Digestive enzymesFrom Dr. Brooke:

In this ever-growing time of food allergy and sensitivity awareness, people are discovering how much better they feel eliminating certain foods, including wheat/gluten and dairy.  Elimination of these foods has been associated with relieving symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, Eczema, ADD/ADHD, migraines, psoriasis, arthritis…the list goes on and on.  I myself suffer from the dreaded “wheat headache”.  I do my best to avoid gluten, but it is hard for the New Yorker in me to pass on a fresh bagel and cream cheese!  For those times when we are weak, or the times when we are strong and deserve a treat, Similase GFCF is there to help.

Now, I agree with Kindra, gluten free junk food is still junk food! But if you are going to cheat, these plant-based digestive enzymes are formulated to work in both the acidic environment of your stomach and the alkaline environment of your intestines.  Not all food sensitivity reactions happen in the same part of the GI tract!

Anatomy lesson of the day:

The stomach secretes an acid, known as hydrochloric acid, to lower the pH down to 1-2 because protease (a digestive enzyme) works better in an acidic environment.  The resting pH for the stomach is about 4- 5.  The enzymes found in the small intestine include amylase, trypsin, lipase, sucrose, and lactase, all of which work best in an alkaline environment.  Not to mention the acidity of the gastric contents outside of the protected stomach would destroy the lining of the small intestine.  Therefore, once food passes into the duodenum, the first part of your small intestine, various enzymes and hormones work to raise the pH up to 7-9 so that you can break down your fats and convert your proteins into amino acids for absorption through the wall of your small intestine into your blood stream.

So as you can see, different enzymes work in different pH environments.   People have been using digestive enzymes in many forms for hundreds if not thousands of years when you consider pineapples and papayas are digestive enzymes.  But the ones our body makes can be deficient for many reasons making the use of supplemental enzymes helpful.

Heartburn, which occurs in the stomach and esophagus due to either too much or too little acid, is just one example of a place where digestive enzymes can really help.  If there is too much acid, acid can reflux up into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.   This can be caused by certain foods (spice, citrus, and dairy) or overproduction of gastrin and HCL due to stress, lack of sleep, or bacterial infection.  In the situation of too little acid, the enzyme protease does not function properly and proteins are not broken down into smaller particles and amino acids to be absorbed in the small intestine.  These partially digested foods then ferment and the off-gassing forces the sphincter at the top of your stomach open allowing acid to spill out.  Taking digestive enzymes supplements your body so that it can break down foods into fats, proteins, carbohydrates and then to amino acids and thereby preventing the fermentation process.  I think this would be an example of killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

Similase GFCF contains many of the enzymes mentioned above as well as a totally specific enzyme that can specifically digest gluten and casein.  Should this be an everyday addition to your supplement regimen? No. Should you take it on those cheat days or when you are just being bad? Yes.  Just because you are eating a special treat doesn’t mean you have to suffer.