Do you ever get an uncomfortable, bloated or sluggish feeling right after you finish eating? Are you wondering how to stop stomach pain and bloating for good? If so, you may have a frustrating but solvable problem – digestive enzyme deficiency.
More often than not, people try to combat bloating and discomfort with antacids, herbal teas or laxatives, however, these are Band-Aid approaches and they do not address the root cause or prevent the bloating and discomfort from happening again.
Enzymes: The Unsung Hero of Your Digestive System
Did you know?… Scientists have identified over 3,000 enzymes inside the human body. To put this into perspective, your favorite meal would take forever to digest (instead of a few hours) if you didn’t have those tiny protein molecules called “enzymes.”
In fact, without having enzymes to speed up chemical reactions, they would still occur, just not fast enough to support life. One study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill even suggests that without enzymes, biological reactions essential to life would take up to 2.3 billion years.
While stomach acid is crucial for the initiation of digestion, it is the enzymes that actually break down our food. Generally, there are three major types of enzymes that help catalyze your body’s chemical reactions.[3,4]
- Metabolic enzymes which transform proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to make them useful for your blood, tissues, and organs.
- Digestive enzymes which enable the digestion of food as well as the absorption and delivery of nutrients elsewhere in the body.
- Food enzymes which aid your digestive enzymes and are the only type produced externally by raw fruits and vegetables.
For relieving indigestion and bloating after meals, the two types of enzymes to consider are digestive and food enzymes.
4 Major Causes of Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency
While many people have digestive enzymes deficiencies for specific food groups, such as lactose interlace, gluten intolerance, and fructose intolerance, there is also a more general type of digestive enzyme insufficiency that is far more common and results in bouts of indigestion and bloating.
Below are the 4 major culprits that can lead to digestive enzyme insufficiency:
- Over-processed, packaged and/or overcooked food
- Low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods which are a good source of enzymes
- Overeating or having irregular eating patterns i.e. skipping lunch, then eating a very large meal for dinner
- Poor food combinations (e.g., eating high protein (meat) and high carb (potatoes) which are not only harder to digest together, but confuse your body in terms of which digestive juices and enzymes it should be releasing)
If you are enzyme deficient, two things will begin happening to your body: 1) it will get extremely overworked trying to produce the enzymes needed for effective and efficient digestion; 2) your body will reach a point of such exhaustion that it simply won’t be able to produce the necessary amount of enzymes. That is why food enzymes are so important – they help replenish the enzymes required to sustain your body.
How to Stop Stomach Pain and Bloating: Combat Enzyme Deficiency Using Your Diet
Eat more whole, raw, enzyme-rich fruits and vegetables! This may include foods such as:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Raw (manuka) honey
Although papaya is last on that list, there’s a reason the saying “last but not least” exists.
The Benefits of Papaya for Digestive Enzyme Deficiency
The papaya fruit is native to southern Mexico that has grown in popularity even in North America. The reason it matters to anyone with digestion problems and pains is because of papain. Papain, extracted from the leaf and raw fruit of the papaya plant, is a power proteolytic (i.e., digestive) enzyme. Specifically, it helps break down tough protein fibers into smaller strings of protein.
When it comes to food enzymes, papain is unmatched. This enzyme can break down large strings of protein into the smallest and easiest-to-digest ones. So, by adding papain to your diet, it has the power and potential to completely transform and enhance your digestive process. Especially if you suffer from the symptoms of enzyme deficiency.
In addition to the digestive benefits of papain, research has also shown papain to help:
- Ease sore throats 
- Soothe muscle soreness 
- Reduce pain and inflammation 
- Heal skin wounds (e.g., ulcers, rashes, cuts) [9,10]
- Relieve shingles symptoms 
The Top 3 Ways To Use Papain To Relieve Indigestion
A note from Herbal Papaya:
Although you can find papaya fruit in your average grocery store without a problem, can you always trust that it’s organic and non-GMO? No. In fact, most papaya on supermarket shelves is genetically modified, despite not being able to find that indicated anywhere. Plus, how many times have you gone to the market and found fresh papaya leaves on sale? Our bet is that you haven’t, unless you live near a local farmer!
These were some of the driving factors behind Herbal Papaya’s product development. As a result, they have made organic, non-GMO papaya products devoid of chemicals available to consumers whenever they want it. Since fresh papaya fruit is imported, getting it fresh is not always easy let along possible. This is why we make our products available in such forms as seed powder, liquid leaf extract, fruit powder etc.
As delicious as raw papayas are, buying and eating isn’t always the most effective way to benefit. In fact, consuming papaya (more specifically, papain) in more potent and concentrated forms – including the ones below – often provides faster relief. See what your options are below!
In addition to these papaya leaf supplements, Herbal Papaya also offers products using papaya seeds which you can find here.
Our 3 Favorite Ways We Love to Use Papaya
First up, a warm and soothing mug of papaya leaf tea!
Suggested Use: bag (2,000 mg of organic papaya leaf per 8 fl oz) in boiled water for 3-5 minutes. Sweeten as desired. For a stronger effect, use 2 tea bags. Drink 2 to 3 times a day.
Second, adding a dash of papaya seed powder into our favorite smoothies!
Suggested Use: Mix one serving (1/4 teaspoon) with 8 to 16 oz of water or juice, or simply add to your favorite beverage, yogurt, eggs, soup, morning cereal or granola bars and mixes. Take twice a day for two weeks. Repeat in two weeks if needed or reduce to once a day and continue.
Lastly, popping a papaya seed capsule for those days we cannot catch a break!
Suggested Use: As a dietary supplement for adults, take one capsule of papaya leaf extract with a glass of water after food, twice a day. For reference, 1 capsule is the equivalent to 3 cups of pure papaya leaf tea.
Just because you may be living with the discomfort or pain of indigestion, cramping, or bloating, you aren’t powerless. In fact, you have some very effective, accessible, and natural options to consider! We hope this helps improve and soothe your digestive problems – and please share it with anyone who you think it may help.
- Cichoke, A. J. (1999). The complete book of enzyme therapy. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Pub.
- Biochemistry and Biophysics. (2014, March 31). Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.med.unc.edu/biochem/news/2008/without-enzyme-biological-reaction-essential-to-life-takes-2-3-billion-years-unc-study
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2017, December 15). Enzyme. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/science/enzyme
- Cooper, G. M. (1970, January 01). The Central Role of Enzymes as Biological Catalysts. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9921/
- Digestive Enzymes for IBS: Best Supplements and Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/digestive-enzymes-for-ibs#digestive-enzymes
- Raus, I. (1976, October 07). [Clinical studies on Frubienzyme in a controlled double-blind trial]. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/789219
- Miller, P. C., Bailey, S. P., Barnes, M. E., Derr, S. J., & Hall, E. E. (2004, April). The effects of protease supplementation on skeletal muscle function and DOMS following downhill running. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15161110
- N. (2013, May 24). NutritonReview.org. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/controlling-inflammation-proteolytic-enzymes/
- Ajlia, S. A., Majid, F. A., Suvik, A., Effendy, M. A., & Nouri, H. S. (2010, June 15). Efficacy of papain-based wound cleanser in promoting wound regeneration. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21061910
- Leite, A. P., De, B. G., Soares, M. F., & Barrocas, D. L. (2012, September). [Use and effectiveness of papain in the wound healing process: a systematic review]. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23405827
- Billigmann, P. (1995, February 10). [Enzyme therapy–an alternative in treatment of herpes zoster. A controlled study of 192 patients]. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7713467
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