We’ve all enjoyed memorable meals. But for some people who have difficulties digesting food, the memory of what they’ve eaten lingers longer than it should. Even worse, when digestion is weak, which often happens when a person is under stress, the body can’t extract and absorb the valuable nutrients in food.
Here are three supplements which, when taken with meals, may help support healthy digestion.
Digestive Enzymes. These supplements contain a combination of enzymes which break down carbohydrates, protein and fats, and assist with digestion in the stomach and small intestine.
When you buy digestive enzymes, you’ll see on the label there are many ingredients that end with the suffix –ase. These include protease (which breaks down protein), lipase (which breaks down fats) and amylase, sucrase, cellulase and maltase (which break down carbohydrates).
Bromelain. Derived from the pineapple plant, bromelain is a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein. It also supports a healthy inflammatory response.
Betaine HCl. Betaine is a source of hydrochloric acid, or stomach acid. Betaine HCl supplements, which are taken at mealtimes, are typically used to increase levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Some formulas also contain pepsin, a digestive enzyme that assists with the digestion of protein. People with stomach ulcers, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) or frequent heart burn should not take Betaine HCl.
What’s your favorite way to enhance digestion? Share it with us in the comments below.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.