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A bodybuilder requires large amounts of nutrients to provide and maintain energy and muscle mass production. These include the building blocks of protein — amino acids and polypeptides. They also include sugars from carbohydrates and glycerol and fatty acids from fats.

Digestive enzymes break down food so nutrients are small enough to be absorbed by the body. It’s also broken into the right form to be distributed and used by the body.

For example, protein is broken into amino acids. Amino acids assist the body in building new protein, like muscle. The average body builds about 250 grams of new protein daily. It does this by taking apart 250 grams of protein that already exists in the body. If bodybuilding requires more new protein, digested amino acids can make up the difference.

The same holds for digestive enzymes. The body produces them but sometimes they run out. This is why bodybuilders turn to supplements to ensure effective digestion and absorption of nutrients, particularly in protein digestion.

Digestion of Nutrients

Food must be broken down into smaller molecules to be absorbed and distributed. These molecules provide energy, build body structures, and aid in bodily functions. This process begins as soon as food is ingested.

Digestive Enzymes in the Stomach

The breakdown of food begins with chewing. Saliva helps move food into the stomach.

There, digestive enzymes further breakdown the molecules. For protein, the key digestive enzyme is pepsin. It is released by cells in the stomach lining.

Pepsin breaks protein into smaller bits. The stomach churns and creates chyme, a mixture that includes protein fragments.

Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. Fats take longer than protein.

Because of this, a bodybuilder’s high-protein diet creates longer satiety than a high-carb diet.

Once complete, the chyme enters the duodenum or top of the small intestine.

Digestive Enzymes in the Small Intestine

Most protein and other digestion takes place in the small intestine.

The pancreas plays a part too. It releases digestive enzymes called trypsin, elastase, and chymotrypsin. The small intestine releases the digestive enzymes secretin and CCR.

These enzymes break proteins into amino acids and dipeptides. They are sent to the intestinal lumen, lower in the small intestine.

The lumen absorbs the amino acids and dipeptides into the blood. Blood takes them to the liver using ATP and transport proteins.

The small intestine releases other digestive enzymes to breakdown other types of foods.

For example, it releases lactase to breakdown lactose in milk products. Lactose is broken down into two sugars: glucose and galactose. If it’s not broken into two sugars, it can’t be absorbed and the sugar energy can’t be used.

People that can’t tolerate lactose lack the digestive enzyme lactase.

Amino Acid Building Blocks

Most protein doesn’t get broken down further than amino acid molecules. Amino acids enter the body through the blood and are used for protein synthesis.

They are the building blocks needed for muscle.

They also create energy and build other structures. They help build tendons, ligaments, hair, nails, hormones, RNA, DNA, chemicals and enzymes. They even help build digestive enzymes.

Amino acids also help repair muscle and other tissue.

In the liver, amino acids can be turned into energy, fats or carbs.

Digestive Enzymes Essential for Bodybuilding

The body needs digestive enzymes for the uptake and synthesis of the nutrients that support bodybuilding effectively. But natural digestive enzymes can become depleted.

Overeating processed foods—like binge eating burgers or nachos—deplete enzymes. The same goes for overcooking a steak.

Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, provide their own digestive enzymes. This fully supports the digestive process.

Without enough digestive enzymes, nutrients remain too large to be absorbed. They pass into the large intestine.

There they can cause inflammation, bloating and gas. These are all signs of a shortage of digestive enzymes and a need for supplementation.

Even without these signs, bodybuilders supplement regularly. This ensures the effective use of all nutrients consumed. Proteins and energy used in excess during training can be replenished as needed to rebuild muscle fibers.

Primary Digestive Enzyme Supplements for Bodybuilding

Nucleases break down nucleic acids. Lipases break down fats. Carbohydrases break down carbohydrates. Peptidases and proteases break down proteins.

Supplementation for bodybuilders should focus on protein breakdown since there is such an extreme demand on the body to continuously and exhaustively rebuild muscle fibers.

A bodybuilder’s high-protein diet can deplete natural pepsin. Natural pepsin is the primary peptidase in breaking protein down in the stomach.

Supplements that contain natural pepsin replenish this digestive enzyme. They allow the digestive process to continue efficiently and uninterrupted. This makes the maximum use of digested protein.

Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables contain their own natural digestive enzymes. The body uses them to digest fruits and vegetables.

Eating plenty of uncooked foods daily supplements a bodybuilder’s diet with the necessary enzymes to support the efficient digestion of carbohydrates and fat. For example, avocados provide healthy natural fats. They also contain the digestive enzyme lipase to aid in their digestion.

Key Bodybuilding Digestive Enzymes

A high-quality premium digestive enzyme supplement that includes pepsin is critical to ensuring efficient protein synthesis for bodybuilders. All-natural pepsin supplements also promote increased free testosterone levels and nitrogen retention.

Begin supplementing with digestive enzymes for the most effective protein synthesis to support your bodybuilding. Add pepsin to your routine and focus on consuming as much raw, fresh digestive-enzyme complete foods for excellent results.