Bromelain and Papain: Unbeatable Digestive Enzymes
Central and South American Natives have been using pineapple for centuries to treat indigestion and reduce inflammation.
Bromelain is a protease enzyme found in the juice and stem of pineapple. It is similar to Pepsin, which is naturally-occurring in the gut and essential for the digestion and breaking down of proteins.
Enzymes are protein molecules found in all living cells. They act as catalysers, increasing the rate of biochemical reactions in the human body.
Our body naturally produces digestive and metabolic enzymes. They are instrumental for overall functioning and energy production, as well as for digestion.
Natural digestive enzymes are secreted in the digestive tract to break down and transform food into nutrients and waste but:
'Since much of the modern-day diet consists of food cooked or processed in some way, and since the raw foods we eat contain only enough enzymes to process that particular food, our bodies must produce the majority of the digestive enzymes we require, unless using supplemental enzymes to aid in the digestive process'
This constant biological need for enzymes depletes our natural reserves and lowers our enzyme stock. Age is also a factor in enzymes production decrease.
Bromelain is a natural digestive aid, effectively used for bloating, gas as well as digestive conditions like IBS.
Papain is another protease enzyme derived from the latex of papaya. It is known as "Vegetable Pepsin" because it contains similar proteolytic enzymes to pepsin. Papain is extracted from the tropical fruit of the papaya tree, referred to as 'The Tree of Good Health'.
Papain stimulates the digestion of fats and proteins, and is useful to improve overall food absorption. According to Ayurvedic medicine, Papain is digestive, carminative (anti-bloating), diuretic and cures inflammation. Papaya supplements are said to help soothe heartburn, bloating, and promote digestion.
Pepsin, Bromelain and Papain are all proteolytic enzymes. Pepsin is naturally produced by the intestines while bromelain and papain are food enzymes found in pineapple and papaya, respectively. They restore and enhance digestion, relieving bloating, gas and constipation.
They help the body breakdown and digest protein, and have anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease swelling and inflammation in the colon. This makes bromelain and papain preparations especially useful for people with Crohn's or coeliac disease and ulcers.
Both Bromelain and Papain are generally regarded as safe and are well tolerated. Consult your physician before using them and avoid them if you are allergic to pineapple or papaya. Equally avoid Bromelain and Papain if you are taking blood thinners or if you are pregnant.
*Source : 'What are Enzymes' by Enzymedica, the Enzymes Experts.
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