Sharing is caring!

In the realm of holistic nutrition, the importance of digestive health cannot be overstated. The gut is often referred to as the body’s “second brain,” and its proper functioning is crucial for overall health and well-being.

One of the key components in maintaining optimal digestive health is ensuring that the body has an adequate supply of digestive enzymes.

After undergoing chemotherapy, Sarah struggled with constant digestive discomfort and malnutrition, impeding her recovery. When we recommended digestive enzyme supplements, it helped her body tremendously to break down and absorb nutrients more effectively.

Within weeks, Sarah’s energy levels improved, and she felt stronger, allowing her to fully engage in her healing journey.

These enzymes play a critical role in breaking down food, allowing the body to absorb essential nutrients effectively. In this article, we will explore why supplementing digestive enzymes is vital, focusing on enhancing gut health and supporting the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.

Understanding Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are proteins that catalyze the breakdown of food into smaller, absorbable components. Various digestive system organs produce them, including the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. The primary types of digestive enzymes include:


  • Amylase: Breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars.
  • Protease: Breaks down proteins into amino acids.
  • Lipase: Breaks down fats into fatty acids and glycerol.
  • Lactase: Breaks down lactose, the sugar found in dairy products.
  • Maltase: Breaks down maltose into glucose.


These enzymes are essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Without them, the body would struggle to extract the necessary nutrients from the food we consume, leading to various health issues, including the progression and development of cancer.


The Role of Digestive Enzymes in Gut Health

The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota. This complex ecosystem is crucial to digestion, immune function, and overall health. Digestive enzymes facilitate the breakdown of food, ensuring that nutrients are readily available for absorption.

When the body lacks sufficient digestive enzymes, undigested food particles can remain in the gut, leading to a range of problems, including:


  • Gut Dysbiosis: An imbalance in the gut microbiota, which can lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).


  • Leaky Gut Syndrome: A condition where the intestinal lining becomes permeable, allowing toxins and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and immune responses.


  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Inadequate digestion and absorption of nutrients can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, affecting overall health and well-being.


The Holistic Perspective on Digestive Health

Holistic nutritionists take a comprehensive approach to health, considering the interconnectedness of the body’s systems and the impact of lifestyle, diet, and environment on overall well-being. From this perspective, maintaining optimal gut health is paramount.

Here are some reasons why supplementing digestive enzymes is crucial for supporting gut health and overall wellness:


Enhancing Nutrient Absorption

One of the primary reasons for supplementing enzymes is to enhance nutrient absorption. In a holistic view, food is more than just fuel; it is medicine that nourishes the body, mind, and spirit.

When the body cannot effectively break down food, it cannot absorb the nutrients needed to support its various bodily functions. Supplementing with digestive enzymes ensures that the body can extract and utilize essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids from the diet.


Reducing Digestive Discomfort

Many people suffer from digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. These symptoms can be indicative of insufficient digestive enzyme activity. By supplementing with enzymes, you can alleviate these discomforts and improve your quality of life.

This is particularly important in a holistic approach, where the goal is to achieve balance and harmony within the body.


Supporting Detoxification

The liver is the body’s primary detoxification organ, and it relies on a steady supply of nutrients to function optimally. Poor digestion can impede the liver’s ability to detoxify harmful substances, leading to a buildup of toxins in the body.

Enzyme supplementation can support liver function by ensuring that nutrients are adequately absorbed and available for the detoxification processes.

Addressing Age-Related Declines in Enzyme Production

As we age, the production of digestive enzymes naturally declines. This can lead to a range of digestive issues and nutrient deficiencies. Supplementing with enzymes can help counteract these age-related declines, ensuring that older adults maintain optimal digestive health and nutrient absorption.


Common Causes of Enzyme Deficiency

Understanding the factors that contribute to enzyme deficiency is essential for addressing the root causes and implementing effective interventions. Some common causes of enzyme deficiency include:


  • Poor Diet: Diets high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can deplete the body’s enzyme reserves and hinder enzyme production.


  • Chronic Stress: Stress can negatively impact digestive function and reduce the production of digestive enzymes. Stress can come from many things such as sleep debt, chemical stress like pesticides and herbicides, or emotional stress like going through a divorce or raising children.


  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as pancreatitis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease can impair the production and activity of digestive enzymes.


  • Medications: Certain medications, including antacids and proton pump inhibitors, can interfere with enzyme activity and production.


The Benefits of Enzyme Supplementation

Supplementing with digestive enzymes offers numerous benefits, particularly from a holistic nutritionist’s perspective. These benefits include:


  • Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption: Digestive enzyme supplements can significantly improve the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, ensuring that the body receives the essential components needed for optimal health. This is especially important for individuals with conditions that impair enzyme production, such as pancreatic insufficiency or celiac disease.


  • Enhanced Gut Health: By promoting efficient digestion and reducing the presence of undigested food particles in the gut, digestive enzyme supplements can help maintain a healthy balance of gut microbiota. This can prevent gut dysbiosis and support overall gut health.

  • Reduction of Inflammation: Undigested food particles can trigger inflammation in the gut, leading to conditions such as leaky gut syndrome. Digestive enzyme supplementation can reduce the presence of these particles, thereby decreasing inflammation and promoting gut integrity.

  • Support for Specific Dietary Needs: Individuals with specific dietary needs, such as those with lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, can benefit from targeted digestive enzyme supplements. For example, lactase supplements can help individuals digest lactose more effectively, reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance.


Choosing the Right Digestive Enzyme Supplement

When selecting a digestive enzyme supplement, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Enzyme Spectrum: Look for a supplement that contains a broad spectrum of enzymes, including amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, and others, to support the digestion of various types of food.


  • Quality and Purity: Choose high-quality supplements that are free from fillers, additives, and artificial ingredients. Look for products that have been tested for purity and potency.


  • Formulation: Some supplements are formulated for specific dietary needs, such as gluten or lactose intolerance. Choose a formulation that aligns with your specific requirements.


  • Dosage and Timing: Follow the recommended dosage and timing instructions for optimal effectiveness. It is often best to take digestive enzyme supplements with meals to support digestion.


Incorporating Digestive Enzyme Supplements into a Holistic Lifestyle

Incorporating digestive enzyme supplements into a holistic lifestyle involves more than just taking a pill. It requires a comprehensive approach to health that includes:

Mindful Eating

Practicing mindful eating can enhance the effectiveness of digestive enzyme supplements. This involves paying attention to the sensory experience of eating, chewing food thoroughly, and eating slowly to support the digestive process.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods provides the body with the nutrients needed for optimal enzyme production and activity. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can negatively impact digestion and enzyme production. Incorporate stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and regular physical activity to support digestive health.


Adequate hydration is essential for the production and function of digestive enzymes. Ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day to support optimal digestion.



From a holistic nutritionist’s perspective, supplementing digestive enzymes is a crucial component of maintaining optimal gut health and supporting the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.

Enzyme supplements can enhance nutrient absorption, reduce digestive discomfort, support detoxification, and address age-related declines in enzyme production.

By understanding the importance of enzymes and incorporating them into a comprehensive approach to health, you can achieve better digestive health and prevent or reverse many diseases, including cancer.

In summary, the holistic approach to health emphasizes the interconnectedness of the body’s systems and the importance of maintaining balance and harmony. Enzyme supplementation is a valuable tool in achieving this balance, ensuring that the body can effectively digest and absorb the nutrients needed for optimal health.

By addressing the root causes of enzyme deficiency and supporting digestive health through mindful eating, a balanced diet, stress management, daily movement, and adequate hydration, you can experience improved gut health and overall wellness.


Vanessa Harris, MNT
Oncology Nutrition


A diagnosis of cancer often comes with overwhelming shock, anxiety, and fear.
Even the most qualified and highly trained doctors may feel at a loss with what next steps to take.

Remember, you are not alone. You are in the right place, right now, to receive the support and guidance you need to thrive!

Get Your Free Guide

Woohoo!! Your guide is on it's way!