For individuals who need a more broad-spectrum digestive aid, Thorne Research offers Bio-Gest. Bio-Gest contains HCl, pepsin, pancreatin, and ox bile, which are important for those who need support for protein and carbohydrate digestion, and fat emulsification and absorption.*
Hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach does several positive things. It assists protein digestion by activating pepsinogen to pepsin, it renders the stomach sterile against ingested pathogens, it inhibits undesirable overgrowth in the small intestine, and it encourages the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes.* Hydrochloric acid also facilitates the absorption of a number of nutrients, including folate, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, iron, and some forms of calcium, magnesium, and zinc.* Numerous studies have shown hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach declines with advancing age. Overuse of antacids can also lead to low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which can result in poor protein digestion.* Thorne offers hydrochloric acid and pure pepsin from a porcine source. Unlike many supplement companies, the pepsin utilized in Thorne's product is pure, undiluted, and lactose-free.
Pancreatin is a mixture of several digestive enzymes produced by cells in the pancreas. Pancreatin is composed of amylase, lipase, and protease. Pancreatin production and secretion by the pancreas is essential to digestion and absorption of numerous nutrients, especially fats.*
Situations such as illness, gall bladder removal, overuse of antacids, and normal aging can contribute to insufficient secretion of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile, and can adversely affect digestive enzyme activity and lead to heartburn, gas, bloating, and other symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort.*
Maldigestion can lead to digestive problems and poor absorption of nutrients, resulting in vitamin deficiencies (particularly fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K). Food allergies can develop when inadequately digested proteins are absorbed through the gut. As large proteins are absorbed intact, the body might recognize them as foreign and create antibodies to them, resulting in an allergic response to the food. An individual who has frequent indigestion should make sure to have adequate enzyme support.*