IBS Supplements: Will Digestive Enzymes Help With Gas and Bloating?

6 minute read

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive problem. Most of the problem in treating this condition lies in the fact that IBS consists of numerous possible combinations of unpleasant symptoms.

As gas and bloating are two of the most common and uncomfortable symptoms of IBS, it is a great help to have various digestive enzyme products to alleviate them. But do they really work? And how? Here is what you need to know.

Understanding IBS

IBS affects your large intestine, but the symptoms can cause discomfort all over. These include abdominal cramping, excessive gas and bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

If any combination of these symptoms occurs together frequently, you could have IBS and should check in with your doctor. Without proper care and attention, IBS can cause more serious issues such as ulcerative colitis and colorectal cancer. These symptoms can be triggered or worsened by hormonal imbalance, stress, and poor diet.

There are certain factors that have been identified as increasing your risk for IBS. Abnormalities in your nervous system can cause miscommunication between your gut and your brain, which results in changes to the digestive process.

If your intestinal wall is overly sensitive to changes, such as stretching from bloating, the nervous system sends distress signals. Your body then learns to overreact to otherwise normal digestive processes, causing more frequent discomfort.

In addition to this, inflammation from an overactive immune system or as a result of a recent infection can trigger IBS. Inflammation can alter your gut bacterial balance as can the presence of harmful bacteria from an infection.

In either case, your gut becomes overloaded with bad bacteria which only invites more inflammation and IBS symptoms.

How Digestive Enzymes Can Help

Most people know that probiotics can help to keep your intestinal flora in balance. However, digestive enzymes work alongside probiotics and are an essential part of the digestive equation too.

Digestive enzymes are complex proteins that your body makes to help break down food into smaller particles. Without them, the body could not efficiently absorb the nutrients you need to survive.

Your pancreas is responsible for making most of the digestive enzymes in your body, but your mouth, stomach, and small intestine make some too.

Digestive enzymes are typically responsible for the breakdown of a specific food target, and each contributes to the digestive process. There are enzymes that are required for the breakdown and absorption of sugars, starches, proteins and fats.

As you get older, digestive enzyme production (along with many other functions in your body) begins to slow. For this reason, digestive enzyme supplements are available and can help maintain optimal digestion. Because many of the symptoms of IBS are caused by poor digestion and nutrient absorption, digestive enzyme supplements may be able to help with IBS too.

Digestive enzymes can also be naturally found in many foods.

Pineapple contains bromelain, which is a powerful group of enzymes that digest proteins. Papaya contains papain, which is another protein-digesting enzyme and is also known to soothe common IBS symptoms, like bloating and constipation.

Honey contains an assortment of enzymes that work to digest starches, proteins, and sugars. Be sure to use natural honey because processed honey is heated which kills off the beneficial enzymes.

Avocados contain lipase which breaks down fats into fatty acids which are easier for your body to absorb. High fat meals can trigger IBS symptoms, and avocados may be a way to ease digestion of the fats to prevent discomfort.

The Dynamic Duo: Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

When searching for digestive enzyme supplements, you will likely notice that they are sold in conjunction with probiotics. The reason being is that both are instrumental in promoting optimal gut health.

Overuse of medications, stress, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use are all causes for enzyme and probiotic depletion. Both need to be replaced in order to prevent digestive issues like IBS.

Digestive enzymes play a supporting role in maintaining a healthy gut environment for beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are responsible for keeping a healthy gut balance, which prevents inflammation from developing and damaging your intestines.

| Related: Lipase Enzyme Is a Vital Warrior for Those Battling IBS |

Inflammation will be the main reason behind the majority of IBS symptoms. Digestive enzymes help ensure efficient breakdown of food allowing for optimal nutrient absorption while your gut heals.

Probiotics and digestive enzymes work together to promote healthy digestion and depletion of one can interfere with the functions of the other. With a healthy and balanced gut and maintained digestive enzyme levels, you can experience relief from common IBS issues.

The Bottom Line

IBS is common and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to dictate your life. You can reduce your symptoms and prevent future occurrences by adding digestive enzymes to your diet.

Your body produces these naturally, but this slows as you get older. Give your digestive health the enzymatic support it needs so you can get the nutrient absorption you need. When you take care of your gut, it will most certainly take care of you.

READ NEXT >>> Why Digestive Enzymes Should Be Plant-Based