The Basics of Digestion & Digest-All
Guest Blog Post Written By: Cambria Glosz, MS, RD
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of talking about all things digestion — take a look at this article to read about my health journey with ulcerative colitis or this one to learn more about the benefits of prebiotics. In this article, we’re going to go back to basics and break down digestion in simple terms — what it is, how it works, and how we can improve the process with digestive enzymes.*
FYI: This post is not sponsored, but the product was gifted to me. As always, all opinions are my own!
The Basics of Digestion
Let’s take it from the beginning: the first sign of digestion actually starts in the mouth. Chewing provides a physical breakdown of foods, while an enzyme called salivary amylase begins to break down carbohydrates. (Picture placing a saltine cracker on your tongue and feeling it start to disintegrate — that is salivary amylase at work!)
Next, the semi-broken-down food heads down the esophagus into the stomach, where it mixes with acidic gastric juices that partially digest the food into a liquid-y pulp called chyme. From there, chyme moves into the small intestine, which is where the majority of digestion and absorption occur. Several digestive enzymes and hormones are secreted in the small intestine to help digest the chyme even further. The pancreas also secretes essential digestive enzymes and pancreatic juices, which empty into the small intestine and complete the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Two other organs that play a role in digestion are the liver and gallbladder. The liver makes bile, which helps digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins, while the gallbladder stores the bile until the small intestine needs it.
By the time it reaches the large intestine, almost all digestion and absorption have already taken place. The large intestine (also known as the colon) absorbs water from anything that is leftover and begins the process of eliminating fiber and waste products in the stool.
Now that we know the basics of digestion, let’s talk about how digestive enzymes can aid this process.
Digest-All: My New Favorite Digestive Enzyme
As I mentioned, the small intestine and pancreas secrete enzymes that facilitate various parts of the digestive process. However, some people (myself included) may not have fully functioning enzymatic activity. People with chronic digestive issues, or those who experience bloating or gas after meals might benefit from supplemental digestive enzyme support.*
While there are dozens of types of enzymes, the most important categories to know are proteases (to break down proteins), lipases (fats), and carbohydrases (starches and sugars).
The supplement Digest-All from MRM Nutrition is the best digestive enzyme that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried quite a few!). Not only does it contain 14 different plant-based enzymes that support digestion, but it also has the benefit of the enzymes being active in a wide pH range. This is important because while the stomach is extremely acidic, the small and large intestines are at a higher, more basic pH. An enzyme blend that can function in all of the different acidities is uniquely effective at facilitating digestion.*
Digest-All also contains peppermint extract (which makes it taste good!), ginger root extract, and Triphala, which are herbs that aid digestion and soothe the gastrointestinal tract.*
Digestion is a complicated process, and many people don’t have the right tools to do the job efficiently. The digestive enzyme Digest-All is a superstar supplement for helping to digest your meals – no more post-meal bloat! Just make sure to take it before your meal to ensure it can work its magic!*
Guest Blog Post Written By: Cambria Glosz, MS, RD of the Veggies Then Wine Blog
* These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.