Enzymes 101: Help Beat The Bloat This Holiday Season


As the holidays roll on, our free time suddenly becomes filled with dinners, parties and potlucks. All that eating can put a strain on even the most ruthlessly efficient digestive system, and enzymes can help our bodies process all of the gluten-, sugar- and fat-laden holiday food that keeps getting set out on the office counter. If you’ve ever taken Beano, you’re already well acquainted with digestive enzymes and their wonders, but there’s so much more to these little catalysts than keeping the gas at bay when you’re forced to eat your aunt’s 12-bean salad at the family reunion.

You’ve probably heard the word enzymes thrown around as something that’s important for good health, but in order to figure out what it means, and how important enzymes are for digestion, we’ll first have to crack open our 9th-grade chemistry books: Enzymes, at their most basic, are molecules that act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions in living organisms. They are present in all living cells, and help regulate every biochemical reaction that happens in the human body.

When it comes to digestion, enzymes are the catalyst that help break down the food you eat into its constituent nutrients (amino acids, sugars, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) so they can be used by your body to fuel all of its processes. Without enzymes, your body would still process the food you eat—eventually. Instead of taking days, enzymes make this process happen in hours so that the food you eat can provide nutrients to your body instead of rotting in your intestines.

The three most important digestive enzyme types are amylases, which break down starches into simple sugars, proteases, which break down proteins into amino acids, and lipases, which break down fats. Humans produce these enzymes in the mouth, stomach and intestines, but they are also present in our food in its raw form—Papain (from papayas) and Bromelain (from pineapples) are two of the most well-known plant-based enzymes that our body doesn’t produce. Chronic stress, low stomach acid, aging, and gut inflammation can decrease our body’s ability to product enzymes on its own, and the modern American diet full of overcooked, over-processed, under-chewed, enzyme-deficient food only adds to our body’s inability to process what we eat.

This lack of enzymes and inability to efficiently digest food is what leads to the gas, bloating, heartburn and feeling of a rock in our stomach that we all know and hate. Because our body has to work so much harder during digestion, enzyme deficiency can also lead to the dreaded food coma. For some, a change in diet and even chewing more can help alleviate the enzyme deficiency, but most people find that they need additional supplementation from outside sources.

Enzymes supplements usually come from three main sources: Fruit (papain and bromelain), animal (pancreatin), or fungus. Fungus-based sources tend to be the most stable, and encompass a broad spectrum of enzymes, so look for a supplement that uses an extensive blend.

You’ll want to take your digestive enzymes with meals so that the enzymes can be used by the body as its digesting your food. Systemic enzymes may be taken between meals to replenish enzyme stores in the rest of your body.

Our favorite enzyme products come from Transformation Enzymes. TEC uses the highest-quality enzymes available in broad-spectrum, synergistic blends for a variety of digestive problems. These are our three favorite TEC products:

  • Digest: Digest is Transformation’s flagship product, and is a wonderful blend of essential enzymes to help digest all food molecules, from proteins and fats to carbohydrates and lactose. If you’re trying digestive enzymes for the first time, this is the most comprehensive blend available. Digest is available in 60 count, 90 count and 120 count bottles.
  • DigestZyme: With its smaller capsule DigestZyme is a great introduction to digestive enzymes. This gentle formula includes probiotics to further aid proper digestion. DigestZyme is available in 120 count and 240 count capsules, or a powder that can easily be mixed with food.
  • Gastro: Gastro is a complex, active enzyme formulation that is designed to alleviate occasional gastrointestinal discomfort, improve digestive function, and strengthen epithelial cell vitality in the gut.



























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