-digesting enzyme. Mangoes are an excellent source of amylase, which helps our bodies break down starches.
Digestive enzyme supplements should contain enzymes from several different foods for breaking down several types of nutrients. Really good supplements will also contain several “helping” nutrients.
For instance, cinnamon (real cinnamon, not the stuff at the grocery store) and several hot peppers supply capsaicin, which not only helps digestion but also increases the amount of nutrients that are directed to muscle and organ cells and decreases the amount shifted to fat cells. Ginger soothes the digestive tract, reducing inflammation and increasing nutrient absorption.
What Can You Expect from Better Digestive Enzyme Balance?
There are a number of recent studies that have shown that restoring proper amounts of digestive enzymes reduces inflammation, increases overall health and aids fat loss. One really important finding has been that restoration of certain digestive enzymes can reverse food intolerances like gluten or lactose intolerance, by enabling the body to properly digest those foods instead of removing them from the diet.
- A recent study in Dubai showed that overweight people with food intolerances lost an average of 37 pounds of fat in 12 weeks when the foods they were sensitive to were removed from their diets. Similar results have been found in studies where the enzymes for digesting those foods were supplied.
- Baylor University Medical School also found that removing foods such as gluten or dairy from the diets of people who were intolerant led to fat loss in 98% of the study subjects.
But wouldn’t it be great to be able to lose all that fat without giving up entire groups of your favorite foods? Restoring your digestive enzymes for those foods has been shown to be a viable and effective alternative to depriving yourself.
In other words, you can feel better, eat the foods you love and still finally start losing that body fat.
If you need a high-quality digestive enzyme supplement, I personally recommend AbsorbMax™ from BioTrust. AbsorbMax is a comprehensive blend of 16 unique digestive enzymes whose key ingredients have been shown to help your body fully break down and absorb the nutrients contained in nearly every food you eat.
I understand it can be difficult to know what to eliminate and what you’re safe keeping in your diet. This is a great supplement that will assist in the optimal break down of the important nutrients your body needs. You can learn more about AbsorbMax here.
Snitker S, et al. Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: possible pharmacogenetic implications. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):45-50.
Coral Calcium: Fact and Conjecture, Natural Clinician, 2006.
Calcium Absorption from the Ingestion of Coral-Derived Calcium by Humans. J Nutr Sci Vitaminal p. 509-517, 1999.
Ginger. University of Maryland Medical Center.
Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (ananascomosus) and its clinical application. An update. J Ethnopharmacol. 1988;22(2):191-203.
Effect of Dietary Phytase on the Digestion of Phytate in the Stomach and Small Intestine of Humans. Jn Nutrition. June 29, 1987.
Pharyngeal lipase and digestion of dietary triglyceride in man. J Clin Invest. 1975 May; 55(5): 908–913.
Got Lactase? Understanding Evolution, Berkeley
Gilbert R. Kaats, et al. The Short Term Efficacy of the ALCAT Test of Food Sensitivities to Facilitate Changes in Body Composition and Self-Reported Disease Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Study. American Journal of Bariatric Medicine. Spring, 1996.
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