By Dr. Steven Lamm, M.D
Don’t feel alone if you experience tummy troubles. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, over 95 million Americans suffer from poor digestion. [i] GERD and constipation are the top two most common outpatient care diagnoses among adults, and children under age 15 experience digestive issues as frequently as adults ages 65 years and older.[ii] Proof of this is seen in the multi-billion dollar digestive aid industry and on the shelves of your local pharmacy—stacked high with antacids, laxatives, fiber products, and more. The problem is endemic. Why?
The major culprit is our modern cooked diet which destroys the natural enzymes found in raw foods that aid in digestion. Another reason is the body’s own diminishing ability to produce enzymes as we age. Add to that our love of processed, refined and fatty foods. It’s no wonder that so many of us frequently suffer from occasional bloating, gas, indigestion, poor absorption, and constipation. Illness and antibiotics also deplete the natural enzymes in our body.
“Enzymes are biologically active proteins that are critical to every biochemical reaction in the body and necessary for good health,” says board certified internist Steven Lamm, MD. ‡ “In my practice, some of the most common complaints relate to digestion, bloating and gas. I’ve found that by changing how we eat and using supplements such as probiotics and enzymes can improve the entire digestive process which is critical for health maintenance,” he explains.
According to Dr. Lamm, good digestion is a cornerstone of overall good health, so it’s a high priority to fix it when it’s broken.
Tips for Better Digestion
Try the following 9 digestive tips recommended by Dr. Lamm:
- Eat meals at regular times. Your body appreciates a regular schedule.
- Take time to savor your food and don’t forget to chew properly.
- Get enough sleep at night, at least 8-9 hours. Sleep is the great healer and we tend to underestimate its importance in our sleep-deprived culture.
- Drink plenty of H2O whenever your lips or mouth feel dry. We tend to be dehydrated and this hampers good digestion and feeling healthy in general.
- Replace a cooked meal with a raw meal daily. Raw fruits and vegetables contain valuable enzymes that are lost when foods are heated in cooking.
- Take a good probiotic to maintain healthy flora in the intestines.
- Reduce stress through daily exercise, yoga and meditation, and take a relaxing walk after you eat.
- Try a product containing a full spectrum blend of the four key enzymes, including protease to digest protein, amylase to digest carbohydrates, lipase to digest fats, and cellulase to digest fiber.
- Take the “enzyme deficiency test” from Enzymedica—The Enzyme Experts, and initiate steps for healthier digestion, http://www.enzymedica.com/takethetest
Digestive Enzymes Power Digestion
Enzymes are made by our bodies and may be found in fresh wholesome foods as well as dietary supplements. They enhance the digestion and absorption of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, sugars, and dairy lactose. Digestive enzymes allow the nutrients found in the foods we consume to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Without enzymes, food cannot be broken down into nutrients, and waste cannot be eliminated.
Stress, medications, illness, processed foods and environmental factors may result in a dangerously low capacity to produce enzymes, leading to impaired digestion and eventually poor health. Fortunately, high quality supplemental enzymes can be found in health food stores for individuals who wish to maximize their own digestive processes, which contribute to optimal health.
The most popular and effective supplements contain plant-based enzymes. These enzymes are grown on plants, are vegetarian, and are able to break down carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber making them ideal for digestive aids.* The best formulas contain protease (for proteins), amylase (for carbohydrates), lipase (for lipids or fats) and cellulase (for fiber). Enzymedica is America’s #1 selling enzyme brand,† and their Digest™ and Digest Gold™ lead the industry with respect to potency, quality and purity.
Other unique enzymes can be added to assist with challenging foods: DPP-IV enzymes are ideal for the digestion of proteins in gluten. Lactase works specifically to break down lactose found in dairy. And alpha-galactosidase is particularly helpful for beans and the complex starches in vegetables.
Food intolerance is a growing concern, and Enzymedica offers a comprehensive line of products to meet the increasing demands of this emerging market with products such as GlutenEase™, CarbGest™, and Digest Spectrum™.
Of course, for the highest quality products, an individual should choose clean pure enzymes such as those which contain no fillers or binders. Not all enzyme blends are equal. Enzymedica formulas feature Thera-blend™ technology, which blends multiple strains of enzymes for exceptional potency. Enzymedica’s Thera-blends exhibit activities 3x stronger and 6x faster than other blended formulas.
About the Author:
Steven Lamm, M.D. is a faculty member at New York University School of Medicine, and the Director of Men's Health for NYU Medical Center. He is known to millions from his appearances on ABC-TV’s The View. His book, No Guts, No Glory: The Gut Solution—The core of Your Total Wellness, describes why “the absence of illness doesn’t mean you’re well.” Dr. Lamm’s simple step-by-step program will help you live a healthier, more vibrant life.
[i] Common GI Problems: Volume 1.”The American College of Gastroenterology. The American College of Gastroenterology, n.d. Web. 30 Jul. 2010 <http://www.acg.gi.org/patients/cgp/cgpvol1.asp>.
[ii] National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) (3-year average, 2003–2005), and Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample (HCUP NIS)
‡ Steven Lamm is a compensated medical advisor to Enzymedica.
† Digest™ and Digest Gold™ are the two top-selling digestive enzymes on the US market according to SPINS, a market research and consulting firm for the Natural Products Industry.