Chew On This, and Chew Well
by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ Flatirons Naturopathic Clinic
I am asked regularly about how I feel about digestive enzymes. Most people are surprised when I tell them I don’t like using digestive enzymes for more than a couple months. This is because if you use them for too long, you can cause the pancreas to reduce it’s own production of digestive enzymes.
Let’s talk about digestion for a second. The majority of carbohydrate digestion happens in the mouth. Yes, that means you need to slow down and chew your food. That also means you should not drink while you are chewing your food. You need that amylase to mix with your food to break down your carbohydrates.
Food goes into the stomach for protein digestion. You need stomach acid (pepsinogen and HCL) to break down proteins. If you do not have enough stomach acid because you have a food sensitivity, you take antacids, or you have another reason you do not make enough acid, you will not only neglect to break down your proteins, but you will also feel like your food doesn’t move out of your stomach after eating.
Next, the food enters the small intestine. It must be acidic to trigger the pancreas to release its enzymes. I find that most people haven’t chewed their food enough or they have problems with stomach acid production and that’s why they would need more pancreatic enzymes. If you take pancreatic enzymes you are not treating the real cause of the problem. In fact, you are telling your own pancreas to stop making enzymes because your pill has it covered. Consider eating more bitter greens and chewing your food and your gas and bloating will go away without having to take a pill. I am always here if your symptoms persist, you can call me and we will find answers.
I treat many different digestive conditions. See more here.