Note: I am neither a dietitian nor a doctor. I do not dispense medical advice nor do I offer any information on treatments nor cures for any medical condition, I only discuss my own experience which might or might not apply to you. Always consult a physician before proceeding with any treatment. Our full disclaimer is at the bottom of this page.
The day I took my first dose of digestive enzymes at breakfast was the day my 24/7 diarrhea stopped and my nausea lessened for the first time in the afternoon and evening. The next day, after being diarrhea-free for 24 hours, I had my first solid bowel movement in months. It did not stop the morning nausea, but it greatly lessened the nausea for the rest of the day. They were truly the beginning of my recovery.
What are digestive enzymes? Simply put, they break down the food in your gut so your body can absorb the nutrition from it. When you have gut damage, your body often doesn’t make the enzymes necessary to digest your food. This further contributes to the vicious cycle of food intolerance, as the undigested particles are now more likely to cross the damaged barrier of your gut and cause problems. No where is this more apparent than with caseomorphin. Studies have shown it to be as behaviorally problematic, addictive, analgesic and disruptive to the system as morphine. A quick pub med search will turn up lots of articles and studies. Gluten behaves the same way in the body.
The website Enzyme Stuff has a lot of good educational materials. So much so, that I decided not to write a lot about enzymes and instead refer you to her very well-researched website instead. I recommend you start with reading their sections on food intolerances and leaky gut.
Some people use digestive enzymes to cover up their food reactions or to lessen them. I do not recommend this approach. Burdening the body with dealing with a reaction, even a lessened one, still creates a burden that slows your healing. You won’t put out a fire while you continue to pour gasoline on it, even if that gasoline is a top-quality food such as raw milk or soaked grains. Additionally, if you’re having an auto-immune reaction such as celiac disease, the enzymes will NOT stop that reaction and you will continue to suffer with little to no improvement in your symptoms. Go off of all of your allergens and use the digestive enzymes to speed the healing. We will cover finding and removing your allergens later this week.
When I was ill, Houston Enzymes were the recommended source of digestive enzymes. Their products are what I used and continue to use. They have some videos on their website to help you understand more and help you with picking which enzymes are right for you. Enzymedica is another brand available that I see many in the food intolerance community recommend, but I do not have personal experience with them. They have an educational area of their website where you can learn more about enzymes, but it requires registration.
Do note that if your reaction to gluten is auto-immune, digestive enzymes will NOT stop that reaction. You need to stay off of gluten until you know whether your reaction is auto-immune and your reaction has healed. I can not emphasize this point enough.
To get the enzymes into my kids, I mix them into a tiny amount of juice, smoothie, applesauce or other similarly fluid food and have them down that at the beginning of the meal, before they eat any other foods. They are tasteless and the texture isn’t noticed by my kids.
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