You've seen them on the shelf of almost every health food store: Enzymes. But they're not all the same. In fact, there are many different types of digestive enzymes and some can tolerate the stomach better than others due to varying pH. And it matters which one you get. First, if you need a refresher as to what enzymes are and what they do, see our last blog post, here. Now, let's start with animal-based enzymes. Animal-based or pancreatic enzymes are derived from the pancreas of an animal (and who knows what that animal has eaten or has been subjected to - GMO feed, antibiotics, vaccines, etc). Most importantly, however, animal-based enzymes work only in a very narrow, alkaline pH range — 7.0 pH to 9.0 pH — which means they cannot survive the acid environment of your stomach (3.0 pH). This is why pancreatic enzymes sold in capsules must be "enteric coated" to protect them from the acidity of the stomach so that they can be shuttled to the duodenum where digestion continues. The duodenum, which is past the stomach in the digestive tract, has a much more neutral pH range that these enzymes can work within. Of course, this means that animal enzymes cannot help your body digest anything until much later in the digestive process (i.e. after the stomach has done all it can). In other words, animal-based enzymes don't take much of the digestive burden from your body. Plant enzymes are a different story. They have a very broad pH stability range, so they can begin their work in the acidic environment of the stomach. In fact, providing an enteric coating on plant enzymes is counterintuitive. It can actually block the enzymes' action within the stomach, where they work to pre-digest food in the upper part of the stomach. Plant enzymes work within the first half-hour or so while the stomach is still building acidity in response to food being eaten. After this initial half-hour, the acidity rises to the point that these enzymes are inactivated as well. However, in vitro (test tube) studies indicate that plant enzymes are able to re-activate their activity once in the small intestine. Again, this is something that animal-based pancreatic enzymes cannot do. And now for the question you've been wanting to ask... what about Hallelujah Acres' Digestive Enzymes? As you probably guessed, the Hallelujah Acres Digestive Enzyme supplement contains only plant enzymes. Moreover, they are specifically formulated to help the body digest foods recommended on The Hallelujah Diet! In other words... they're perfect for you!
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