Many organs work together to make up your digestive system. These organs take the food and liquids you eat and break them down into simpler forms, such as proteins, carbs, fats and vitamins. The nutrients are then transported across the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where they provide energy for growth and repair.
Digestive enzymes are necessary for this process, as they break down molecules like fats, proteins and carbs into even smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed.
There are three main types of digestive enzymes:
- Proteases: Break down protein into small peptides and amino acids
- Lipases: Break down fat into three fatty acids plus a glycerol molecule
- Amylases: Break down carbs like starch into simple sugars
Enzymes are also made in the small intestine, including lactase, maltase and sucrase. If the body is unable to make enough digestive enzymes, food molecules cannot be digested properly. This can lead to digestive disorders like lactose intolerance. Thus, eating foods that are high in natural digestive enzymes can help improve digestion.