#Functional Sports Medicine

Digestive enzymes help fight muscle stiffness

// March 13, 2020

After training hard, it’s not uncommon for muscles to become stiff and sore sometimes hours or even days later. This is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and is a result of micro tears in the muscle tissue as a result of training. The body needs high-quality nutrients to repair this and grow.  

However, when you put your body under a lot of physical or mental stress, the nervous system switches from “rest and digest” to “fight or flight”. In that stage, your body may reduce its production of digestive enzymes. These are essential for digestion because they break down food into smaller, absorbable particles. For example, amylase breaks down pasta into glucose. It takes a lot of energy to produce these enzymes and during the flight and fright state, the body’s goal is to conserve energy. As a result, enzyme production diminishes or even gets switched off. As a result, in this state you could be following the best diet in the world but your body won’t break it down and absorb the nutrients very well.

Many studies show that using the right digestive enzymes will help when athletes are training hard or physically and mentally exhausted. The best supplement brands include a blend of amylase for digesting carbs, lipase for digesting fats and protease to help with protein digestion. Two that have been around for a while because they do a good job are Panplex 2-Phase and Wobenzym.

The importance of pineapple and papaya after age 50

As I said earlier, the production of digestive enzymes is very energy consuming. As we age, we generate less energy and enzyme production naturally slows. Unfortunately, that makes you age faster, so it becomes a vicious cycle. If you’re over age 50 and active, you may want to consider adding more digestive enzyme-rich foods to your diet.

Papaya and pineapple are good sources of bromelain, which helps to break down protein. That’s why both fruits are often used in meat marinades. Papaya and pineapple are also good sources of hydrochloric acid which, in addition to breaking down proteins, supports the immune system. Other foods to add to your meals to aid digestion include avocados, bananas and mango.