Bloating is one of the worse feelings. Whether you have a bloated stomach because you’ve eaten a large meal or because you suffer from a digestive issue, it can be uncomfortable and even painful at times.
When you’re feeling bloated, there are lots of things you can do to relieve discomfort until your stomach and colon reduce back to their usual sizes. These things include taking digestive enzymes, natural remedies, or medications to soothe tummy aches and provide gas relief.
Before we get into whether digestive enzymes are the best option for gas relief or whether you’re better off using a natural remedy for bloating, let’s cover why you’re bloated in the first place.
What Causes Bloating?
A bloated stomach is the feeling of tightness and pressure in your abdomen, usually accompanied by distention (swelling) in the area. Bloating is a common issue and it affects around 50% of healthy people.
Bloating usually decreases after a few hours. However, if it’s a recurring problem, it might indicate that you have a digestive issue and you should always seek medical help if this is the case.
Here are the most common reasons for bloating.
- Eating a large volume of food in a short space of time
- Excess gas production
- Digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Food intolerances or food insensitivities
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
- Enteritis (inflammation of the small intestines)
- Hormonal fluctuations, particularly around the time of menstruation in women
- Pancreatic insufficiency, leading to a reduction in pancreatic digestive enzymes
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are proteins that are made naturally in your body.
They are produced by your salivary glands and exocrine organs (mouth, stomach, small intestines, and pancreas) to help break down the food you ingest into smaller molecules. This is necessary so that the small particles of food can be absorbed more easily through your intestinal wall.
Digestive enzymes are split into four categories based on the specific kind of molecules that they target.
- Amylases break down carbohydrates into simple sugars, such as glucose.
- Lipases split fats into fatty acids and glycerol.
- Proteases and peptidases break proteins down into their constituent amino acids.
- Nucleases split nucleus acids into their constituent nucleotides.
Here are some of the digestive enzymes that are produced by your digestive system upon ingestion of food.
- Amylase - this enzyme is produced in the salivary glands of the mouth and breaks down carbohydrates into disaccharides, such as maltose and sucrose
- Cholecystokinin - a hormone secreted in the small intestines that stimulates the production of more bile and pancreatic digestive enzymes
- Lactase - this digestive enzyme is responsible for metabolising lactose sugars
- Lipase - produced by the mouth, stomach, and pancreas, this enzyme breaks down fats
- Pepsin - produced by the stomach, pepsin metabolises proteins
- Trypsin - this digestive enzyme breaks proteins down and is produced by the pancreas
How Do Digestive Enzymes Work?
Although the body naturally produces digestive enzymes, there are some cases where you will benefit from taking digestive enzyme supplements. These supplements can contain one or a combination of multiple digestive enzymes to provide gas relief and reduce bloating.
There is a huge range of different digestive enzyme supplements on the market nowadays. Often, digestive enzymes are combined with probiotics for maximum effect, and they are hugely popular.
If you’re looking to stop bloating and you have a digestive disorder, digestive enzymes can be extremely beneficial. They provide your body with the digestive enzymes that it might be missing.
When your stomach, small intestines, or pancreas aren’t producing sufficient amounts of each digestive enzyme, your supplement can provide these enzymes for your body to promote healthy digestion. Most commonly, it’s your pancreas that causes digestive enzyme deficiencies in a condition known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).
When you have EPI, your digestion can be completely thrown off. Your body is unable to break down the food that you ingest at each meal and this can lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.
This is where supplementing with digestive enzymes can be crucial. They mimic your body’s natural enzymes and break down the food that you eat so that your body can absorb the necessary nutrients. This prevents malnourishment and relieves any digestive discomfort.
How Do You Take Digestive Enzymes?
You can buy digestive enzymes online or over-the-counter from various online health stores and pharmacies. Your doctor may also prescribe digestive enzymes for patients who suffer from a chronic health condition that affects digestive abilities, such as lactose intolerance or cystic fibrosis.
Prescription digestive enzymes often contain pancrelipase, which is a combination of amylase, lipase, and protease. They are combined in a small enteric-coated capsule that can be easily swallowed prior to food consumption. You can also buy bromelain, papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin separately or combined. Most people prefer combined digestive enzymes as each digestive enzyme specialises the breakdown of a particular food. If you don't know which enzyme you're deficient in or just have general stomach issues (hot people have stomach issues btw) then a mixed formula is best... like ours ;)
This capsule protects the digestive enzymes in the supplement to prevent it from being broken down by the stomach acid. The enzymes can then pass through to the small intestines where they promote the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, so that your body can absorb the nutrients.
Certain medications can disrupt the action of digestive enzymes, which may make them ineffective. Your doctor or nutritionist will be able to advise you about the best supplements to take based on your existing medications.
There are some potential side effects to taking digestive enzymes, including cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea. If you experience any of these adverse effects, you should stop taking the supplements and consult a medical professional.
Do Digestive Enzymes Help With Bloating?
In particular, if you have IBS and you get regular tummy aches, digestive enzymes are a great natural remedy for bloating.
Some of the main benefits that digestive enzymes can provide to someone with IBS include:
- Promotion of healthy digestion
- Decrease in bloating and gas after eating
- Enhancement of the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
- Increase in the absorption of small nutrients
- Improvements in gut health by feeding beneficial gut bacteria
- Reduced risk of constipation
The current research on how effective digestive enzymes is for IBS and other digestive health condition shows promising results. Some studies have shown that supplementing with pancreatic digestive lipases can provide gas relief and may stop bloating and digestive pain.
However, there is still further research that needs to be done. Since everybody’s digestive system is unique and each person experiences a unique range of symptoms, it’s difficult to determine the true effectiveness of digestive enzymes.
Some people will respond well to digestive enzyme supplements, while others may prefer another natural remedy for bloating - others may want both!
What Are Some Alternatives to Digestive Enzymes?
If you want to try some alternative remedies to reduce excess gas and bloating, there are lots of foods that may help with your digestion. Certain plant-based foods contain natural enzymes that can help your digestive system to break down the foods you eat.
Here are some great foods that have naturally occurring digestive enzymes.
- Bananas – contain amylases and glucosidases
- Pineapple – contains a group of proteolytic enzymes called bromelain
- Papaya – contains proteases called papain, chymopapain A and B, and papaya peptidase
- Mango – contains amylase
- Ginger – contains a protease enzyme called zingibain
- Honey – contains lots of different digestive enzymes
- Fermented foods – kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso contain a range of digestive enzymes, including amylase, protease, and lipase.
Are Digestive Enzymes Right for You?
If you’re experience bloating, tummy aches, or excess gas, you don’t need to suffer any longer! There are now lots of high-quality digestive enzymes that you can take to relieve your discomfort and pains.
For those of you who have been suffering from IBS, IBD, regular bloating or any other digestive health condition, digestive enzymes might be exactly what you need to reduce your symptoms.
Before you take any digestive enzymes, it’s important to consult your doctor or another healthcare professional to get their expert advice. Digestive enzymes aren’t suitable for everybody, and your doctor will be able to guide you in the right direction.
If you find that digestive enzymes don’t provide any gas relief, you may want to try another natural remedy for bloating, such as the foods above. Including these foods in your diet may help to relieve your symptoms and promote healthier digestion.
However, digestive enzymes ultimately help break food down, your body produces its own but it some cases it produces less than needed or none at all. In the case of people who are lactose intolerant, they lack the enzyme lactase. When they eat dairy they can't break the lactose down and it reaches the gut, which allows bacteria to feed on it and cause gas, inflammation and irritation.
So, we need digestive enzymes to break down our food and these supplements help do that more effectively - giving you less bloating!
Wild Dose - A Natural Remedy for Bloating
We have formulated a product designed to prevent and stop bloating quickly. Had a meal that was too big? Eaten a trigger food? Want to stop the chances of bloating before going out? We have your back.
Formulated with 6 digestive enzymes, 4 strains of probiotics and 7 plant and herb extracts, it stops bloating in its tracks and helps with gas relief.
So you can go out, live life, have fun and not be scared of the dreaded bloat creeping up on you!