I’m a big fan of the humble digestive enzyme. How can you not love a product that makes your stomach feel better (with no side effects) when you make a food choice that turns out to be a problem? A good quality digestive enzyme will help you when you eat fats, proteins, processed foods, and gas-producers like legumes that have a lot of hard-to-digest insoluble fiber. That's my first reason to love them.
But enzymes help out with more than digestion! You might be surprised to learn what else they can do for you. Who would think that a digestive enzyme could work on a cold virus or provide pain relief? Read on to find out how...
Even though I hardly ever get sick, a few weeks ago, I got a bit of a cold – or possibly flu, so I started taking handfuls of enzymes. Like 10 or more per day. Does that sound crazy?
In case you’re wondering what digestive enzymes could possibly have to do with a cold, here’s my second reason to love them.
Colds and flu are started by viruses and virus cells have a protein coating. So if you take a lot of digestive enzymes, they break the protein coating on the virus cells in your body and the viruses die. (At least, that’s what happens to the ones in your digestive tract, which frees up your immune system to attack the rest of the little buggers.) Then you either get better faster, or you get less sick in the first place.
I learned this health tip from Udo Erasmus, PhD, who's an expert on digestive enzymes, probiotics, and healthy oils. Just remember, you have to take quite a few enzymes (I took about 5 two or three times a day) for the anti-virus effect. And it's probably best to take them between meals, not that you'll be eating much if you're sick.
The third thing I LOVE about digestive enzymes – and this is something I found out totally by accident – has to do with chronic pain relief...
A year ago, when I was out hiking, I fell and badly damaged my right shoulder and upper arm. It took a whole YEAR to get better. In fact, after eleven months I still had chronic pain – and I did everything I could think of, short of taking drugs, to get rid of it.
My doctor said it was tendonitis and told me to go for physiotherapy. The osteopath thought it was some kind of inflammation in the shoulder muscle. He made it worse. (No offense to osteopaths. I had great results from him with another injury.)
Anyway, I just kept trying different natural therapies and, over the eleven months, I went from barely being able to lift or turn my arm in front of me to being able to swing it up behind my back as high as my waist. But I still had almost constant pain and couldn’t use my arm and shoulder fully.
Finally, I got that cold I told you about. I took big doses of digestive enzymes over 5 days and at the end of the week, I’d basically beaten the cold into submission. And then I noticed a MIRACLE had also happened!
All the pain in my shoulder and upper arm was gone. Totally gone! After a whole year! Anybody who’s been in chronic pain knows that it’s like having a really irritating houseguest who just won’t leave. Then, when they finally go, it’s so relaxing to have your house all to yourself again, at last. Such a relief.
So what happened? Here’s what I think:
Digestive enzymes act as a natural anti-inflammatory. But only if you take them between meals. Otherwise they work on digesting your food. With the cold, I was hardly eating anything so, without knowing it, I was getting the full anti-inflammatory benefits. I would say these were fairly effective enzymes (understatement!)
Now I can put my arm behind my back and lift my hand up between my shoulder blades without any effort or pain. I was always able to do that before the injury, but not during the 11 months before the enzymes. Suddenly I got back full mobility in my shoulder. And no more chronic pain! (Yay!)
So these are the three reasons to LOVE digestive enzymes:
1) To help your digestion.
2) To fight colds and flu naturally. And last but not least...
3) To act as a natural anti-inflammatory for chronic pain relief.