Understanding the Role of Enzymes in Digestive Health

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of enzymes in digestion and identifies various organs in the digestive system that produce enzymes. They explain that a deficiency in digestive enzymes can lead to symptoms such as indigestion and gas. The stomach produces enzymes like pepsin and lipase, which help break down proteins and fats. Lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach can prevent the activation of these enzymes. The pancreas plays a crucial role in producing enzymes for digestion, and insufficient enzyme production can lead to problems digesting fats and cause symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain. The gallbladder, although not producing enzymes itself, aids in digestion by releasing bile, which helps break down fats. A deficiency in bile can result in nutrient deficiencies. The small intestine also produces enzymes and can be affected by issues in the stomach and pancreas, leading to conditions like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Lastly, the large intestine is not responsible for enzyme production, but the microbes in the microbiome produce enzymes to aid in digestion. The speaker recommends taking supplements like betaine hydrochloride, pancreatic enzymes, and ox bile to support digestion and address enzyme deficiencies in specific organs. They also mention the importance of maintaining a diverse microbiome through diet and probiotic supplementation. The overall message is that a properly functioning digestive system relies on sufficient enzyme production and coordination between various organs.

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Key Insights:

  • Deficiency in digestive enzymes can lead to various symptoms and problems in the digestive tract.
  • The stomach produces enzymes, such as pepsin and lipase, which are crucial for protein and fat digestion.
  • Lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach can prevent the activation and release of enzymes, leading to indigestion and gas.
  • The pancreas plays a significant role in producing enzymes for digestion, and insufficient pancreatic enzymes can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
  • Gallbladder dysfunction can result in a lack of bile, impairing the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Small intestine works together with other organs to digest food, and issues like bacterial overgrowth can lead to bloating, belching, and malnutrition.
  • The large intestine does not produce enzymes, but the microbiome helps with digestion, and a diverse microbiome is essential for proper digestion.
  • Taking betaine hydrochloride, pancreatic enzymes, and ox bile can help improve digestion.
  • Diet and lifestyle, including a low-fat diet, reducing stress, intermittent fasting, and probiotic supplementation, can support optimal digestion.


Let’s talk about enzymes. What would be the number one symptom that you would get if you were deficient in digestive enzymes? You’re dealing with about five different pieces of this puzzle that you have to understand. You have the stomach, the pancreas, the gallbladder, the small intestine, and the large intestine. Let’s start with the stomach. The stomach produces enzymes primarily called pepsin and lipase. Pepsin helps digest protein, while lipase helps break down fats as a backup if you don’t make enough from other organs. The activation of pepsin relies on hydrochloric acid in the stomach. If you lack this acid, you may experience symptoms like indigestion and gas due to insufficient enzyme release. Insufficient acid can also affect the gallbladder’s activation to release bile needed for fat digestion, leading to undigested protein material in the small intestine. To compensate, the pancreas and small intestine produce more enzymes, causing issues like gas, bloating, and constipation. Taking pepsin alone without necessary hydrochloric acid doesn’t work well. Factors like aging, antacid use, heartburn, valvular dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies, or low-fat diets may lead to insufficient acid production. Moving on to the pancreas, insufficient pancreatic enzymes can result in pancreatic enzyme insufficiency. Diseases like cystic fibrosis, tumors, gallstones, or sludge can cause this condition, leading to symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and undigested fat. Pancreatin, a group of pancreatic enzymes, can be taken as a supplement to alleviate this strain on digestion. The gallbladder, while not producing enzymes itself, plays a vital role in extracting fat-soluble nutrients. Issues with the gallbladder can cause symptoms like bloating, belching, pain in the right shoulder or rib cage, and a lack of fat-soluble vitamins. The small intestine is where 90% of digestion occurs. It produces enzymes and should maintain minimal bacteria compared to the large intestine. Issues in the stomach, pancreas, or gallbladder can force the small intestine to compensate, potentially leading to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO causes symptoms like bloating, belching, abdominal pain, and nutritional deficiencies due to increased microbial competition for nutrients. To address SIBO, taking betaine hydrochloride to fix stomach acid and some ox bile to aid the gallbladder can help. Reducing fiber consumption, intermittent fasting, and incorporating natural antibiotics like garlic may also contribute to the solution. The large intestine does not produce enzymes, but the microbiome in it does. The microbiome produces enzymes to help digest fiber and leftover sugars or proteins. A lack of diverse microbes can cause issues like diarrhea, constipation, and fatty stool. Fortifying the microbiome can be achieved by feeding a variety of plants, taking probiotics, or consuming fermented foods. Ultimately, implementing the right diet is crucial in preventing the aforementioned issues with the digestive tract.