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By Carolyn Fetters

What are Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes?

There’s been a lot of talk about gut health and the importance of supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes lately. But what are probiotics and digestive enzymes exactly?

Digestive enzymes, are proteins that break food down into digestible nutrients that can be absorbed and used by the body. Whereas, probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when taken in adequate amounts. Probiotics actually aid digestive enzymes in their digestion of food and processing waste. Many people confuse these two powerhouse digestive aides, often believing they are the same.

Digestive Enzymes in Depth

Digestive enzymes work by breaking down molecules into smaller, more readily absorbed nutrients. They are found in the gastrointestinal tract including in saliva, stomach acid, pancreas, and the body’s intestinal secretions.

what are probiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that aid in digestion

Probiotics Compared to Digestive Enzymes

Probiotics are more heavily concentrated in the small and large intestines.  Digestive enzymes include proteases and peptides which break down proteins, and lipases which break down fats. Digestive enzymes can be extracted from foods and taken as supplements which may be useful for people with food intolerances. However some sources suggest that the body can become dependent on digestive enzymes and therefore long-term supplementation is not necessarily advised. Alternative natural remedies for longer term use include herbal supplements, or indeed probiotics.

Probiotics support digestive health by producing specific enzymes needed in the digestion of food and aiding the breakdown of foods substances. Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins & minerals into the bloodstream, and even produce B complex vitamins & vitamin K.

Are Probiotics the Same as Prebiotics?

Probiotics are related to prebiotics, but they are not the same. Prebiotics are fibers which stimulate the growth of probiotics. In summary, adding a digestive enzyme to your daily routine will support your body with more efficient digestion; which in most cases comes from animal protein consumption.  Adding a probiotic will also improve your digestion as well as better absorption of important vitamins and minerals.

Consider adding these valuable supplements into your daily regimen to support the breakdown of the foods you consume and improve the way you’re digesting it.  Your gut will thank you for the help!

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