Why enzyme deficiencies might be making you feel bloated…
We all feel bloated once in a while (perhaps on special occasions or when we eat too much) but when bloating is happening regularly it is a sign that something isn’t quite right. ..
Although there can be many causes for bloating, one contributory factor can be a deficiency in digestive enzymes which are needed to break down foods in the gut. When we fail to break down foods properly then they are fermented by bacteria and yeasts which produce gas and yes you’ve guessed it – bloating!
Enzyme deficiencies can be closely linked to food intolerance and can make it difficult for us to tolerate certain foods or categories of foods depending upon which types of enzymes we are deficient in. So for example individuals deficient in lactase will struggle to digest milk because they will be unable to break down the lactose (the sugar in the milk). Other individuals might struggle with more general categories of foods such as fatty foods or legumes such as beans and lentils.
There are a number of reasons why we may become deficient in enzymes and these can range from genetic factors, nutrient deficiencies, gut infections or inflammation, undiagnosed coeliac disease, physical, emotional or psychological stress, smoking, pregnancy and ageing.
The good news is there is much that can be done to restore our digestive function and enzyme production. Some foods (such as pineapple, papaya, ginger, sauerkraut and kefir) are high in enzymes which can be beneficial. We can also take digestive enzyme supplements which can be enormously helpful enabling us to breakdown and absorb key nutrients facilitating healing to occur.
In order to establish which digestive enzymes might be useful to support your digestive it can be valuable to keep a food diary to see which foods / types of foods cause symptoms for you. If you find that meals which are high in fat are an issue for you then you may find it helpful to supplement lipase enzymes which contain substances to help you break down fats. Similarly if legumes cause digestive discomfort then try taking a supplement containing Alpha Galactosidase which is needed to break these down.
Spacing out meals more, chewing well and working towards becoming more relaxed can also help us to digest better. Please be aware that enzymes may not be suitable for those with gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease or ulcers so please ensure that you obtain advice from your GP/ Nutritionist before you start supplementing with enzymes.