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3/14/13 12:34 P

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Incredible post. All I ever ask for are resources so that I can make up my own mind and you have certainly done that. I have been taking probiotics for about 18 months and quite frankly, I don't see any change, plus or minus, at all. it is an expense that I feel that I can do without.

Suspicions confirmed.

"It is easier to raise good children than to fix bad men" by Fredrick Douglas.

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3/14/13 11:28 A

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Someone emailed me a couple of days ago asking my opinion of Digestive Enzyme Supplements and/or Probiotics to aid digestion. I thought the answer might be of interest to others so decided to share my reply with my teams. The information I’m providing is educational only, I’m a retired biology teacher, NOT a doctor. I’m not attempting to offer medical advice. Also, SparkPeople has an excellent Diet and Nutrition forum. This is a great place to ask questions related to nutrition, fitness and health and get answers from SparkPeople expert staff. Here’s the link:

First, it’s important to understand the difference in digestive enzymes and probiotics and how they function in the digestive process. Digestive enzymes are proteins produced by your body, the majority of enzymes are made in the pancreas and the small intestine. The material your body uses to MAKE these enzymes come from the food you eat.

Probiotics are living organisms found in your intestines, mainly bacteria. These are “good” bacteria that play an essential role in the breakdown of food in your intestines. Probiotics come DIRECTLY from the food you eat.

One of the reasons it's so confusing to read about adding DIGESTIVE ENZYMES to your diet is that a lot of the articles are written by companies trying to sell you their products so they really aren't giving you accurate information. I read several that said you needed to take Digestive Enzyme Supplements because heat destroys enzymes and so the enzymes in the food you eat are destroyed by cooking. The problem with that information is they don't tell you that it doesn't matter because your body doesn't get the enzymes directly from the food you eat. Your body uses the food you eat to MAKE enzymes for your body to use in the digestive process. The enzymes found in the food you eat were made by either the animal or plant you're eating for use in THEIR biochemical processes (like digestion). If you destroy those enzymes by cooking it doesn't matter because that isn't the part of the plant or animal your body extracts for your body to use. That's why it's important to have a varied diet, to make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs for all the processes it needs to perform. If, for some reason you feel you aren't able to get enough from what you are eating you need to talk to your doctor and get his or her opinion. Here are a few links on digestive Enzymes for you to check out. . The first article is written by someone with a PhD in Biochemistry and I think she explains it pretty well. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"While it's possible to take a limited number of digestive enzymes to enhance digestion -- though it's rarely, if ever, necessary -- most digestive enzymes don't work as supplements. That's because enzymes are proteins, and if they're not meant to operate in the stomach, the stomach simply digests them like any other nutritional protein."

Here's the link to the whole article:

“The Difference Between Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes”

Here's another excerpt, followed by the link to that article:

"Some studies suggest that taking digestive enzymes in the long term may not be beneficial as the body may stop producing its own and become dependent. Probiotics are safe in the long term, as the adult body does not produce its own and there is no risk of addiction or dependency when supplementing probiotic levels."

“What’s The Difference in Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes?”

"How to Improve Digestion With Supplements":

And, finally, WebMD, my favorite site for information on specific supplements:

WebMD Digestive Enzymes – Pancreatin (The only digestive enzyme supplement discussed on their site)

I hope these are helpful to you. I would suggest as much as possible you research how to get the things you need from the food you eat instead of taking supplements because it's easy to "overdose" on supplements and it can be just as dangerous as prescription drug overdose. Some supplements even interfere with the action of prescription drugs so you should tell your doctor if you start taking anything on a regular basis.
The most commonly known source for probiotics is yogurt but there are others. Here are a couple of links showing some common probiotic food sources, not all of them are dairy:

And, from WebMd on Probiotics – Lactobacillus (One of the most common forms found in food)

Finally, here are some general recommendations to better help with the digestion of food:

1) Chew your food well. This will help to break down your food so that your enzymes can do their job more effectively.

2) Eat your meals slowly. This will allow your food to proceed along your digestive tract in an orderly and continuous fashion.

3) Take time to relax after you eat so that your body will have the energy to start the digestive process.

4) Eat smaller more frequent meals during the day to help your digestion, and to promote better metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fat.

5) Do not eat a heavy meal within three hours of bedtime.

6) Drink plenty of water or herbal tea with and between your meals to promote better digestion and system regularity.

7) Eat plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables to maximize your enzyme intake.

Edited by: WHITNEYTEACHER at: 3/14/2013 (12:51)
My name is Carolyn
(Whitney is my last name, I'm a retired high school biology teacher = WHITNEYTEACHER)
Grants Pass, Oregon

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