Signs of Poor Digestion (+ What You Can Do About It)
By Leah Kleinschrodt, MS, RD, LD
June 1, 2021
You’ve likely heard the saying “You are what you eat.” While this is true, it’s not the full story. One of our favorite practitioners takes it a step further, often telling her clients “You are what you digest and absorb.”1 We couldn’t agree more.
So how do you know if you’re breaking down your food properly for absorption? Here are some signs that your digestive tract may be struggling to keep up:
- Early satiety (i.e., you get full very quickly on a small amount of food)
- Bloating and discomfort immediately following or within 20 minutes of completing a meal
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Gas (belching or flatulence)
- Food particles in the stool
- Stool that floats or looks oily/greasy
- Gallbladder removed
- Frequent use of antacid medications (over the counter or prescription)
- Eating in a stressed or distracted state (wolfing down a meal on the way to work or between meetings, eating while checking email or social media, eating at the kitchen counter, etc.)
- Nutrient deficiencies, such as low iron, low B12, low zinc, low magnesium
- Weight loss surgery (gastric bypass)
- Inflammation in the digestive tract (IBS, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis/diverticulitis)
Do any of these sound familiar? As a licensed dietitian I often hear these symptoms from clients. Transitioning clients to an anti-inflammatory, real food nutrition plan and letting go of the harmful, processed foods (like sugar, refined oils, refined carbohydrates) is always going to be our first line of defense. However, sometimes the digestive tract needs extra support for healing and to help reduce symptoms quickly. This is where digestive enzymes come in.
Key Digestive Enzymes is our go-to product, a one-stop-shop for digestion support. Key Digestive Enzymes works by breaking down the three macronutrients (protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates) and by freeing vitamins and minerals from foods to be absorbed in the intestinal tract.
Here’s how Key Digestive Enzymes works to make digestion more efficient and effective:
- Betaine HCl and pepsin go to work in the stomach, ensuring the stomach is acidic enough to start the digestion of protein, to liberate certain nutrients like iron and B12, and also acidic enough to activate the release of the body’s own pancreatic enzymes.
- The enzymes blend mimics the pancreatic enzymes that our body creates to further break down protein (protease), carbohydrate (amylase), and fats (lipase) in the upper part of the small intestine.
- Ox bile is an additional, crucial support molecule for digesting fats and helping absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K). For those who struggle with gas, cramping, and loose or oily stools following gallbladder removal, this can make all the difference.
- Taurine is a supportive amino acid that enhances the production and function of Betaine HCl and pepsin.
- Gentian root, dandelion extract, and fennel powder, all included in the product, are also established, powerful digestive aids.
If the food you are eating seems to weigh you down more than it lifts you up, or if you struggle with any one of the aforementioned symptoms or conditions, you are not alone, but you can have relief.
For more information on digestive health, check out these resources:
- Listen: Is Your Gut Healthy and How To Fix It
- Learn: Gut Reaction: Restore Digestive Health through Nutrition online class
- Read: Could You Benefit from Extra L-Glutamine?
1) Myers, A. The Autoimmune Protocol. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publisher; 2015.