Feeling bloated? Have an upset stomach? Passing more gas than usual? Few things are worse than suffering from one of these common digestive issues, especially during the holiday season when fun should be at the top of our to-do lists. With the recent attention gut health has been receiving, you’ve probably heard that taking enzymes and probiotics can help relieve and prevent digestive discomfort.
But what exactly are enzymes and probiotics, anyway? Is there a difference between them? Is one going to be more helpful than the other?
While it is true that both enzymes and probiotics can help improve digestion and relieve digestive discomfort, they are two different things that help your digestive system in very different ways. The key to choosing the one that is going to work best for you is to understand the differences between them.
How Enzymes Help you?
As you likely remember from high school science class, digestion is the process the human body uses to break down food so your body can absorb and use its nutrients. But you may not recall that one of the main components that makes digestion possible are proteins known as digestive enzymes. These proteins are responsible for breaking down different components of food to make the job of your stomach and intestines a little easier. Digestive enzymes are produced all throughout your digestive system in areas like your mouth, stomach, small intestine, and pancreas.
Your body produces several types of digestive enzymes, but the three most important ones are amylase, protease, and lipase.
- Amylase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down simple sugars and carbohydrates. It is secreted by your salivary glands as well as your pancreas.
- Protease. Found in the pancreas, small intestine, and stomach, protease breaks proteins down into amino acids. These amino acids can then be distributed throughout your body to assist with various functions.
- Lipase. This enzyme is found in the small intestine as well as the pancreas. Lipase breaks down fats and oils and converts them into fatty acids and glycerol.
While your body naturally makes its own digestive enzymes, it’s important to understand that this production process can be affected by various factors like extreme heat, exposure to harmful chemicals, and a number of different health conditions. Needless to say, keeping your body as healthy as possible is the best way to ensure you have enough enzymes to keep digestion running smoothly.
If you want to avoid putting strain on your digestive system, you can take steps to ensure you are getting extra enzymes from your diet. Some of the best foods to turn to for these important proteins include pineapples, honey, mangoes, bananas, papayas, kiwi, ginger, and avocados.
How do Probiotics Help You?
In order to understand what probiotics are, you first have to understand the gut microbiome, which refers to all the bacteria that reside in your digestive tract, especially in your large intestine. While some of these bacteria can be harmful to your health, the majority of them are beneficial and actually play an important role in the function of your digestive system, immune system, metabolism, and many other aspects of your overall well-being.
Unlike enzymes, probiotics are living microorganisms, specifically bacteria. These beneficial bacteria are found in your gut microbiome and serve a number of purposes, including keeping the harmful gut bacteria in check to ensure your gut microbiome stays balanced. Certain probiotics can even produce those digestive superheros known as enzymes.
Unlike digestive enzymes, probiotics are not naturally created by your body, which means it’s important to ensure you are getting plenty of them from your diet. You can find them in raw honey, some types of cheese, and fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, and apple cider vinegar. Alternatively, you can get your daily dose of probiotics by taking them in supplement form.
Which One Should You Take?
While both enzymes and probiotics have immense benefits to your digestive system, it’s easy to see that they both serve a specific purpose, which means your current situation will determine which one will be most effective. For example, if you have a health condition that is known to affect the way your body produces enzymes, then you’ll know you need to include more enzymes in your diet. On the other hand, if you’ve recently taken a round of antibiotics, you’ll probably want to consider using probiotics to replenish your gut microbiome.
Enzymes are also beneficial if you are struggling with indigestion or if you are especially full after eating too much. On the flip side, thanks to the power of the gut microbiome, probiotics can help if you are facing issues with your skin or immune system, or if you are struggling with mood challenges like feeling anxious or irritable. What’s more? Both enzymes and probiotics can help relieve common digestive discomforts like bloating, excessive gas, or irregular bowel movements. This means that oftentimes, taking enzymes and probiotics together is a great way to support your digestive health.
What are some of the things you can do to ensure you have enough of both? The first thing is to pay attention to your diet. Eating more natural foods as well as foods that have been fermented will go a long way toward making sure your body has enough enzymes and probiotics to keep digestion running smoothly. If you feel like you aren’t getting enough from your diet, you can also turn to gut health supplements that contain one or both of these important compounds.
Turn To New Earth For Your Gut Support Needs
Your gut needs as much support as possible during this festive season and beyond. Here at New Earth, we understand that which is why we’ve created a whole line of supplements to help keep your gut as happy and healthy as possible, no matter what time of the year it is. Whether you are looking to boost your supply of enzymes, seed your gut with probiotics, or a combination of both, we have an all-natural formulation that can help.
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