Food needs to be broken down into microscopically small pieces to be absorbed by the intestines and delivered to the body’s cells through the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. Complete digestion involves three phases that occur in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Cephalic phase: Food is broken down from large to small pieces through chewing and salivary enzymes.
- Gastric phase: Smaller pieces of food continue to be digested in the stomach by enzymes specifically targeted for fats, proteins, or carbohydrates.
- Intestinal phase: Food passes from the stomach into the duodenum, where it is mixed with secretions from the pancreas and liver. This final breakdown creates particles small enough to be absorbed and delivered to the rest of the body.
Power Digest is an innovative, gentle, and powerful formula that optimizes nutrient availability by supporting the gastric and intestinal phases of digestion.
Gastric Phase Support
Also known as trimethylglycine, betaine is a naturally-occurring amino acid found in many foods, particularly in beets. It supports gut health, muscle and fat metabolism, kidney function, and methylation, a crucial process for cellular repair, metabolism, and detoxification. In addition to helping liver cells remove toxins, studies show that betaine may protect the liver from damage caused by these toxins. The HCL (hydrochloric) betaine supplement is the most popular form because it augments the stomach acid needed to break down and digest nutrients like iron, calcium, proteins, and Vitamin B12.
This amino acid comes in contact with stomach lining receptors to stimulate secretion of digestive juices and engage contractions that propel food forward in the gut. Glutamic acid can also protect the gut lining.
This enzyme is secreted by specialized cells in the stomach lining called chief cells, and it is responsible for breaking proteins into smaller amino acids. Often pepsin levels are insufficient because of a lack of conversion into its active form. Insufficient stomach acid can prevent this activation. Insufficient pepsin contributes to leaky gut syndrome, a condition where toxins and undigested proteins can seep through the cells of the gut lining and trigger inappropriate autoimmune and inflammatory responses. Medications that decrease stomach acid (like Prilosec, Zantac, Pepcid, and Nexium) are known to block pepsin from activation.
This enzyme is extracted from papaya, a plant known for supporting digestion. As a proteolytic enzyme, papain can powerfully break down dietary components, particularly proteins, from large to small pieces. In the culinary arts it is used as a meat tenderizer because it breaks down collagen, elastin, and actinomycin, a component of muscle fibers. Papain also decreases inflammation, improves skin health, enhances wound healing, breaks up blood clots, and weakens the fibrous protective layer around cancer cells and parasites.
Fruits and vegetables require different digestive enzymes than meats and fats because of their cellulose, a fibrous structure in the cell walls of all green plants. Some cellulose fibers contribute to gut health by providing roughage and passing through the body undigested while others are broken down by cellulase in the stomach and fermented in the intestines. The products of this fermentation feed healthy bacteria and provide necessary nutrients for the proper function of the gut lining. Studies show that cellulase can prevent bacterial growth in the gut by breaking down biofilms, and it may also boost the release of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.
Intestinal Phase Support
Pancreatin 5x USP (enteric coated. Equivalent to prescription Pancreatin USP, 750 mg)
Pancreatin is actually a mixture of the enzymes amylase, protease, and lipase. The enteric coating on the pancreatin in this product prevents it from being digested by stomach acid. This provides maximal benefit by allowing the enzymes to pass into the intestines before activation.
Ox Bile (enteric coated)
Bile is a substance made in the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and secreted into the intestines to break down fats. It also carries toxins, foreign chemicals, and hormones out of the body. Bile is composed of lecithin, salts, and cholesterol, and gallstones can form when these ingredients are out of balance. When bile cannot be properly delivered from the liver and gallbladder to the intestines, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, cramping, bloating, pain, and other abdominal distress can occur. Low levels of bile can also lead to deficiencies in Vitamins A, D, E, and K, which depend on the absorption of fat and which impact a number of other health issues. Gallstone blockage and poor contractility from a sick and weak gallbladder are common reasons for poor delivery of bile to the intestines. In addition to assisting digestion, ox bile can protect the gut from infection, reduce the occurrence of gallstones, improve the systemic balance of cholesterol, and reduce intestinal inflammation.
Bromelain (enteric coated)
This enzyme found in pineapple is most effective in supplement form because eating the fruit or drinking the juice does not provide a large enough supply. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory benefits for the heart, joints, lungs, gut, and skin, and it has shown promise as an anti-cancer agent. Bromelain assists with digestion by breaking down proteins, reducing chemicals that contribute to inflammation of the gut lining, promoting tissue healing, and improving absorption of other nutrients.