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Digestive Health

What's the deal with digestive enzymes?

Question: from Rosemarie

What’s the deal with digestive enzymes, do they really help? I feel uncomfortable most times when I eat and always have a problem with excessive flatulence. Sometimes I can feel myself inflating and even hear the sound like a balloon being blown up.


Answer: from Joanna

Hi Rosemarie

Digestive enzymes are used by the body to break down food into usable nutrients. There are around 22 different digestive enzymes, each of which has a different property. Enzymes are found in fruits, vegetables, meat and other foods, as well as being produced by plant matter, such as are used in supplemental form.

If someone is lacking in sufficient digestive enzymes, perhaps due to poor diet for example, supplemental enzymes can be useful to ensure proper nutrient digestion and absorption. Total Balance contains digestive enzymes to ensure that the nutrients are broken down and absorbed properly and fully through the small intestine.

With regard to your bloating and gas, this would suggest that either your diet isn't as good as it should be, that you have some dietary sensitivities, that you may be lacking in daily fluids (water, vegetable juice), or that you may have a digestive bacterial imbalance.

Excess swallowing of air upon chewing (aerophagia) can be another contributor. This can be helped by eating slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and not gulping food or drink.

Try to avoid certain foods containing the carbohydrate raffinose, including lentils/beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. Also, try to avoid too much potato, corn, noodles, and wheat.

Your initial concentration should be on diet. Eat the right food types, eat them slowly and chew thoroughly. Take Total Balance and Omega 3/DHA to ensure a correct balance of nutrients, and to help reduce digestive inflammation. I would take these both at maximum dose.

You can add a probiotic, intermittently – a few weeks on and a few weeks off – to begin with to see if this helps to rebalance your internal bacteria levels also; and Aloe Vera juice – 2 capfuls per day to start – to help soothe digestive function.

Finally, good regular daily digestive exercise can help, such as stretches, to stretch and work the stomach and abdomen, yoga is excellent for this.


  • “ Thanks for this info. This along with other probiotic types can be helpful towards the shorter-term aid of digestive disorders. This is well known and well prescribed naturally and otherwise. These are only temporary measures of course to help rebalance an already imbalanced system where needed. With the help of, say, Total Balance, Omega 3/DHA, and Viral-Protec, the condition/symptom itself may be helped to be avoided in the first place, making this less necessary, less often. So this is something to bear in mind, as prevention of these instances is much better. This can be more difficult in cases of HIV for instance, so this is a good example of where a probiotic such as this and others can be useful. Joanna.”

    Xtend-Life Expert October 19 2010

  • “Hi Warren/team, I have had to go on anti-biotics, owing to a dental extraction followed by an infection. I took the easy route not knowing how else to cure the infection. However, my stomach flora is now completely messed up, as you can imagine. Does X-Life do a probiotic? Can you recommend one? I need something that is live when I buy it. Thanks Marcus”

    Marcus August 07 2010

  • “Dear Marcus, There are valid reasons for some people to take antibiotics immediately after having a dental procedure, specifically those suffering from a variety of heart valve disorders and kidney problems. Common dental procedures including extractions and even aggressive teeth cleaning causes bacterial normally found in the mouth to be pushed into the blood stream. These bacteria can then circulate through the body and attached themselves to tissues that are already damaged or inflamed. When this happens the person will likely experience a worsening of their condition. Antibiotics do, as you suggest, destroy some of the friendly bacteria normally found in your gastrointestinal tract, although not so much in the stomach, but rather the small intestines. This alteration in your normal flora can result in a number of issues including malabsorption problems, increased food sensitivities, i.e., leaky gut, and a wide range of yeast related disorders. Although we are always looking at how we can create safe and effective products for our customers, at present we do not have any specific probiotic products, in the traditional sense, in the pipeline.”

    Xtend-Life Expert August 11 2010

  • “I suffered diarrhea once on vacation to Morroco, and another time in Rio de Janiero. The doctors in both places prescribed an antibiotic taken together with a specific pro-biotic, "Floratil" which contains Saccharomyces boulardii. I took one capsule every 12 hours for 5 days, and was pleased with the results. I did some reading and discovered that many HIV patients contract unstoppable diarrhea as a result of taking many many antibiotics, and that organized HIV patient groups were importing Saccharomyces Boulardii and using with good success. Apparently this particular pro-biotic, a form (or type) of yeast, creates a condition in the digestive system that is conducive to re-establishing normal gut flora. This form of yeast does not cause yeast infections. I found it available in Vancouver Canada at Finlandia Pharmacy which, specializes in natural medicines, in the refrigerated case. You may find it in other "Professional"natural product vendors, where they also keep refrigerated other probiotics, e.g. various forms of lactobacillus. Floratil is readily available at the drug stores (Farmacias) in Mexico, but I believe it is less expensive at the natural product stores, as Floratil is a trade name used by big pharmaceutical companies. I think Floriatil is in freeze-dried and so requires no refrigeration. Learn more about it here: ”

    Bill A October 16 2010

  • “Hi Richard, You are right. The body should be able to make enough enzymes to keep the body balanced if given a good nutritional regime through diet. This would be the ideal. However, there are things that hinder this or prevent it from working optimally, and this is where you can find many health being caused as a result. It is a sad fact that although enzymes are available in foods, often they are not properly digested into our system. This can be due to various issues of imbalance in the digestive system, and also due to a reduced amount of effective enzymes in the food we eat through soil depletion, chemical interference, processing, and more. As a result of all those factors, it is rare for someone to have an optimally functioning digestive system, and hence be able to properly absorb and use all the necessary enzymes, amino acids, and probiotics necessary to keep us healthy. This is where Total Balance Premium and Omega 3/DHA can help, for the reasons mentioned in the article. Also, since this article was written, we have more good news! In just a few months time we are releasing a new formula, which can be used alone, or together with Total Balance Premium and Omega 3/DHA ranges for optimal help, which concentrates specifically on enzyme absorption, pre- and probiotic function, and phenolics (antioxidants found in plants, with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory compounds). This is called Digesten-K. Because of its very specific concentrations on these areas, it can help you to not only make the most out of your nutrient absorption by providing and enhancing enzymatic actions, but help to eliminate toxins from entering the bloodstream. This formula is a very advanced addition to our range to help with overall wellness and prevention of many degenerative diseases that can begin from digestive strain or imbalance. Keep an eye on our blog for more info on this. I hope this helps. Joanna”

    Xtend-Life Expert February 18 2011

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