by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath We’ve all heard it so many times in our life, “you are what you eat.” While this is a popular saying, it truly is not a realistic point. Understand that you are not what you eat, you are what you absorb and assimilate. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen clients in my office that actually put a lot of time, money and energy into their nutrition, yet they are still malnourished. While this can be tied into a deeper functional issue such as food sensitivity or gut pathogens, often our digestion can be enhanced by some simple basics. These basics are a quality prebiotic/probiotic formula, comprehensive digestive enzyme and stomach acid support. Let’s look at the prebiotic/probiotic formula first. Beneficial bacteria plays a significant role in the function of your digestive system and optimally we would have a 9:1 ratio of beneficial bacteria to detrimental bacteria. Unfortunately, due to the consumption of sugar and processed foods, high stress and a lack of raw fermented food consumption, this ratio is often not even close to this optimal level, thus leaving our digestive system challenged. This is why supplementation is essential for most of us. Even though I personally consume raw fermented foods almost every day, I still take 2 capsules of the prebiotic/probiotic formula every morning. Probiotics are live bacteria in raw fermented foods and supplements. While probiotics have been shown effective in managing certain gastrointestinal conditions, they are best used along with a prebiotics. A prebiotic is a specialized plant fiber that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the large intestine or colon as well as the probiotics in your prebiotic/probiotic combination supplement. While probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut, prebiotics act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria that’s already there. The body itself does not digest these prebiotic plant fibers. Instead, it uses these fibers to promote the growth of many of the good bacteria in the gut, in turn providing many digestive and general health benefits. The Depke Wellness Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula supplies a blend of probiotics and prebiotics, including Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus salvarius, and Streptococcus thermophilus, along with the prebiotics Inulin (from chicory root), Arabinogalactans (from Larch), and Marshmallow root (extract). This is the one/two punch that many of us are missing. Another significant deficiency from a digestive perspective is tied into enzyme activity. Let’s first recognize that most people eat cooked food. When we cook the food above a temperature of 118 degrees, the enzyme activity is completely destroyed. Supplemental enzymes simply puts back the enzyme activity that were destroyed by the cooking process. Without the use of digestive enzymes for those that are consuming cooked foods, the predigestion that occurs in the first third of your stomach is significantly decreased, thus creating so much hardship for the rest of the gastrointestinal tract to follow. With this in mind, you can understand the importance of digestive enzyme use with every meal you consume. Since most that are reading this article consume cooked food, this is vital for you. prime enzyme support with each and every cooked food meal that I consume. Heck I even put a couple enzymes in my pocket when myself and my wife head out for dinner. Based on my years of practice I recognize that the toughest foods to breakdown properly are flesh protein, fat, beans and some vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Another factor to address is the fact that most digestive enzymes on the market are vegetarian based. This means that we are often trying to break down animal proteins and fats with vegetable based enzymes. It does not even make sense to write this. The Depke Wellness Prime Enzyme Support contains the necessary animal based enzymes to break down your animal proteins and fats as well as a specific enzyme to assist with those pesky beans, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. This is also containing all the needed enzymes found in other quality formulas and as an added bonus there is a small amount of pepsin and betaine HCL due to the fact that most in our culture are also suffering from low stomach acid. Don’t miss out on the benefit of enzymes earlier in your digestive tract. As mentioned above, if you miss this early enzyme activity, the rest of your digestive function has to work that much harder. The last area that I need to mention is stomach acid. Many people are afraid of this because of the word “acid” but stomach acid is essential to break down your proteins into your essential amino acids, along with proper absorption of minerals and B vitamins. Stomach acid also acts as a protective barrier for potentially harmful micro-organisms in our food as well as aiding in the elimination of excessive tissue acidity. Low stomach acid is such a challenge in our culture that we have formulated the Prime Enzyme Support with a small amount of stomach acid, 100mgs to be precise. Unfortunately for many, this 100mgs is simply not enough. This is the reason why the Depke Wellness Prime Stomach Acid Support is the missing digestive link for so many. This contains 700mgs of betaine HCL and 10mgs of pepsin to assist with your protein breakdown as well as minerals and B vitamins as mentioned above. Personally, I do not take a prime stomach acid at every meal but I do take one with any meal that I am enjoying flesh protein and I typically like to take one when I eat out. Based on what I mentioned above, you already understand why I take this when eating flesh protein but I take one when I eat out because eating out would typically expose me to gut pathogens and the additional stomach acid may be all I need to keep these little “critters” at bay. If you are taking all three of these digestive aids, I will share how I utilize these. I take 2 prebiotic/probiotic formula capsules upon waking every day, one prime enzyme support with each of my three main cooked meals (taken during the meal) and one prime stomach acid support with the consumption of flesh protein and also when I go out to eat (taken toward the end of the meal.) This helps mimic the proper natural digestive process to assist in enhancing your absorption and assimilation. Now instead of purchasing each of these separately, you can simply purchase the 1,2,3 of Digestion which includes one bottle of the Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula, one Prime Enzyme Support and one Prime Stomach Acid Support. The other advantage of purchasing these together is the added savings of the package and as always, free shipping and handling to the continental US when you purchase online. Also note that you can get any of these supplements in a convenient 3 pack that would also create a savings for you by visiting this page. Enjoy your food and remember, you are what you absorb and assimilate. If you have any comments or questions in regard to this article, please post below for us to address personally.