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Enzymes Probiotics and Good Digestive Health

enzymeEnzymes Probiotics and a healthy diet are all beneficial to your health. But can they coexist in harmony? As Probiotics consist mainly of proteins, some might argue that protease enzymes could break down the probiotics or make it harder for them to securely attach and anchor in gut.

Probiotics are "friendly" bacteria that exist naturally in the gut and can provide the body with numerous health benefits. They are acquired through eating fermented dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt or probiotic supplements. Once ingested, probiotics flourish within the digestive tract and help maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Probiotics also boost the body's ability to absorb food and nutrients. So in effect, they help to optimize the efficiency of the digestive process. They can also help boost the immune system and help reduce inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics can also help destroy harmful pathogens, such as E. coli, that may trigger food poisoning.

Enzymes are protein molecules that are necessary for, among other things, digestion. Enzymes such as amylases and proteases break down large molecules (starch or proteins, respectively) into smaller ones, so they can be absorbed by the intestines. They also exist naturally in the body and are important to the process of food digestion. When food is consumed, digestive enzymes are released from the salivary glands, stomach and small intestines. They help breakdown proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Like probiotics, enzymes assist the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat. Efficient absorption of nutrients from food is to some extent dependent upon the existence of enzymes.

Some probiotic strains are unaffected by enzymes, whereas other strains can be affected. We are unable to find a definitive answer to the question. So where does that leave you, the health conscious consumer? Well, we offer these suggestions. If supplementing your diet with both probiotics, enzymes and perhaps other products, then take the enzymes immediately before your meal. Consider taking the probiotics some time after the meal; when the enzymes have done their job. Please note that we have no scientific basis for these suggestions only that it seems logical to approach it this way. If in doubt, consult your doctor first.

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