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Digestive Enzymes and Diabetes

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By now, you know that diabetes is a serious health condition. Both Type I and Type II diabetes can escalate quickly and carry the risk of complications such as obesity and hypertension. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that over 30 million Americans live with diabetes. That’s nine percent of the American population.

There are several ways to manage diabetes, however, insulin and other diabetes medications add up. One thing all physicians and patients work together to create is a healthy lifestyle. Type I and Type II diabetes can often be effectively managed, whether the patient is also using medications like insulin, by making crucial lifestyle changes. Among those recommended lifestyle changes are a healthy diet and nutritional support. [2] Nutritional supplements can help to serve the ongoing challenges associated with treating and living with diabetes. Specifically, recent research is increasingly showing a great deal of promise regarding the use of digestive enzymes.

What are Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes aid the body with breaking down and absorbing food. As we age, we can lose the ability to produce digestive enzymes, which can lead to significant health conditions and complications. Also, some pre-existing conditions can limit the body’s ability to produce enzymes.

The three primary enzymes are protease, lipase, and amylase. Protease helps the body break down proteins and is found in stomach juices, pancreas, and intestines. Lipase helps the body break down fats and is also found in the stomach juices and pancreas. Amylase helps the body digest sugars and carbohydrates and is found in the saliva, as well as pancreatic and stomach juices. There are also many other types of enzymes that help the body digest and metabolize food, as well as access nutrients.

In response to the difficulties many people have with proper digestion, often without even realizing the cause, digestive enzyme supplements are designed to boost your digestive function and efficiency. In short, digestive enzyme supplements are designed to mimic and boost the effects of healthy digestion. 

Other benefits of digestive enzymes that can also benefit those who are managing diabetes are a boost to the immune system, a decrease in inflammation, better nutrient distribution throughout the body, lightened workload on the pancreas, and improved elimination of waste.

How can digestive enzymes help diabetes?

Those with diabetes can experience difficulty breaking down and absorbing nutrients. This makes sense because enzymes are primarily produced in the pancreas. The pancreas is also responsible for producing the hormone, insulin, which plays a major role in regulating blood glucose levels.

To clarify, and in simplest terms, Type I diabetes develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin. Type II diabetes occurs when the body can’t use its insulin. Since both insulin and digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas, it can be common to see digestive dysfunction in patients with diabetes.

Some studies are revealing that probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes may help to improve lipid profiles, glucose metabolism, and insulin resistance. This is the case for patients with diabetes as well as those with pre-diabetes and glucose resistance. 

The results suggest that pre-diabetic patients who begin taking probiotics and digestive enzymes may be able to offset some of the common challenges associated with diabetes, lessening the overall impact on their health. In fact, even a moderate improvement of the common symptoms that are associated with either pre-diabetes or diabetes can reduce the advancement of the disease over time.

Of course, it’s important to always check with your physician when considering supplements. Your doctor should always be fully informed of any supplements in case of interactions with other medications or treatment plans.

What about digestive enzymes and complications from diabetes?

Diabetes comes with several predictable complications, which can be improved by digestive enzymes. One of the most common complications that are helped by enzymes is poor circulation.

Gastroparesis, a condition that prevents proper stomach emptying because of damage to stomach muscle nerves, is also a complication of diabetes that can show improvement with the use of digestive enzyme supplements. Gastroparesis shows up as heartburn, bloating, nausea, and constipation or diarrhea.

Kidney complications need to be managed and monitored closely. Digestive enzymes, particularly protease, have been documented as helping to prevent these kidney complications.

Finally, nerve damage is a well-known complication of diabetes, one which has been eased by enzyme supplementation. 

Digestive enzyme supplements can be an unexpected game-changer for many patients.

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