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Proteolytic Enzymes: Benefits and Side Effects

One of the main functions of proteolytic enzymes is to hydrolyze proteins and aid digestion. Protein foods are broken down into simpler forms (amino acids) by proteolytic enzymes to facilitate absorption of nutrients. Read the following Buzzle article to know more about the benefits of these enzymes.
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Benefits and side effects of proteolytic enzymes
Did You Know?
People with stomach problems, such as gastritis, should not take proteolytic enzyme supplement as it can aggravate the discomfort.
Also referred to as proteases, proteolytic enzymes are produced by the pancreas and released during meals to aid digestion. Trypsinogen and chymotrypsinogen are the two main proteolytic enzymes secreted by the pancreas. These enzymes perform a wide range of functions from assisting in digestion to alleviating inflammatory response, to fighting pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The following Buzzle write-up explains how these enzymes play an important role in maintaining overall health.

Benefits

Assist in Digestion
Proteolytic enzymes play a key role in the digestion process. Our body depends on these enzymes to digest proteins. Their main function is to break down proteins into smaller components that can be easily absorbed by our body. The pancreas secrete these enzymes into the small intestine. Proteins that are not digested in the stomach, when they pass through the small intestine are broken down by proteolytic enzymes into amino acids for proper digestion.

Aid the Immune System
The enzymes play an important role in protecting the body from disease-causing pathogens. Bacteria and viruses that are destroyed leave behind by-products (debris), which are toxic and need to be eliminated. These enzymes promote breakdown of debris as well as facilitate their removal. Thus, adequate release of proteolytic enzymes is essential to eliminate this debris and purify the blood. Apart from cleaning the blood, these enzymes actually digest bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These pathogenic microbes are broken down by these enzymes into harmless components.

Maintain Acid-Alkaline Balance
Acid is generated during the digestion of proteins, which helps to even out alkaline levels in the body. However, lack of proteolytic enzymes can make it difficult to digest protein foods, in turn, causing a rise in alkaline levels. This excess alkalinity in the body can disturb the acid-base balance, which can lead to insomnia and anxiety.

Boost Energy Levels
Proteins when digested are converted into glucose, from which the body derives energy. However, when protein digestion takes a backseat due to inadequate proteolytic enzymes, it can eventually cause hypoglycemia, which may lead to low energy production.

Promote Healthy Bones
Calcium-binding proteins play a key role in facilitating absorption of calcium from the ingested food for strong bones. However, inadequate proteolytic enzymes can decrease the number of calcium binding proteins, which may hinder calcium absorption. This can raise the risk of bone-related problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Prevent Autoimmune Disorders
Undigested proteins circulating in the bloodstream can cause harmful reactions, which can lead to autoimmune disorders. Also, in the presence of these undigested protein components, red blood cells cling to each other and impede blood circulation, leading to wide range of health problems that may vary from headache to fatigue.

Promote Healthy Joints
Too much of undigested protein can also cause uric acid to accumulate in the blood. This may lead to formation of uric acid crystals, which may get deposited in the joints and cause gout (inflammation of the joints). So, for healthy joints, it is necessary to have adequate levels of proteases in the body.

Alleviate Inflammation
Proteolytic enzymes can help reduce inflammation associated with injuries such as strains, fractures, and bruises. It is observed that bradykinins (inflammatory chemicals) are released into the body, as a response to injury. Increase in bradykinin levels elevates the discomfort as well as delays the healing process. These enzymes restrict the secretion of bradykinins and other similar chemicals, which works to alleviate pain and speed up recovery.

Side Effects

When the pancreas is unable to secrete proteolytic enzymes in adequate amounts, then taking them in supplemental form may be recommended to assist with digestion. However, the supplement can cause a few side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Other unpleasant side effects that can occur are given below:

Loose Stools
Loose stools or diarrhea indicates the supplemental enzymes are assisting to clear the large intestine of debris. The enzymes promote break down of undigested proteins as well as facilitate removal of unwanted debris. This actually helps detoxify the body and may even ease digestion problems.

Stomach Irritation
People taking this supplement may experience stomach discomfort. The concentrated form of proteolytic enzymes can irritate the lining of the stomach. So, while these enzymes are doing their cleaning job, you may experience mild to moderate stomach aches.

Bloating
People taking these protease formulation may feel bloated, particularly when it is taken during meals. An easy way to minimize this feeling of a distended belly would be to have the supplement before meals.

People taking this supplement may occasionally notice symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Usually, these side effects last for a few days, until the body adjusts itself to the supplement. Also, people who are extremely sensitive to these supplements are more likely to experience these side effects. However, if any of these side effects aggravate and cause severe abdominal discomfort, one should immediately notify the doctor.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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Published: May 13, 2014
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