Food is not only fuel for our body, it’s also what brings us together at the table. It’s a way to experience cultures – either our own or new ones – and carry on family traditions. Food evokes the senses and conjures memories. So when you live with a food intolerance or allergy, the simple act of eating can be challenging to say the least.
A food intolerance is a gastrointestinal response to food(s). They can be caused by a number of issues, such as the pharmacological components of a food, enzyme deficiencies or problems with GI transit (or issues with the physical side of digestion). Common food intolerances include complex carbohydrates, milk sugar (lactose), milk protein (casein), gluten, phenols and FODMAPS (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols)
Food intolerances impact the body’s ability to digest or break down certain foods. Symptoms may happen hours after the food is ingested. While these aren’t life-threatening like allergies are, they are nonetheless uncomfortable. Symptoms include occasional gas, bloating, cramps, heartburn, diarrhea, indigestion and other digestive issues.
The term “food sensitivity” is sometimes used in place of “food intolerance.”
Digestive Enzymes for Food Intolerances
In your digestive system, your salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine produce and secrete enzymes to break down food into nutrients. To completely digest food into absorbable nutrients, your body needs sufficient supplies of those digestive enzymes.
However, sometimes there’s just not enough, due to age, lifestyle or personal habits, an inherited genetic deficiency (like lactose intolerance) or simply overdoing it on occasion. Sometimes, your body needs a little help. That’s where digestive enzyme supplements come in.
Partially undigested food leads to fermentation in the gut, resulting in uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Supplementing with digestive enzymes helps counteract incomplete digestion — and prevent the symptoms associated with enzyme insufficiency. It also increases energy (since less is diverted toward digestion) and absorption of vital nutrients to help you get the most out of every meal.
Here’s a look at how digestive enzymes can play a role in supporting individuals with food intolerances.*
Intolerances to dairy
While lactose intolerance is perhaps the best-known food intolerance, it’s not the only reason why some people have issues with dairy. That’s why our Dairy Assist™ and Lacto™ products promote the digestion of both lactose (dairy sugar) and casein (proteins found in dairy).* (Lacto also offers additional enzymes to break down the rest of your meal, too.)
Gluten is the protein found in wheat and other grains like barley and rye. We offer two different products for those who want support for gluten intolerance, GlutenEase™ and GlutenEase™ Extra Strength.* These two also contain enzymes to help support casein intolerance.*
Both contain DPP-IV, an enzyme shown to break down gluten, along with other enzymes to help digest the entire meal.* For example, amylase helps digest the carbohydrate portion of grains, and glucoamylase breaks down polysaccharides into easier-to-digest glucose units.*
The extra strength version contains a unique protease blend shown to be more effective for breaking down excess gluten.*
Intolerances to vegetables
While we often hear the advice to “eat more vegetables” to support a healthy diet, it is possible to have intolerances to them. That’s because veggies contain complex carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest. VeggieGest™ helps break down nutrients found in beans, grains and raw vegetables, to enhance the digestion and absorption of complex carbs.* Of the 12 enzymes in VeggieGest, 10 are designed to break down fiber and related polysaccharides (that’s another name for complex carbohydrates – it describes how the molecules are bonded).
BeanAssist™ is another vegetarian enzyme formula that targets the complex carbohydrates found in legumes, grains and veggies.* It contains enzymes to help break down beans, cabbage, broccoli and other gas-inducing foods.*
Both offer support for vegetarian, vegan and other plant-based diets.
Issues digesting dietary fat
Lypo Gold™ targets the macronutrient we haven’t yet discussed: dietary fat. (Carbohydrates and protein are the other two.) This enzyme blend breaks down up to 22 grams of dietary fats per capsule, and it includes other enzymes to help with digestion of the whole meal and help the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K (which are fat-soluble).* It’s also keto-friendly.
Multiple food intolerances
Finally, there’s Digest Spectrum™, which offers support for multiple food intolerances, including gluten, casein, phenols and lactose.* It offers specialized digestive support with enzymes for major food intolerances.*
No matter which digestive enzyme formula you choose, it will contain Enzymedica's proprietary Thera-blend™ technology. That means that the enzymes will work throughout the entire pH spectrum found along your digestive tract. When other brands’ enzyme formulas may fall short, in almost all acidic or alkaline environments, our enzymes will be effective.