Enzymes and Digestion

Doctor Andy’s Wellness Corner
By: Andy Marrone, D.C.
Clinic Director,
Redmond Ridge Chiropractic

Enzymes and Digestion

In the next several articles, we will be discussing digestive health and the important role enzymes play. But first, what are enzymes? Enzymes are chemicals produced by our body that break down food so it can be digested. Without enzymes, food particles would be too big for our body to absorb. Enzymes break down chemicals into smaller pieces so they can pass through our gut and provide our body with nourishment. A common misconception is that vitamins are enzymes. Vitamins are actually coenzymes. That is, they help enzymes do their job, but vitamins themselves are not enzymes.
When we eat, enzymes are released first in our mouth with our saliva. When the food hits our stomach, the stomach releases a pre-enzyme called pepsinogen. At that same time, the stomach also releases acid turning pepsinogen into the enzyme pepsin (Note that since antacids counteract stomach acid, they prevent inactive pepsinogen from being turned into pepsin – which means the food can’t be broken down). Once the partially digested food hits the small intestine, the gall bladder and pancreas release additional enzymes to further break down our food. Also note that it is the presence of both food AND acid in the small intestine that causes these enzymes to be released, so antacids once again prevent out food from being broken down for digestion.
In addition to being produced by our body, many foods contain the enzymes we need to break down what we’re eating. Sadly, many food manufacturers remove these enzymes in order to increase shelf life. Age can also affect our enzyme level. In fact your enzyme levels can be depleted up to 70% by age 40. Lastly, cooking, processing and pasteurizing can also destroy the enzymes contained in the food. Here are just some of the problems that can occur from enzyme deficiency:

Flatulence and belching
Heartburn and acid reflux
Breast and colon cancer
Irritable bowel syndrome

Here are some foods you can eat that may help boost your enzyme levels:
Sprouted (seeds and legumes)
Papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and grapes
Raw honey (the enzymes actually come from the bee’s saliva)
Extra virgin olive oil & coconut oil


After many years of clinical practice, Dr. Marrone has forged a remarkable career as a practitioner, educator and lecturer. His extensive knowledge of functional enzyme nutrition has made him a much sought after practitioner. If you are suffering from health problems that nobody seems to have the answer to, or are sick and tired of the revolving door approach of modern medicine, give Dr. Marrone a call to set up a consultation.