Digestive Enzymes: Rapid Relief for Indigestion from Holiday Feasting

thanksgiving-family-web.jpgOh, the joys of Thanksgiving dinner and other holiday feasting. Many of us look forward to these special times with mouth-watering anticipation, but unfortunately, a lot of us get carried away and eat more than we should.  The result is sleepiness and indigestion.  (The TV show Mythbusters just proved it isn’t the tryptophan in the turkey that makes you sleepy, it’s overeating.) Food is great, but too much food, even if it's good food, can cause problems.

If you do overindulge, it’s time to break out the enzyme supplements. Enzymes, along with hydrochloric acid and bile salts, are the catalysts that break food down into usable components.  Without them, food just rots in the digestive tract, producing acid irritation, belching, bloating and gas.  Poor digestion also contributes to toxicity in the body and compromised immunity, not to mention bad breath and body odor.

Unfortunately, many people reach for antacids to settle their holiday indigestion.  In fact, many people regularly use antacids to treat their indigestion.  This just makes the problem worse because it neutralizes the stomach acid necessary to break down food, which increases bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines, causing more fermentation, gas and acid production.  Most of these people would be much better off taking digestive enzyme supplements. 

The Therapeutic Value of Enzymes

woman-taking-capsule-web.jpgOf course, enzyme supplements aren’t just for holidays and overeating.  Many people have chronically poor digestion, especially from diets comprised mainly of cooked food.  Taking enzymes helps the body utilize food better, which can result in overall better health.  It can also reduce appetite and help with weight loss.  And, the benefits don’t stop there.  Taking digestive enzymes can also reduce allergic reactions, increase energy, ease pain and help to detoxify the body.

Taken between meals, enzymes benefit the immune system and destroy yeast, harmful bacteria and parasites.  For instance, you can take Artemesia Combination or Herbal Pumpkin along with Food Enzymes or High Potency Protease between meals to help rid the body of parasites.  Using Proactazyme or Food Enzymes with GastroHealth or Cat’s Claw Combination between meals can help balance intestinal flora and get rid of harmful bacteria. Finally, Yeast/Fungal Detox or Capryilic Acid Combination can be taken with Food Enzymes or High Potency Protease to combat fungal infections.  One can also use Candida Clear for fungal infections as it contains a special packet of enzymes to take between meals.

Enymes are very helpful for adjusting gut bacteria because they help to break down the biofilm in which these microbes live, allowing the antifungal and antibacterial agents to do a better job. They also weaken the parastites making the antiparasitic herbs more effective.

Enzyme supplements like High Potency Protease and Food Enzymes have also been used as part of a natural program for combating cancer.  For this purpose, they are also taken between meals.

Here are some enzyme supplements to consider.


Proactazyme is a good enzyme supplement for most people. It contains the plant-based enzymes that are missing from most modern diets.  These enzymes assist the body in breaking down all three major types of foodstuffs—proteases to break down protein, lipases to break down fats, and amylases to break down carbohydrates.  It also contains enzymes that break down the complex sugars in beans and vegetables that cause intestinal gas.

Food Enzymes

For more serious digestive problems, Food Enzymes are a better choice.  This formula supplies the digestive secretions and enzymes normally produced by the human body to break down food.  It contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin (secreted by the stomach to break down proteins), bile salts (secreted by the gall bladder to emulsify fats) and pancreatic enzymes (which break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates).  This blend also contains bromelain, an enzyme from pineapples, and papain, an enzyme from papayas—both of which help to break down proteins.

Food Enzymes is particularly helpful for elderly people whose digestive systems often produce less digestive fluids and enzymes.  It is also beneficial for people who are suffering from chronic illness and “wasting” because they are having a difficult time absorbing nutrients.

Papaya Mint Tablets

This blend contains papaya, a fruit containing the enzyme papain, which breaks down protein.  It also contains the essential oil of peppermint, which is traditionally used for gas and indigestion.  Sweetened with fructose and sorbitol, these tasty, chewable tablets will help to relieve acid indigestion, acid reflux, belching, bloating, gas, heartburn and poor digestion. They are a safe enzyme remedy, even for children, and they make excellent natural breath mints, too.  Children can also take Sunshine Heros Whole Foods Papayazyme.

Protein Digestive Aid (PDA)

When people have specific problems breaking down proteins, there are three products that may be helpful. PDA Combination supplies hydrochloric acid (HCl) and pepsin, the digestive secretions produced by the stomach  to break down proteins.  As we age, HCl production tends to diminish, making this a very good supplement for the elderly.

Protease Enzymes

Protease enzymes, which break down protein, are also available in two potencies, Protease Plus and High Potency Protease.  High Potency Protease is about three times stronger than Protease Plus.  These supplements are very beneficial for people with poor protein metabolism, food allergies or immune problems.  Taken between meals they can help rid the intestines of parasites and assist the body in fighting cancer.  Caution: Protein-digesting aids (HCl and proteases) should not be taken by persons with gastric ulcers.

Other Enzyme Supplements

If you suffer from gas after drinking milk or eating dairy foods like ice cream, you may be lactose intolerant.  Lactose is a sugar found in milk that requires the enzyme lactase to digest.  Lactase Plus will help those who have difficulty digesting dairy products, as it contains both lactase and protease enzymes that break down milk sugar and milk proteins.

Lipases are a class of enzymes produced by the salivary glands, pancreas and stomach that assist in the breakdown of dietary fats.  For individuals who have had their gallbladder removed or for those with difficulty digesting foods containing fats, such as nuts or fried food, Hi-Lipase can be a useful enzyme supplement.