Les enzymes digestives, comment ça marche ?

Digestive enzymes, how do they work?

Digestive enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions and act throughout our digestive tract "like scissors"; they cut food into smaller molecules and transform them from a solid to a liquid state to help their digestion by the intestine. A deficiency in digestive enzymes is a major cause of digestive and intestinal discomfort.

How do enzymes work?

Enzymes are proteins made up of amino acids which have a catalytic capacity: they accelerate chemical reactions.

Enzymes make possible the hydrolysis or transformation and proper assimilation of complex molecules, foods, into simple molecules, nutrients.

Each family of foods corresponds to a family of enzymes which therefore contributes to the decomposition, transformation and specific assimilation of this category of foods:

  • Alpha-amylase converts carbohydrates, starches or sugars into glucose
  • Protease converts proteins into amino acids
  • Lactase allows the digestion of lactose; often, it would be more accurate to speak of lactase deficiency rather than lactose intolerance
  • Lipase converts lipids into fatty acids
  • Cellulase contributes to the digestion of cellulose or plant fibers
  • Alpha galactosidase participates in the digestion of cruciferous vegetables

Where do enzymes come from? What are the sources?

Enzymes are naturally synthesized by the body throughout the digestive tract:

  • The salivary glands
  • The pancreas
  • The stomach
  • The intestine.

Only cellulase is an enzyme not produced by the body which nevertheless promotes intestinal transit.

What are the causes of an enzyme deficiency?

Several reasons can explain this:

Different reasons can explain an enzyme deficiency:

  • Digestive disorders or pathologies that prevent the organs from correctly producing and activating digestive enzymes
  • Meals that are too heavy, too rich or too copious in the face of natural enzyme production, which is also called saturation of the enzymatic system
  • The context of the meal which prevents the activity of enzymes: during a meal that is too fast, chewing is insufficient. The food then arrives in too large pieces in the stomach and makes the work of the enzymes more complicated.
  • Aging: enzyme secretion decreases with age
  • Consumption of disruptive substances (medications, alcohol)

What are the symptoms of an enzyme deficiency?

Gas, bloating, transit disorders after meals are the main signs of an enzyme deficiency or low activity.

Poorly cut up by the enzymes, the food arrives at the level of the intestine, then unable to assimilate it correctly, where it ends up stagnating and fermenting, causing numerous digestive inconveniences including our very charming gas.

Reduced enzyme activity can also justify certain food intolerances such as lactose intolerance.

Indeed, the role of lactase is to degrade and enable the digestion of lactose. With age, some people no longer produce enough lactase enzymes and develop lactose intolerance. If we then have the reflex to demonize lactose and dairy products which contain it, the problem actually lies within our digestive system and our enzymatic activity which are no longer able to digest them.

How to improve enzyme production?

Enzyme supplementation helps stimulate enzymatic activity and digest foods that our digestive system sometimes finds itself lacking.

However, this is a temporary effect and linked to taking; food supplements do not make it possible to correct the enzyme deficiency in the long term; the enzymes provided as a supplement do not colonize the body.

To sustainably regulate enzymatic activity, an appropriate lifestyle is required:

  • Varied and balanced diet
  • Avoidance of disruptors as much as possible
  • Management of possible digestive pathologies

Article written by Ginette and Josiane online support platform dedicated to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

After 15 years of friendship and 10 years of wandering, incongruous experiences, tests and daily exchanges on the subject, Audrey and Audrey, two childhood friends who both suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, decided to take advantage of their professional and personal journeys and their daily struggle, to launch Ginette and Josiane, a real coach for living better with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and more generally digestive disorders. Their ambition? Propose concrete solutions but also and above all bring together patients and health professionals within a single community in order to contribute to making as much noise as possible around this evil and to establish it as a real movement.

Do you want to know more about how enzymes work?

Watch the video of Audrey and Audrey, the founders of Ginette and Josiane > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IIc6LSRDBQ&feature=youtu.be

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