So if you have enough stomach acid the bulk of your protein will be digested in the stomach. When the contents of your stomach are acidic enough (re: VERY acidic) the door at the bottom (the pyloric sphincter) will open and the contents will move into the small intestine - this is where the majority of your carbs and fats are digested.
IF the contents are at the right acidity (again, VERY acidic) this will trigger two hormones:
- Secretin - triggers your pancreas to release enzymes that further break down the protein, carbs and fats
- Cholecystokinin (CCK) - triggers the gallbladder to release bile that breaks down the fats even more
Once again, for the people in the cheap seats: If the contents of your stomach aren't acid enough, the enzymes won't get released, your food wont get broken down, and the nutrients won't be absorbed.
But if your acid is all good, you could run into trouble producing enough digestive enzymes. This is common among people with blood sugar disregulation (how do you know if you have that? Well, if you feel like you're going to rip someone's head off if you have to go with out a meal you could have blood sugar issues.) This is because your pancreas is in charge of controlling your blood sugar and producing digestive enzymes, so if it's exhausted from trying to even out your blood sugar it's going to have trouble producing those enzymes.
SIGNS YOU'RE NOT PRODUCING ENZYMES:
- Gas - undigested carbohydrates ferment both in the stomach and small intestine
SIGNS YOUR NOT PRODUCING BILE:
Floating poop - your not digesting and absorbing fats
If you've done the HCL challenge and you're stomach acid levels are normal, try supplementing with digestive enzymes at the end of your meals until your symptoms resolve. I like Intenzyme Forte by Biotics I find animal enzymes work better than vegetable and it contains the full spectrum of pancreatic enzymes. If you're a vegetarian try Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System.
Now check out part IV to make sure you're reaping the benefit of all those good fats...
Do you know anyone who might suffer with some digestive discomfort? Share this with them?
What about you? Ever experimented with digestive enzymes? How did it go? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below!