While healthy foods provide the foundation of optimal health and vitality, even the healthiest foods are of little use if they are not properly digested. To utilize food, bodies need digestive enzymes. Enzymes break the food down into smaller pieces that can be absorbed and utilized. The process begins with the mouth, as enzymes like amylase join with saliva to break down food. The food then travels to the stomach, where pH changes and stomach acids continue the process. Protein breaks down to amino acids. Carbohydrates break down to simple sugars like glucose. Fat breaks down to glycerol and fatty acids. These smaller substances are then passed down to the small intestines, where most of the absorption of nutrients occurs. After nutrients are absorbed, waste material travels on to the large intestines to be eliminated.
But what happens to those nutrients after they are absorbed by the small intestines? Those nutrients travel through the blood stream to be used by all the tissues and cells of the body for all vital functions. If proper digestion doesn’t occur, the nutritional deficiencies can be felt throughout the entire body.
The impact of age on digestion
In youth, digestive enzymes break down ingested food into vital proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to provide optimal nutrition for the body. But with aging and illness, the body’s digestive functions deteriorate, leading to gas, bloating, partially digested food, nutritional deficiencies, and inflammation. Age also slows down normal digestion, inhibiting our ability to process nutrients for use throughout the body. When the body is unable to extract all the nutrients in our food, overall health may be at risk. Fortunately, advanced enzyme formulations make it possible to counter age-related declines in digestive enzyme activity. This can be a considerable boost to aging adults in guarding against malnutrition.
Lack of digestion can result in malnutrition
Whether due to age or physical weakness, the inability to digest and use the nutrients in food can result in malnutrition. When people are malnourished and deficient in crucial nutrients, their bodies are unable to energetically sustain the many processes needed for ongoing good health, such as immune processes, inflammation management, cell renewal, muscle growth and cognitive functions. To battle malnutrition, adults need a broad-spectrum of digestive enzymes, including proteases, amylases, cellulases, and lipases.
How pancreatin and the pancreas support digestive health
Effective digestion requires a number of various enzyme components. One of the most important is pancreatin, a mixture of several enzymes ordinarily released by the pancreas in response to the presence of food in the intestines.