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Sunday, 7 October 2012

REVIEW: Veganicity Digestive aids

Many of us into training eat...I mean eat a LOT!  If you are bulking or trying to hold onto a weight above what would be normal sometimes cramming down chow can be harder than training.  One downside of this eating style can be digestive issues.  Not major, but sometimes eating for mass can cause a little bloating or discomfort.  This is down to cramming in so much, so often.  I know some will argue just eat less, but if you are trying to grow beyond what nature intended then eating to extreme is the only option.  Other people may not eat so much, but have issues with digestion.  Both of these people may benefit from digest enzymes & probiotics.

With all this in mind I was looking into digestive enzymes & probiotics by veganicity (a vegan supplement maker).  For full disclosure I did get the three products above for free to try (one of each) ...but I have since reordered as I found them pretty useful.  I'll cover them all below.

Digest-ase digestive enzyme

This product supplies enzymes that aid the breakdown of the macronutrients.  So, in simple terms these ingredients aid carbs breaking down into glucose, proteins breaking down into amino acids & breaking fats into small enough globules to be assimilated.  One thing that will be useless to any vegan in this product is the inclusion of lactase, the enzyme that helps break down lactose (milk sugar), but that is standard for all digestive enzymes (basically baby enzymes you had to digest your mothers milk).  That is the one thing I found 'negative' about this product from a vegan point of view (obviously the product itself is completely vegan!).  Unlike many digestive enzymes this one contains some probiotics as well as the usual enzymes, it also tastes fantastic.  I wouldn't be lying if I said this is possibly the best tasting supplement pill I've ever tasted!  If you like peppermint, then you will love this product, it tastes awesome (to me, bear in mind that your taste-buds may be different to mine).  It did also seem to make digestion easier when going for that 'gut buster' meal (obviously placebo might have had an effect, if you believe something will make things better, then things can appear better, I can only say that for me things seemed better taking them when I eat heavily).  So, yes, I am adding these to my diet.  If I'm gaining then I need to eat a lot, so would want to use them & if I was dieting I would want to get the maximum nutrition from the diet & so again it would make sense to include them (also these are like little treats they taste so good!).

Next up we have Megadophilus & Multi Probiotic both are probiotics,

I have written about these together as they are both related products Megadophilus is acidophilus & Multi Probiotic is a group of different probiotics.  Personally I am going to use Multi Probiotic as you get a selection of different friendly bacteria.  Here is a weird fact, there are actually more bacteria cells in you than human cells.  That's right, if you were being classified by an alien, would you be classed as a being inhabited by bacteria or a bacteria colony with a slight mammal involvement - infact it is commonly believed that there are 10 times as many bacteria cells than human cells within & on the surface of the average person (see wiki for some details), so you can see bacteria are pretty important to the human condition, in fact without your bacteria allies you would soon die!
The main issue with taking any bacteria supplement is a lot die going through the acid environment of the stomach.  There are a few ways to get around this.  One way is to include a glucose containing food in the diet as glucose seems to increase bacteria survivability in stomach transit (see here for study), so you could eat a meal (which usually has some glucose in it), or even add glucose if you prefer.  Bear in mind that it is possible that ALL bacteria survive the transit of the stomach better, so as well as friendly, you could get less friendly bacteria making it across this defensive barrier.  There is another option.  Most of the bacteria in the gut lives in the large intestine, so theoretically you can approach the adding of probiotics from the 'other end', so to speak. I have used this method when I have had very bad digestive issues in the past & it does seem to work...but there is no proof that I have so far found that shows that adding probiotics from the 'rear end' actually allows the bacteria to escape the anus.  My method has been to use those disposable gloves, puncture a capsule with a pin many times, then using coconut oil as a lube use the finger to slip it up there after you have defecated (so it has many hours to breed & spread).  As I said I have tried this out, but as far as I know there is no science to back it up, you may just be wasting a pill, but it does seem to work at firming up stools when that is an issue & generally getting you back to normal, regularity.  The main advantage I can see to the acidophilus is that is seems better suited to stomach survival being more acid resistant than some of the other strains & so more may survive.  You may want to consider taking a probiotic if you have recently ended a course of antibiotics (as these kill a lot of your gut bacteria & leave you open to attack from yeast or other unfriendly bacteria), if you suffer from yeast infections as bacteria is the natural enemy of yeast, if you have any mild occasional tummy issues (any serious or ongoing stomach issues go & see a health care specialist).  As I said my choice would be the Multi Probiotic.  Keep these in the refrigerator as they are a live bacteria.

Last bit on probiotics is I have heard of an ongoing study focussing on taking probiotics & cancer reduction - this study will take many years as people are being asked to take probiotics daily (orally), so the results won't be known for many years yet, but that will be interesting if there is a link between gut bacteria & cancer.

Final points

I think that the digestive enzymes are going to become a regular in my diet.  I won't go crazy & carry them about with me (unless I'm on some crazy bulk type eating pattern), but when I'm indoors these are going to become a regular.  The probiotics I didn't notice such an obvious effect (unless I get stomach issues then I have used them in the past with noticeable effect).  I don't think they will become a staple quite as much as the digestive enzymes, but they will be fairly frequent visitors.  I'll stick with the Multi Probiotic mostly I think.  The digest-ase has some probiotics in, so going for a while just using those probably won't lose you anything.  If I had something like IBS or similar I'd certainly consider hitting both the digestive enzymes & probiotics very hard (I'd also go & see a nutritional advisor see about getting some allergy testing done, also some stress management etc), it might be the first stage in a recovery plan.
Anyway, obviously veganicity are a vegan company, so if you can support them do. They also come along to many of the big vegan events around the UK & are great guys so check them out & give them your money if your after guaranteed vegan supplements.

You can check out Veganicity here

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