What are Digestive Enzymes?

Naturally occurring in the body, enzymes help break down nutrients in the food we eat so that the body may utilize and absorb them. While most people have no trouble digesting food, a small percentage of the population has been shown to need extra support. Children, in particular, may be in need of digestive enzyme supplementation since poor eating habits, undiagnosed food sensitivities, and chronic stress have a significant impact on nutrient absorption.

How Do I Know if My Child Needs a Digestive Enzyme?

Symptoms like frequent gas and bloating, feeling full after just a few bites of food, and diarrhea may be signs that your child needs supplementary enzymes. We recommend having your child tested for food sensitivities by a reputable naturopath or nutritionist. If you are unable to find or afford testing, a food elimination diet can be easily performed at home under the guidance of your pediatrician. Further symptoms including colic and eczema may also be signs that your child needs additional support. We recommend paying careful attention to your child’s demeanor before and after he consumes food.

Common Signs Your Child May Need a Digestive Enzyme:

  • Eczema and skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Gas and bloating after meals
  • Joint pain
  • Depressed mood and chronic anxiety

Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

While scientific research continues, many believe that the addition of an enzyme supplement may have the power to replace gluten-free and allergy-free diets. While we don’t recommend implementing drastic dietary changes without pediatric supervision, do keep in mind that foods like eggs, dairy, and wheat are common culprits when it comes to food sensitivities in children. Digestive enzymes have also been shown to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of allergies, including those from external, non-food sources.

For those with food intolerances and some autoimmune disorders, supplemental enzymes may bring welcomed relief. Since kids tend to have picky eating habits, digestive enzymes might just be the ticket to fewer stomachaches and digestive discomforts.