Do you Produce Enough Pancreatic Enzymes?

Do you Produce Enough Pancreatic Enzymes?

Now that the Holidays are behind us I am back to talking about Digestion. The emotional, mental stress of the last year plus more sitting from home, and an increase in carbs to sooth the soul has caused a rise in digestive complaints.

This week I wanted to talk about the Pancreas and its involvement.

If you experience bloating and poor digestion, you may need to take a look at whether you’re producing enough pancreatic enzymes.

Want to know what to do? Then skip the education bit then scroll to the end for my top suggestions on how to support your Pancreas 😀

This is an important step in addressing digestive dysfunction in an organized “north-to-south” sequence. If any single step along the way is out of balance, the entire system will be less efficient and any — or all — of the steps below it are more likely to malfunction.

The pancreas: A small but busy organ

  • It is about the size of your hand and it is a multi-purpose digestive organ that secretes about 8 ounces of juices a day into the small intestine.
  • These juices contain bicarbonate to neutralize the acidity of the contents coming from the stomach, as well as enzymes and hormones critical to digestive function.
  • Pancreatic enzymes. The pancreas creates enzymes to break down sugars, fats, proteins, and starches. These enzymes enter at the upper part of the small intestine to help break down foods so they can be absorbed by the body for energy and nutrients.

Pancreatic enzymes:

Amylase: helps break down starches into sugar for energy. Low amylase can lead to diarrhea.

Lipase and bile: ( Bile from the Gall Bladder) work together to emulsify and break down fats. If you are low on lipase, you will have trouble absorbing fat or vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Symptoms include fatty stools, diarrhea and  low on Vita D  on a lab test even when you are talking it in a supplement form.

Protease: breaks down food proteins and helps protect against unhealthy bacteria and yeasts in the intestines.

Pancreatic hormones.

Unlike pancreatic enzymes that are released directly into the digestive system, pancreatic hormones are released into your bloodstream to communicate with the brain and help regulate the digestive system.

Amylin and gastrin: are primarily made in the stomach, but are also made in the pancreas. These hormones stimulate your stomach to make acid. Amylin helps to control stomach emptying and appetite.

Glucagon: helps raise low blood sugar levels by messaging the liver to release stored glucose.
Insulin: helps your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise too high and increase your risk for diabetes.

Low Pancreatic Enzymes

Having sufficient pancreatic enzymes is extremely important in preventing food sensitivities. The more thoroughly the gut breaks down foods into small amino acids, the less likely your immune system is to react to them. Large undigested food proteins are recognized as dangerous invaders by the gut’s immune system, which can lead to systemic inflammation and food reactivity.

Symptoms of poor pancreatic enzyme production

Feel like you have a brick in your stomach after eating
Acid reflux or burning
Bloating and poor digestion in response to eating starches
Tend to avoid foods high in fiber or lots of plant fiber, such as big salads
Pain in lower left rib cage

Three main causes for low pancreatic enzymes

Low stomach acid.

When food enters the stomach, the stomach releases hydrochloric acid (HCL). This triggers the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes and hormones.

Low stomach acid inhibits this process by not sufficiently signaling the pancreas. This is why I  consider Low HCL  as factor before moving straight to supplemental pancreatic enzymes.  I will typically start with Zypan as it contains both HCL and Pepsin to aid in the digestion and raise PH which also kills off unwanted bugs.

 H. pylori infection

H. pylori is a bacterium that burrows into the lining of blood vessels, causing damage and inflammation. This common invader is linked with more serious health disorders such as stomach cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as also increased risk of autoimmune disease.

If you have symptoms of bloating and swelling, especially after protein meals, it’s critical to screen for H. pylori and to treat it. To support and sooth the stomach lining I suggest Okra Pepsin E3, or Gastrex

Pre Diabetes: Diabetes:

Pumping out insulin to lower high blood sugar levels eventually exhausts the pancreas. This leads to low pancreatic enzymes and hormones.

Other factors that deplete pancreatic enzymes include aging, chronic stress, poor diet, certain medications, gut inflammation and compromised brain function.

To support Enzyme function I like Enzycore and Multizyme:

For Sugar handling issues then Diaplex is my go to formula.  It has it contains pancreatic support, kidney support, gall bladder support and Zypan.  It’s a Big Bang for the Buck.

I hope this information was helpful? BTW you can order these whole food suggestions on my site.

Have a Healthy, Calm and Joyful week

Dr Pia