When feeding via g-tube (or j-tube) for medical reasons, an initial digestive step is bypassed. According to what I read, the moment food passes our lips, our bodies begin the digestive process. Digestive enzymes are first generated by salivary glands. (Interesting tidbit: salivary glands also produce an antibiotic called lysozyme.)
When the mouth is skipped and food goes directly into the stomach, that first enzyme is not produced. Perhaps this isn’t a huge concern, since the gastric and pancreatic enzymes do the vast majority of the digestive process. But it does get me thinking about enzymes and their importance.
According to what I read, the most common signs of poor digestion include heartburn, nausea, fatigue, bloating, burping, gas, constipation, cramping, and diarrhea. Heartburn or GERD, occurs when the stomach acids back up into the esophagus. Digestive enzymes help process food more quickly in the upper stomach, which may help reduce excess acid from accumulating.
I’ve seen a change in my daughter since giving her digestive enzymes. I go to a health food store and pick them up there. I don’t recommend a specific brand and I don’t guarantee that they do anything at all. I just go by what I’ve seen in my daughter – she doesn’t pat her chest and make faces anymore when she is fed. She doesn’t have pain from reflux. And her bowel movements don’t smell as bad either!