Digestive Enzymes – Did cavemen get constipated?

If you lived on this planet thousands of years ago, life was full of hardship. Even if you were a successful hunter, running out of food was always a threat.

But there were a few things you could be thankful for, too… like never being bothered by gas, bloating or constipation.

You see, our caveman ancestors had access to clean, potent produce that was untouched by commercial farming and all the toxins that go with it. And they ate things fresh. When they were hungry they would pick berries or feast on wild vegetables.

And that fresh produce was packed with something that today you’re missing…

I’m talking about digestive enzymes.  

You may feel like embarrassing gas and constipation, along with uncomfortable bloating and painful heartburn are completely normal and something that you simply have to put up with. But the truth is that these were almost never a problem for our ancestors. 

Today I’ll show you how we strayed so far from the healthy digestion nature intended for us, and how you can get your gut back on track. You may even find that all that extra gas and heartburn disappears after a few weeks.

The Essential Nutrient You’re Not Getting Enough Of…

Sure, you can run to the drug store if you have problems… we all do.

You could take Beano for that gas and bloating, and Metamucil for constipation. And your doctor will be happy to prescribe Nexium for your heartburn. But those remedies just treat the symptoms and never lay a finger on the cause.

But these are just symptoms of a bigger problem… a lack of enzymes.

Enzymes are proteins that facilitate every chemical reaction in every one of your organs, bones, tissues, muscles and cells. Enzymes also act as catalysts to help your body absorb and assimilate nutrients. 

Every time you eat, enzymes help break down the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in your food so you can digest them. In the first hour after you eat, they “pre-digest” your food, breaking down up to 75% of your meal before stomach acid even starts to work. 

You get digestive enzymes through your food, and your body also produces a supply in the pancreas and other glands.  But chances are you’re running on empty. Here’s why. 

1) Our food supply is deficient. Our air, water and soil have all changed drastically since the time of our grandparents and great grandparents. As a result, our food is deficient in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Commercial farming and long distance shipping make things worse. Natural digestive enzymes are abundant in freshly picked vine-ripened fruits and vegetables but they start to deteriorate just hours after being harvested.  By the time produce gets to your supermarket, 90% or more of its enzymes may have been destroyed.   

2) We don’t eat raw foods. About 90% of the food that Americans eat is processed.  Processing or heating food to about 116 to 129 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes. Unless you’re eating a 75% raw diet, you’re probably not getting enough digestive enzymes from your food.

3) We don’t chew our food. Digestion starts in the mouth where chewing stimulates production of amylase, the enzyme that helps digest carbohydrates. Most of us chew so little that food goes into our bellies without the necessary enzymes. Gas, bloating, heartburn and constipation are the price we pay.

4) Our enzyme production drops with age. Every 10 years your body’s production of enzymes drops by more than 10%. That means by the time you’re 40, you could be operating at only 75% capacity and by age 70 that can be as low as 30%.

When your body doesn’t have enough enzymes, undigested food sits in your belly and can clog the pipes. That’s when your body sends out all those distress signals.     

But by simply adding digestive enzyme supplements to your meals, you can eliminate indigestion, gas constipation and bloating. 

How to Put Digestive Enzymes to Work for You Right Now

Science has identified over 3,000 enzymes so far but they fall into several basic categories according to which kind of food they digest. 

When reading labels, keep in mind that enzymes are not measured in milligrams but in “activity units.” And each type of enzyme uses a different measure. 

The table below lists the basic digestive enzymes, what food they digest, and the minimum amounts to look for in your supplement.

 

Digestive Enzyme

Food

Activity Units

Protease Protein 33,000 HUT
Amylase Carbohydrates 12,000 SKB
Lipase Fats 5,000 LU
Cellulase Fiber 750 CU
Maltase Grains 600  DP
Lactase Dairy 1,500 LACU
Sucrase Sugars 200 SU

When buying supplements, look for enzymes derived from vegetarian or plant sources.  These have more consistent activity levels and that means they’re more potent.  They’re also less likely to be contaminated with pesticides, chemical estrogens, or mad cow disease. 

Vegetarian-based enzymes are more expensive but you’ll want to spring for the best because this is one case where you get what you pay for.   

For digestive problems, try starting with a 500 mg capsule of digestive enzymes right before eating.  You can always take more (two to four capsules) if needed to help you digest larger meals. 


“Anti-Aging and Digestive Health Through Enzymes” by Jon Barron

“Digestive Enzymes: The Key to Good Health and Longevity” by Rita Elkins, 1998, Woodland Publishing


© Copyright 2013 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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