Low Enzyme levels May Be Why You’re Feeling Sick!
Dr. Oz invited Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a Gastroenterologist, onto the show to discuss low enzyme levels, and how they affect the body. They created a self-check test, which helps determine if you may have a problem with low enzyme levels.
There are three different categories of symptoms: digestive, physical, and mind/mood. There are twelve common symptoms within these categories, and having three or more could mean that you have a problem with low enzymes. Six or more of these symptoms is a concern, and you may wish to consider boosting your enzyme levels. The full Dr. Oz’s self-check test is available here, but the symptoms can be broken down as follows:
These symptoms are the most common, and so it is not unusual to have several of them. Symptoms include, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and floating stool (undigested fats cause the stool to float). When food is not being properly digested in the GI tract, it gets excreted and is present in the stool. Undigested food also gets fermented in the colon, and this is what creates gas and causes bloating.
Symptoms include: hair loss or thinning, dull skin, weak nails, and rashes. Though bloating is the most common symptom of low enzymes, hair loss is the second most common complaint amongst Dr. Chutkan’s patients. The loss of your hair, or thickness of your hair, is directly linked to your guts ability to process protein. If protein isn’t being broken down properly, the tissues that regenerate quickly, like skin, nails, and hair, are going to be affected — they essentially cannot keep up.
Mind or Mood Symptoms
Symptoms include: mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. When the digestive system is working well, and the gut is feeling good and having healthy bowel movements, the rest of the body is feeling good as well. If the gut is struggling, then the body will also struggle and be unwell. If nutrients are being absorbed, then cells are being properly nourished, and the immune system works well. Many people do not make the connection between low enzymes and weakened immunity, and just assume that they are not recovering quickly from colds due to aging. Mood swings can also come from the body not processing carbs correctly, leading to blood sugar levels being unstable.
Options For Boosting Enzymes
Eating raw or fermented foods (likesauerkraut or pickled carrots) can boost the production of the good bacteria that helps digestive enzymes. These foods also have their own enzymes, which means that your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to digest them properly. Nuts have an enzyme that helps to digest fats, but make sure you eat them raw and not roasted, as any food that is heated to over 118 degrees will not be of help. Raw papaya contains enzymes that break down protein, and sprouts are also a good option.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available, but you should be careful to check the contents of these before buying. Because these supplements are not regulated by the FDA, they do not have to be checked for safety or their effectiveness. Make sure that you are choosing a supplement that contains lipase, protease, and amylase. Avoid supplements with fillers like wheat, corn, soy, propylene, or glycol. Enzymes should always be from raw, natural sources and not chemically synthesized.
The New Green Drink Recipe
Dr. Oz changed his recipe of green drink to include pineapple. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down proteins. Pineapple juice is so effective doing this, that it can even be used as a meat tenderizer.
To make the new version of his drink, juice the following: 1/4 head celery, 3 carrots, 2 cups spinach, 1/4 orange, 1/2 cucumber, 1/4 lemon, 1/2 bunch parsley, 1/4 lime, 1/4 pineapple, and 1 bunch mint.