Digestive System Enzymes

Learn About The Importance of Digestive Enzymes! 

Digestive system enzymes are one of three types of enzymes. The other two are termed ‘metabolic’ and ‘food’ enzymes. Here are your enzyme basics.

Enzymes are energized protein molecules. They’re present in all living cells and they play a necessary role in virtually all biochemical activity in your body – their primary role being as catalysts to make (or speed up) other reactions happen.

Enzymes are essential for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing all tissues, organs and cells. (1)

All up there are approximately 3000 of them which have been characterized but in today’s article we’re only going to concentrate on digestive enzymes. 

The food you eat is immediately exposed to digestive enzymes which break it down for absorption into your bloodstream to then be stored in your liver or muscles – and they also remove waste. In a simple sense think of digestive enzymes as allowing your food to become a source of energy.

That’s why they’re often referred to as ‘the energy of life’ or ‘sparks of life’.

So you can see the importance of digestive enzymes to the correct functioning of your body and therefore to optimal health! 

Your body naturally produces its own digestive enzymes – but there are two problems associated with that. Firstly - the more digestive enzymes you manufacture the fewer metabolic enzymes you produce. Secondly - as you age you start producing less and less digestive enzymes. (more about these problems in a moment).

Digestive System Enzymes / The Different Types

There are 3 main categories of digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, and lipase. Within each category there are different types of enzymes.

  • Amylase breaks down carbohydrates
  • Protease helps to digest protein
  • Lipase aids in fat digestion

Note: There is one digestive enzyme (needed to break down fiber) which your body can’t manufacture - cellulase - you need to get it through raw foods or supplements.

Speaking of raw foods, I mentioned above that ‘food’ enzymes were one category of enzymes. So while your body manufactures a supply of enzymes it can get an additional source of them from food - so that’s good. But food enzymes must come from the raw food you eat. Notice I said "raw" food? 

The cooking and processing of food destroys its enzymes (they are extremely sensitive to heat – 118 °F and above kills most of them). 

This is a problem since a large percentage of the population eats most of their food cooked or processed – that’s bad. So it’s up to your body to produce the majority of digestive enzymes itself.

Now this links to the problems I mentioned above.

“Of the tens of thousands of enzymes needed, the body uses more of its enzyme-producing potential to produce the two dozen enzymes that control the breakdown and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates than it uses to create the hundreds of metabolic enzymes…” (2)

So here’s the crux – if you can supply additional digestive system enzymes into your body by way of supplements (or a lot of raw food) or both – then your body will switch to producing more metabolic enzymes.

This is great for your health because metabolic enzymes are super important little fellows. They speed up the chemical reactions within your cells for detoxification and energy production. The activities of all your body’s organs, tissues, and cells are governed by metabolic enzymes.

Digestion supplements help prevent depletions of your body’s enzyme levels. This is especially important as you age because your body starts producing less and less of its own enzymes. This leads to mal-absorption of nutrients, tissue breakdown and chronic disease.

Supplements containing digestive system enzymes reduce stress on your body by conserving the supply of its own enzymes.

Digestive System Enzymes / Best Food Sources

You can get enzymes from both plant and animal sources.

  • Unripe pineapples
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Unripe papayas
  • Mangoes
  • Sprouts (are the best source)

Raw meats contain lipase, to break down fats.

Digestive System Enzymes / Other Uses

Besides being instrumental in digestion, digestive system enzymes have been shown to offer other health benefits.

Here’s a brief summary of what more than two decades of research on digestive system enzymes has to say:

  • Experiments on animals have shown reduction in tumor growth and metastasis
  • Prevention of radon-induced lung caner in miners
  • Improved 5 year survival rate in breast cancer patients
  • Bromelain (enzyme from pineapple) inhibits leukemic cell growth. It also induces human leukemia cells in culture to revert back to normal (cytodifferentiation)
  • Reduced cancer complications such as cachexia, pain in joints and depression
  • Reduced the secondary infections that follow certain chemo and radiation methods
  • Possibly helps induce apoptosis (suicide) in cancer cells
  • Enhance immune system
  • Improve digestive problems (e.g. heartburn, constipation)
  • Reduce food allergies

There has also been a significant amount of research done on the benefits of enzymes in circulatory and cardiovascular health.

Medical scientists from Harvard Medical School, long involved with the Physicians' Health Study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that curbing inflammation may be at the "heart" of a sensible cardiovascular health program. They said...

"Substances that down-regulate the inflammation of blood and coronary vessels can help to prevent heart disease. Both aspirin and enzymes work extremely well, but enzymes have far fewer complications with long-term use".

These findings tie in with many clinical trials and experimental studies that have found enzymes to safely lower the specific types of inflammation closely linked to heart disease much the same way as aspirin but with none of the negative side effects.

Digestive System Enzymes / Supplementation

Digestive system enzymes are extracted from various sources. Plant based enzymes are the most popular type used in supplements (they are the most active/potent.)

They are sourced from aspergillus - a type of fungus – and grown in a laboratory. Enzymes cannot be manufactured synthetically.

Protease, lipase, amylase and cellulase account for the largest majority of the digestive system enzyme market.

Any supplement containing enzymes should contain all 3 major enzyme groups – amylases, protease, and lipases.

Due to their ability to treat other health conditions enzymes should be part of a multi nutrient health supplement aimed at your overall health – digestion is just one part of this.

Very importantly, enzymes must only be included in an enteric coated tablet to avoid contact with the stomach acid which will destroy most of them.

Enzymes can react with other nutrients (e.g. vitamin C in doses of 250 g or above) in the presence of stomach acid to create free radicals – this is something you don’t want. We all have too many free radicals floating around inside us as it is! 

Be sure to use a multi nutrient supplement aimed specifically at women (or at men if you’re a male). The digestive system enzymes in each should be different. This is because of the slightly different metabolic pathways between men and women that need to be addressed with different enzymes.

The Supplement That Gets My Vote!

‘Total Balance’ from the Xtend-Life company is an elite, science-based, multi nutrient health supplement that I'd like you to consider. It sits many classes above the basic 'supermarket' grade multi vitamin/mineral supplement that sells for around $20 - $30 a bottle.

It not only contains digestive system enzymes from the 3 main categories but its formula also contains a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, standardized herbal extracts, trace elements, amino acids, male and female support nutrients, potent immunity and eye blends, and other rare and expensive specialty nutrients which you don 't often see in health supplements because they lack a pharmaceutical grade delivery system unlike Total Balance (more of that further down)..

In line with what I told you  above, you’ll find that the digestive system enzymes in the Total Balance ‘Women’s versions are different from those in the ‘Men’s versions’ to account for the different metabolic pathways that have to be followed in each sex.

This is a perfect example of the type of difference that sets Total Balance apart from its' premium grade health supplement competitors in the supplement marketplace.

There are 7 different versions in the Total Balance range.

Depending on which version you choose, you'll receive an incredible 84 up to a STUNNING  97 ingredients and yet Total Balance costs no more (and in MANY cases substantially less) than other famous, market leading, multi ingredient health supplements in the U.S.A., Australian, Asian  and European markets..

The 'value for money' factor is one of the major reasons that allowed Total Balance to prevail in every one of my product comparisons of the market's most well known , elite grade supplements. There's a link at the bottom that will take you to my comparisons if you interested to take a look.

The broad spectrum nature of the Total Balance formulas means they target and rejuvenate EVERY organ and system in your body.

If you would like to see how Total Balance reigned supreme in head to head comparisons with the supplement markets most well known, elite grade multi ingredient health supplements, please use this link best vitamins

If you would like to read more details about Total Balance please follow this link to the individual product pages for each version at the Xtend-life website


  • Balch, PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 2000. 1:59 redigestive system enzymes
  • Ibid (1)

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