I've heard that digestive enzymes are often destroyed by stomach acid (and therefore a capsule is needed to protect the enzymes from the stomach acid), but there's nothing protecting raw food, and yet it is often praised for the digestive enzymes they contain.
So two questions:
- If stomach acid destroys digestive enzymes (that are not protected), is it actually beneficial to eat raw foods for its digestive enzymes?
- Is it necessary for digestive enzyme supplements to be in capsules?
asked byBen_16 (734)
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on June 12, 2012
at 11:19 AM
It's a bit more complicated than you think. 1) What specific enzyme are you thinking that you need? There's multiple ones out there, with affects in various spots in the digestive tract. 2) Where do you want it to work? In the stomach? In the small intestine, etc?
on October 02, 2013
at 08:13 AM
The answer is no, plant enzymes are not destroyed by the highly acidic environment of the stomach. Although most nutritionists claim that enzymes in food are destroyed in the stomach, they overlook two important facts.
First of all, when you eat food, acid secretion is minimal for at least thirty minutes. As the food goes down the esophagus, it drops into the top portion of the stomach. This is called the cardiac section, aka “cardia” since it’s closer to the heart.
The rest of the stomach remains flat and closed while the cardiac section opens up to accommodate the food. During this time the food sits in the upper section, and acid or enzymes are secreted by the body. The enzymes in the food itself go about digesting the food. The more of this self-digestion that occurs, the less work the body has to do later.
When this 30 to 45 minute period is over, the bottom section of the stomach opens up and the body starts secreting acid and enzymes. Even at this point, the food enzymes are not inactivated until the acid level becomes prohibitive. Food enzymes can tolerate chemical environments many times more acid than neutral.
Plant enzymes are not destroyed by the highly acidic environment of the stomach. They simply become dormant until reaching the higher pH levels in the small intestine, where they again become active and continue the digestive process. Once their digestive function in the gastrointestinal tract is completed, a large number of enzymes are absorbed through the gut wall into the bloodstream.
on June 12, 2012
at 11:38 AM
Its sorta contraversial whether many enzymes from raw foods make it through the stomach.
Part of why capsules work is because theres so many of the enzymes, not really that they are in caps... Then again, some enzymes work straight away in the stomach, such as those processing fat and protein, so if we are talking about meat, even a small amount in raw meat might make a difference.
What id guess is that the enzymes in protein and fat foods, may make a difference, but enzymes that are supposed to work further through the digestive system, unless they occur in large amounts such as in a supplement, probably don't.
Which may work in favour of raw primal, and definately works against raw vegan. But hey, we cant even digest cellulose well anyway, thats probably alot of why we cook in the first place - and its definately why we cant eat leaves off trees and grass like cows and such can, because of our shrunken sad little appendix.
on June 12, 2012
at 11:25 AM
It is simply unlikely that in order for our bodies to utilize necessary nutrients that those nutrients must be delivered in capsule form. That would be an incredible design flaw.
While stomach acid destroys some enzymes, others pass through and populate the intestines.