The optimal functioning of our digestive system is pivotal for our holistic well-being. Our body needs some digestive enzymes to carry out effective and smooth digestion. Digestive enzymes are produced and secreted by the gastrointestinal system to degrade fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to accomplish digestion and, afterwards, the absorption of nutrients. Our body produces digestive enzymes naturally to break down food. However, sometimes enough enzymes are not produced. Certain food essentials are known to compensate for the requisite digestive enzymes naturally.
What are probiotics?
Our gut has many microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and protozoa, that make up the microbiome. Some of these live microorganisms perform healthy functions for your hormonal health, immune function, and nervous system, while others may trigger diseases. A healthy balance of good and bad microbes is needed to promote overall health. Any imbalance in the count of these gut microbes can contribute to a host of health problems, including immune dysfunction.
Poor dietary habits, lack of physical activity, inadequate sleep, emotional and physical stress, overuse of antibacterial products, and many other factors can contribute to gut imbalances. The unhealthy immune system starts to destroy the good bacteria along with the bad. This is why you need healthy probiotics to support the health of your gut. Probiotics are good microbes, just like those found in your gut.
In layman's language, probiotics are dietary supplements having live beneficial bacteria or yeasts that naturally live in your body. Doctors recommend consuming probiotics to get rid of health concerns like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Clostridioides difficile (C.diff) infection, and diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics.
In fact, probiotics are also associated with better immunity, accelerating your body’s ability to fight inflammation. Studies have also shown that probiotics promote weight loss by releasing appetite-regulating hormones. However, it is not easy to pick the right probiotic for your unique gut health. So, we will cover the factors that can help influence your decision while probiotics for yourself.
What are digestive enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are naturally produced catalysts to break down food in the digestive tract. They are necessary to convert carbs, fats, and proteins into nutrients that our bodies can use for energy. There are different types of digestive enzymes found in the upper digestive tract, such as salivary glands, stomach, small intestines, and pancreas.
Not having enough enzymes in the digestive system or GI tract may make it hard for your body to digest food, leading to nutritional deficiencies and food intolerance. For example, lactase enzymes are responsible for breaking lactose into components that can be processed by the stomach. And if your body does not have enough of these enzymes, it can lead to lactose intolerance in you. Bloating, diarrhea, or cramping is quite common in people experiencing lactose intolerance due to the consumption of milk products.
There are different types of digestive enzymes in our body, including:-
Produced in the salivary glands and pancreas, it converts complex carbohydrates into sugars for energy needs.
Found in the pancreas, it converts fats into free fatty acids and glycerol.
This type of digestive enzyme is produced in the pancreas and is known to break down proteins into single amino acids.
Lactase helps break down lactose into glucose.
Produced in the small intestine, it converts sucrose to glucose and fructose..
So, digestive enzymes and food supplements help digestion by helping break down the food into smaller components.
Factors to consider when choosing probiotics vs digestive enzyme supplement
Clearly, probiotics and digestive enzymes supplement have a major role in promoting gut health. However, they tend to function differently. While probiotics aim to maintain a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria, digestive enzymes aim to break complex food into smaller particles. Here are some factors that can help you decide which supplement to pick for your gut health:-
1. Focus on which symptoms you want to treat
Probiotics are linked to creating a healthy balance between good and bad microbes. This imbalance does not affect your gut functioning but the entire ecosystem of your body. It is because the unhealthy microbe can trigger inflammation or chronic reactions in the cells, impacting your overall health. In conclusion, probiotics are best suited for concerns like:-
a) Irritable bowel syndrome
b) Leaky gut syndrome
d) Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
e) Bacterial, fungal, and parasitic gut infections
f) Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Additionally, probiotics are helpful for treating bacterial infections in your urinary tract, respiratory tract infections, periodontal disease, vaginal infections, etc. In fact, probiotic supplements are also associated with improved mental health conditions. Studies have shown that if you are experiencing signs of depression, stress, and anxiety and are unable to sleep properly, probiotics can be of great help.
Digestive enzyme supplements, on the other hand, are very helpful when you have a certain food intolerance. It provides nourishment so that your gut can easily break those complex food structures and improve digestion. The best digestive enzymes supplement include:
Lactase for dairy intolerance
DPP-IV for gluten intolerance
Alpha galactosidase for beans and legumes intolerance
Protein digesting enzyme called for protein intolerance
Carbohydrate digestion enzymes called amylase
While these digestive enzymes are crucial for digestive health, not having these enzymes in the appropriate quantity may create problems with the gut. As a result, the food is not digested properly in the small intestines, leading to one or more of these issues:
Reduced nutrient absorption
Gas and bloating
It is important to add a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement to your routine if you want to address these digestional issues. However, it is best to consult your primary care physician before taking any enzymes.
2. Consider the benefits
When understanding probiotics vs. digestive enzyme supplements, it is important to consider the benefits of each for the best results.
Here are some benefits of adding probiotics to your diet
a) Probiotics rejuvenate gut health by balancing to repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria.
b) It addresses concerns like your skin health.
c) It helps promote a healthy weight.
d) When probiotics feed on prebiotics, they help secrete short-chain fatty acids known to support healthy gut lining.
e) They improve the health of your immune system.
f) Some probiotics are also linked to elevated mood.
Here are some benefits of adding digestive enzymes to your diet
a) The major advantage of taking digestive enzymes is that they help your body break down food into smaller parts easy for digestion.
b) Keeps most prevalent stomach issues like gas, bloating, and burping at bay.
c) Your stomach feels lighter.
d) Rectify food intolerances such as lactose intolerance.
- e) Improve signs of gluten sensitivity.
Probiotics vs. digestive enzyme supplements: Should you be taking both?
For those with food intolerance, taking both probiotics and digestive enzymes may be of great benefit. Probiotics can also help people with lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance. This is why at Healthyr-U, we recommend probiotics and supplements to promote digestive enzymes in the stomach. Remember that your gut health is a way to healthy nervous system functioning.
While enzymes and probiotics are best for those with gut issues, it is crucial to understand the root cause of the problem before taking out any supplements. At Healthyr-U we understand how crucial is your gut health for overall health. So we take utmost care in curating health supplements that meet your nutritional needs. With a full range of nutritional supplements ranging from gut health, skin, and hair care, and sleep boosters to vitamins and immunity boosters, Healthyr-U is committed to helping you achieve your peak health.