Have you ever heard the term you are what you eat? Well this is only half true. How many times have you seen somebody who struggles to put on weight even when they eat as much as a family of four? A lot of times it does have to do with the person’s individual metabolism, but oftentimes it is a more serious cause of not absorbing nutrients properly. In reality we are not what we eat, but we are what we absorb.
Food absorption is critical for our health. Even for average people who are physically inactive, it is very important to be able to efficiently digest and absorb things like macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals, and zoochemicals. If you consider yourself a high level athlete, it is even more crucial to take into account how your digestion is.
Any athlete looking to maximize their energy for training needs to understand that the process of converting food into energy begins in the gut. As an athlete it is important to not only get the proper macronutrients for fuel but also the proper micronutrients in order to maximize recovery and keep your body healthy.
Not only is it crucial for performance, but absorption of nutrients is even more important for physique athletes. With most physique athletes, there are phases where calories are increased over maintenance in order to gain the maximum amount of muscle possible. During these periods, there is a higher than normal volume of food they are ingesting which can be a lot of work on their digestive system. Oftentimes you hear of people complaining about gas and bloating after meals, feeling like there is a rock in their stomach and even undigested food in their stool. This is quite common and a lot of times people just live with it and do nothing about it. If you are one to dismiss these symptoms, you can be jeopardizing your health and results.
Digestive enzymes help break down our food and turns it into nutrients in order to be absorbed by our body. Our body naturally creates these enzymes but sometimes they can be compromised by certain diseases in the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. Other factors that can negatively impact their production are also inflammation in the body, low stomach acid, and even chronic stress. When we are stressed, our body goes into a mode where it does not think that it needs to prioritize certain things. Our body does not know the difference between you being chased by a tiger or you being angry that somebody cut you off in traffic. All it knows is that you are stressed. When we constantly stress out about the things that life deals us, we can be causing a lot of damage to our health and digestion.
So, should you use digestive enzymes?
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned earlier in the article, yes.
Although managing stress properly and focusing on a healthy diet will help your production of digestive enzymes, it does not hurt to supplement your body with extra enzymes. These extra enzymes are going to give your body support to break down the foods that might have added stress on your digestive system. It is crucial to look for a product that has multiple enzymes made from a reputable company. These will include protease, lipase and amylase which between the 3 help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The best time to take a digestive enzyme product is with your largest meals in the day and each product will have different instructions on how much to take. It is also important to listen to your body and adjust the dose based off how you are feeling.
No matter who you are, it is important to optimize digestion and absorption through good nutrition. This will lead to better health, and much better results in the gym. Make sure to maximize all the healthy foods you are putting in your body so you can continue to maximize your health and your progress in the gym!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.