426 – Food Intolerance and Benefits of Enzymes

Differences between food intolerance,
food sensitivities and food allergies.

Julia Craven Demystifies Enzymes and Food Intolerance

In this interview Julia Craven will discuss food intolerances and the role enzymes can play in digestive support. She has a personal experience with food intolerances that led to brain fog. She will also make the distinctions between intolerance, sensitivity and allergies.

Many people underestimate the benefits of enzymes. If you have any kind of digestive challenge you should consider enzymes. If you are bothered after eating, consider enzymes. Enzymedica has many enzymes especially formulated for specific issues such as lipase for fats, proteases for protein as well as enzymes for dairy, gluten, and many more. Here is a link to their enzyme page. Do not miss the opportunity to explore whether enzyme supplement will help you. At the very least, they will aid your digestion and best case you may experience tremendous benefits that only enzymes can provide.

Show summary. See full transcript below.

  • Welcome to the show.
  • Julia’s background and how she got interested in nutrition.
  • What is the focus Enzymedica?
  • What are enzymes and their role in human nutrition?
  • What are food intolerances and how do you know if you have one?
  • What is leaky gut? How does it happen?
  • The importance of digestive enzymes in healing.
  • It’s not what you eat, but what you digest. If your digestion is compromised, you’re not getting the best out
  • What do people do when they discover these intolerances? Is it as simple as taking an enzyme?
  • What’s wrong with my energy?
  • Are there any warnings or contra indications? Are there any people who shouldn’t use enzymes?

Julia Craven

Julia Craven

Julia Craven is Vice President of Education for Enzymedica. Julia is a nationally recognized expert in digestive health and enzyme therapy.  Known as “The Holistic Enzymologist”, Julia is passionately spreading valuable information about healing America’s digestive health epidemic using an integrative, easy to understand enzyme focused approach that is accessible to all.  She is also a product formulator, traditional herbalist, certified yoga instructor and lifelong learner who is committed to empowering people to find their personal path to wellness.


For over 24 years, Enzymedica has been leading the way with scientifically-backed digestive enzymes & health supplements that are proven to help your body digest food better and improve overall health.

With a focus on purity and quality Enzymedica has won numerous awards and earned a reputation as leaders in this field by constantly evolving new research with cutting edge technology while offering top benefits backed up scientifically with proven ingredients you can trust.




enzymes, food intolerances, brain fog, gluten, digestive system, food allergies, food sensitivity


Julia Craven, Steve Lankford

Steve Lankford 

Hello, and welcome back to Health Quest podcast. I’m your host, Steve Lankford. Thanks for joining me. I’m glad you’re here. This is going to be an interesting interview for me. They all are interesting for me, but for particular reasons. One, I’m going to be interviewing a new guest, Julia Craven. Julia is currently the vice president of education and innovation for Enzymedica, you may, if you’re a regular listener, have listened to some of our previous interviews with Enzymedical experts. They are on the podcast HealthQuestPodcast.com. And you can go back and listen to them at any time. And so there’s education there for you when you’re ready to access it.

She has been in the industry a long time, 30 years. So she has a long history and understanding. And she’s an expert in digestive health and therapeutic enzymes. We’re going to be talking about that today. And we’re going to be talking about the subject of food intolerances. So I have a new guest. And this topic of food intolerances is one that we haven’t explored before. We’re also going to touch base on a term that has really emerged maybe in the last year, as a result of some of the experiences we’ve had people are describing what they call this brain fog, you may have heard that term. What is brain fog? How is it experienced? And more importantly, are there things that you can do naturally to improve your health status as well.



I also want to introduce a bit of my normal disclaimer here. Because as we get into these topics, often times people are thinking, Well, how do I treat my disease with nutrition, and I’m here to say, we don’t treat disease with nutrition! Drugs treat disease, drugs are the purview of the medical profession. If you have a medical problem, certainly see your health practitioner and work with them. On the other hand, nutrition nourishes the body.

And this is what we’re all about, finding ways to use the natural compounds in nature to heal. Drugs aren’t nutrients, nutrients aren’t drugs, and even when we refer to studies that maybe used a particular nutrient in its study of whatever. And oftentimes those are diseases that they do use these for study. When we see these studies, here’s my interpretation. This doesn’t make a nutrient a drug, it reveals the wonderful benefits of nature, how the body appropriates nutritional compounds to help heal, maintain and restore human health. So let’s not confuse those two, it will help you as you go forward to think about the drugs that the doctors recommend. What are they? What do they do? How do they help you? And what are the risks? And conversely, then think about nutrition? How can nutrition help nourish your body? How can it help the structure, the function of your body, this is the way nutrients exert their benefits. And it’ll help you if you understand that, and we’re going to touch upon that in this discussion on enzymes. So keep that in mind as we go forward.

So it’s just discussion of food intolerances, brain fog, enzymes in general that I’m pleased to introduce to you, Julia Craven, Julia, Welcome to Health Quest podcast.

Julia Craven 

Thank you so much for having me here. I am just overjoyed to be able to share this information with your listeners.

Steve Lankford 

Well, you had mentioned to me that you actually have a personal experience. I love to start off my interviews, understanding a little bit more about the history of our guests. What is it that got you interested in the field of nutrition, and in particular, your experience, then with food intolerances, give us a little bit about your background, and how you came to be here at Enzymedica, today.

Julia Craven 

I was 17 when I walked into my first health food store. And I was so fascinated with the names of the herbs and the smells and all of the ingredients that weren’t in a typical conventional life that I kept on going back. And eventually I worked in my first health food store as my summer job in high school, and I never left and that was over 30 years ago now. So I’ve been in this industry starting on the retail side since 1990. And through that you learned so much you learn so much just by speaking with people and helping them to learn and understand. So from there I became very much a self taught person. I worked in the retail side for about 15 years. I went through massage school I became a certified doula. I am a certified yoga instructor now, so I spent all this time In the natural channel, and yet, I knew nothing about enzymes, I knew that certain products sold really well. People were very, very loyal to them.

But there was no company at the time really doing a lot of enzyme education until I came across Enzymedica. And so I started devouring their education. And then I started reading my own enzyme books. And then I started doing more research online and talking to holistic gastroenterologists. And I became fascinated with the capacity and the power of taking supplemental digestive enzymes. So I became very close with Enzymedica, before I ever worked with them. I was officially hired as we don’t know what your job title is, but we know we need you and have held many roles within the company. So when I was that retailer learning about enzymes, I thought I was gluten intolerant, casein intolerant, I thought I might have had a learning disability. I had severe restless leg syndrome. And I didn’t know but at the time, I was also I had cancer and it was undiscovered. So I started playing with digestive enzymes. And I had been working with elimination diets for a long time really struggling to try and figure things out. And through elimination diets alone, it wasn’t quite enough, I started taking enzymes, I will say a lot of digestive enzymes from Enzymedica, for about four months before I really started to notice a difference. And within the time span of a year, my food intolerances were well under control, I knew what was going on. I sailed through cancer treatment very, very seamlessly through a lot of nutritional support. I was very, very diligent about my diet and lifestyle during that time, but enzymes were part of it. And they completely transformed my life. And this was a person who was really knowledgeable in the industry trained in many, many things, lots and lots of education.

And yet, I didn’t know anything about enzymes. And so it became my mission to make sure that enzymes were a available to people of all different levels of income, no matter where they shop, that they would be able to afford an enzyme. And it wasn’t just something that was kind of spendy, but also that the education was really, really out there. And so I’m very blessed to be able to live my mission through Enzymedica.

Steve Lankford 

Well, learning for oneself and your story is very similar to so many of the people that I have interviewed, people get into this industry, oftentimes for a personal passion for a reason that affects them, their children, their relatives, there’s a reason why we look beyond for something more natural, perhaps that can help us be better, heal better restore our energy, and all of the things that we now know that nutrition does. And it’s simple for me to say this. And I think it’s profound. And I think it’s true, that we cannot be fully healthy if we are not well nourished. And that goes perhaps doubly for people who have a health challenge, you describe having cancer, I’m sure there was a lot of extensive, maybe hyper nutrition.

My wife, as our listeners know, has had an adulthood filled with rheumatoid arthritis. And at times, this was a very devastating disease for her for which she has now been able to be well restored. And one thing I could say that she uses every day are enzymes, she has found them so important for her own health. But the idea that Good nutrition is important for everyone, more so if you have a health condition, and even if you’re being treated by a doctor, doctors don’t treat your nutritional needs. That’s why we need to do it in either case. So I love your story, because it’s born out of passion and experience. And maybe someday we’ll come back and touch upon that story that you alluded to, and hear just what it was it was impactful for you. I’d like to hear just a little bit before we get into our interview. Your thoughts about Enzymedica. What is their focus mission? What type of company are they as a supplement company?

Julia Craven 

Well Enzymedica was founded in 1998, so we are a legacy company. And it was founded with this idea that nobody really knew what enzymes did. Once the founder was able to learn about enzymes. He thought why doesn’t everybody know this? Why doesn’t everybody know that enzymes are dependent their activity is dependent on the pH in which they are going to work and that we have various pH ranges throughout our digestive system. Nobody else was even thinking about this in the late 90s.

And so it was really started with this mission of oh my gosh, these are such powerful substances for human health, and yet nobody really knows how to formulate them or how they work. We had some papaya enzymes on the market at the time and we had some animal focused or animal derived enzymes on the market at the time, but nobody was really doing it well. And that was how Enzymedical was born. Now, that was 1998.

To this day, Enzymedica is a privately owned company. And as we know, that gets more and more rare, every single day. So we are a privately owned company, and we are a family. There are people that I have worked with since 2007, that are some of the closest people in my life, many, many people have a long legacy. And I bring that up because it means so much about our culture, we are also driven by research, we are doing a lot of new and exciting research on enzymes, not just in what enzymes can break down because we’re very familiar with what kinds of enzymes break down certain kinds of foods, in different environments, the pH, now we’re doing research on what to enzymes do in the microbiome. We’ve been doing research for quite a while on what to enzymes do away from food and in your bloodstream.

So there are so many new frontiers with enzymes, and Enzymedica has always been at the front of them. And then it’s also just about the core of digestive health. Sometimes it’s not an enzyme, that is the best thing for the job, or there is an additional ingredient. The Deglycyrrhizinated licorice DGL is a fantastic example of that tons of research behind DGL, it has a very specific activity on the mucosal lining of the digestive system, something an enzyme doesn’t do as much. But combined with enzymes, we’re presenting complete digestive health. And that’s what we’re going for. So we’ve started to branch out a little bit in different ways. But always with that core of whole body health.

Steve Lankford 

Well, I don’t know of another company that has the kind of focus on enzymes that you have. And talking about being a privately held company, my listeners are going to know that I believe this is where you’re going to find the truth and the passion about nutrition because you have passionate owners who are vested in this knowledge and this technology who have a reason for being in the business. So often, these days because the popularity of nutrition and because health food stores have been very successful at building a message which is now ubiquitous across all kinds of platforms. And yet what is missing so often is the commitment that comes with creating a nutritional product. So many companies, they have products, and they have profits, but they don’t have the philosophy that actually led to this particular movement.

And so this is what’s so important about communicating that to listeners when you’re looking for the best products, look for the best companies. And we’ve talked in the past about how you identify a good company. Well, I happen to think one way is listened to Health Quest podcast, because that’s who we work with are the best companies in the industry, such as Enzymedica. So let’s turn our attention then just briefly to what are enzymes for all these people that we’ve talked about who don’t know and don’t appreciate what enzymes are, just give us a short primer on their role in human nutrition.

Julia Craven 

I love this question because people tend to think of enzymes as something outside of ourselves. There’s something that maybe you think of as a digestive supplement, or you’ve put enzymes down your drain to help clean your drain, maybe you’ve had enzymes in your facial care products. But they are not something that is just outside of ourselves. In fact, we need enzymes to be alive. There are 75,000 enzymes in the human body. These are our endogenous enzymes, they are the enzymes that our bodies create. And without these enzymes, no life would exist. no living thing exists without the activity in the presence of an enzyme. So they are essential to life. And when we supplement with enzymes, we’re only supplementing that enzyme activity in our body.

So what are enzymes? We’ve had a lot of education about what are probiotics. So it used to be that bacteria were bad and they weren’t good. And then this whole revolution happened. And now we really understand probiotics and the benefits of all these bacteria. And I think the next revolution is with enzymes, because all enzymes are long chains of amino acids that are folded in in a certain way. They have different kinds of structures in their folding, and in that folding of these long chains of amino acids is something magical happens and that’s called the active site. I have been searching for over 10 years on what makes an active site an active site the most advanced research that I can find and still just there is an active site. That is where the catalytic energy reaction happens with an enzyme. It’s when enzymes, they’re called hydrolytic enzymes. But when enzymes hit water, and they’re in the right pH, and they have what we call the substrate, which is the thing that’s going to break down the spark to life, they begin to catalyze reactions. And that’s what enzymes do.

So we’re filled with enzymes, everything living is filled with enzymes. And the cool thing is, they’re just these long chains of amino acids. You know, what if your body doesn’t use them, breaks them down to amino acids, no big deal. They don’t become toxic in the body, they don’t collect in the body, they are so incredibly safe, because our bodies also know exactly what to do with them.

Steve Lankford 

Well, I’m very excited about this conversation, one, because we’re going to explore an avenue of the benefits of enzymes. And this is something that I think a lot of people experience, or at least they think this is what they’re experiencing. You alluded to your own personal history. So our topic today is food intolerances. And then I’m supposing we’re going to talk about the role of enzymes, and perhaps other nutrients as well, that are beneficial for people who might be experiencing this. So give us an introduction to food intolerances, how big is this problem? What does it encompass in its broad approach, and then we’ll narrow it down a little bit.

Julia Craven 

Food intolerances are massive. Because the truth is, anyone can be intolerant to anything. So anyone can have an intolerance to any kind of food. And the only way that you really find that out is by doing a couple of things. One is keeping a food journal can give you a great lead on what you might be intolerant to because you’ll note how you feel after when you eat certain foods. But the big food intolerances are grains, specifically gluten from from grains. And that’s very, very well known now, dairy, which really is two intolerances in one. And that’s an intolerance to dairy sugar, which is lactase and dairy protein, which is casein. So people often try the lactase enzymes. And it’s really only dealing with part of the problem. Soy is also a huge food intolerance, as is corn. So there are some they’re kind of like the big ones there.

But then we get folks who are having more than a food intolerance, and that that’s an allergy. And we’re very familiar with those allergies, shellfish nuts. And in the case of gluten, that is more celiacs. So there’s a huge range here. But the important thing to know is that just because you don’t think that it’s gluten or dairy or soy, or corn, trust your instinct, if you don’t feel good after you eat something, there is a reason for it. And it’s consistent.

So try eliminating it from your diet first, and see what happens for you. And the truth is, it may not even be that food, it may be something that that food is typically treated with, or has a cross contamination with, or it’s preserved by, it can be so many different things. And we really have to be the detectives of our own health. Because we all eat every single day. It’s what we eat, what we drink, and what we breathe, are our big influences. So it really bears paying attention to how we respond to everything we put in our mouths. And the cool thing is, it’s the cost of a notebook, the power to start writing things down anytime. It doesn’t even require a ton of testing to get started.

Steve Lankford 

I think that’s a great tip that you just gave. And I’d like to explore that just a little bit. You’re talking about say journaling, is that the term that we would use here where people are writing down maybe what they’re eating, explain for us that process, what would somebody who’s listening to this interview, who suspects they might be having these kinds of issues? What’s a good place for them to start?

Julia Craven 

First of all, I want to say it doesn’t have to be a big project that you do every day, it can take under five minutes. When I started and I was really trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. I’m not even 30 years old, living healthier than most people I know and have all these issues. It started with me taking five minutes before I went to bed at night. I recorded what I ate throughout the day I recorded if I had any reactions in the morning, I would record how I felt I slept this is in the days before everybody having a fitness tracker on their wrist or on their ring. There was the old school I had a notebook took me five minutes. After you write down enough times I had bread, then I felt really bloated and sleepy, your brain starts to make that connection.

Healthy diet food. Various low fodmap ingredients selection - meat, vegetables, berry, fruit, grains, Trendy healthy lifestyle concept.

So it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Now we have the benefit of everyone has a cell phone in their pocket. And there are programs that help you to do this if you’re more technologically inclined; I use one where I can just hashtag, wheat, gluten, corn, whatever it might be. And then I can search a hashtag. And I can see every day I ate it and what happened. You can do it old school notebook, or you can do it using some technology.

But I want to encourage people that it doesn’t need to be a big thing. A lot of times, folks have a response, like, I don’t have time to do that, or I don’t have energy to do that. Believe me, I understand. I used to do it in bed as I was falling asleep, probably kind of dopey from a food intolerance. And one page done. And you have started tracking, like I said, you write it down enough times, you begin to recognize a pattern.

Steve Lankford 

So what were the main ones for you? Let’s look at your personal situation. What did you discover in this journey for yourself?

Julia Craven 

Well, in the beginning was at the time where everybody was talking about gluten intolerance. And there weren’t very many gluten free foods that were any good at that point. But I really thought this has to be gluten, I have all of the things that go along with gluten intolerance. I have this other weird, like, I can’t focus reaction, but I had a lot of the other things that were described as gluten intolerance. And so I eliminated gluten and helped, didn’t fix it. That’s a right around the time that I found the enzyme from Enzymedica called DPP-4 dipeptidyl peptidase-4. And that really did start to alleviate some of the gluten intolerance.

food sensitivity word in vintage letterpress wood type printing blocks

Because for anyone who’s going through this process, you don’t just give up wheat overnight. It’s very hard to do. It’s a process. And so I would have slips every once in a while. And I would use the gluten digesting enzymes to help me to come through that. And that’s where I really started to see like, this is something happening in my digestive system. I didn’t even truly understand it at that time. And I started eliminating lots of things. I eliminated gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, of course, anything processed. And all of those things helped. But they didn’t fix it. What fixed it was doing all of those things, plus the digestive enzymes.

Now I know what was going on, was that I had leaky gut, which is incredibly, incredibly prevalent, and people don’t even know they had it. And so how, as a young person, did I get leaky gut? Well, I had some strep throat and some infections when I was a kid, and my mom being a fantastic mother always took me to the doctor, and I got on antibiotics, but as a little kid, and I grew up basically with Candida. And so by the time I was in my mid 20s, that Candida had wreak such havoc on my gut, that it had turned into leaky gut.

So what happens there is that kinda doesn’t matter what you eat, a lot of those proteins are able to enter into your bloodstream, and many of them can cross the blood brain barrier. And that’s why I was getting the brain fog and the tired, and the adrenal exhaustion and feeling absolutely like No 28 year old who’s trying to live a healthy life should feel. So I really learned the difference between what is an intolerance, which is basically I don’t have quite enough of that enzyme. And if I take an enzyme, I can break it down pretty easily to a sensitivity, which is where I was at, where there has been damage to the gut for many different reasons.

This can happen from Candida medication, nerve damage due to surgeries, it can happen for so many different reasons. And you can end up in that situation where you start to be like almost no matter what I eat, I don’t feel good. And then an enzymes can help with that. But that’s very dietary oriented as well. And then on the far side, we have allergies, which are an immune reaction that are innate. Enzymes don’t treat allergies whatsoever, but they may help after ingestion with some cleanup work if there’s an accidental cross contamination.

So my story is that being in the industry, I think many of us have had these these shelves in our cabinets, where it’s like, I take Rhodiola for energy and B Complex and I take magnesium to sleep at night and melatonin and my multivitamin my fish. It’s taking like 30 Different things a day just to try and feel okay. As I started taking enzymes and feeling better and better, I noticed I was taking less and less of those supplements. And over a couple of years period of time I got healed, I was able to widen my food ranges, still taking enzymes. But right now, I virtually have zero brain fog, I have no digestive issues. I still stay away from those problem foods.

But the reality is that I try out for a living and sometimes I’m stuck in an airport for eight hours. And I don’t know if what I’m eating is gluten free. They say it is but I’m not sure. And the enzymes can really help me in those situations. So I want to let people know that the gut can be healed. There’s a lot of literature about that around this that says the gut can’t be healed, the gut can absolutely be healed. It’s made to heal if we let it, we just have to stop putting down those offensive foods. And by offensive I mean we can’t break down. And then support with digestive enzymes, probiotics, there’s some beautiful herbs and other nutrients that can also help with gut healing. But it is entirely possible.

Steve Lankford 

It’s a wonderful message because so often the people I’ve met who deal with these challenges, oftentimes are very discouraged, because the modern medical treatments don’t often lead them to the success of healing. This is where there’s a different philosophy of how to approach these problems. And so the nutritional problem, and let me just see if I understand what you’ve just described there, because talk about one a history of being on antibiotics, well, more people are now understanding that, but they so often miss the point that they’re killing off their own good bacteria at the same time, they’re on the antibiotics. So this probiotic revolution certainly has gave people a new tool to use and an important tool and an understanding of even fermented foods. So if you find yourself in a situation like that, to understand that there are things that you can do to aid your body in this process, when it comes to looking at digestive enzymes, and I said digestive. I threw that in there, because that’s what I’m often thinking. And I know they’re not just digestive. But when we take these enzymes that you’re describing, how is it that they’re exerting their benefits throughout the digestive tract? Is it different in the stomach versus in the small intestines and in the colon? What are we looking at when we’re looking at the range of enzymes and their roles in the digestive system.

Julia Craven 

So enzymes that are used for digestion fall into four main groups, I like to call them families because it makes it really simple. Protease enzymes break down protein, amylase enzymes break down carbohydrates, lipase, enzymes break down fats, and cellulase. enzymes break down fibers so that they can be completely digested. So when you look on the back of an enzyme label, you’ll see so many different words. Why can’t they make it similar because it doesn’t just say amylase, it says lactase, it says, hemicellulase, and xylanase. And all these different kinds of cellulase, is and amylases. But I want people to know, they all roll up into those four enzyme families. So it doesn’t have to be really complicated. And they work in different pH ranges. So enzymes are very specific as to when they will come to their full catalytic reaction or their full activity. So we want to make sure that a product is formulated so that it’s working in the very, very acidic environment of the lower stomach.

Now in our lower stomach, when we secrete our digestive juices, a lot of which is acid, but there’s enzymes in there, we are secreting a lot of proteases. And lipases. Makes sense, right? Two of the hardest things to break down, really begin a mass of their breakdown in the lower stomach, because they’re difficult to break down. They need a lot of acid, they need a lot of enzymes. So our body produces stable enzymes for that purpose. And amylase actually is a digesting enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. It starts in your mouth, there’s something called salivary amylase, so digestion begins in your mouth.

Now we go down, we go into the stomach, that highly acidic environment. And then we go into the small intestine. And this is where more enzymes are met with food that are secreted by the pancreas, pancreatic enzymes, so we get another dose of enzymes. When we’re in the small intestine. These work in in more neutral environment of the small intestine. And it’s so important. It is so important to get that enzyme activity in the small intestine because that is where foods are broken down and nutrients are liberated, and they are liberated so that they can go into our bloodstream and nourish us. So remember, it’s not what you eat, it’s what you digest. You could be eating the most beautiful, local, organic, perfect for your body type foods. And if your digestion is compromised, you’re not really getting the best out of them. We spent a lot of time and money taking multivitamins, but we don’t think about how to optimize our own nutrient assimilation and our own enzymes maintaining our enzymes and also, if needed, taking supplemental enzymes can do that.

So that’s the small intestine and then we move on into the large intestine, which is the microbiome. I call it the microbiome home, because it truly is the home of our health. We know so much more about the microbiome than we’ve ever known before, but we know that it has An immense, immense impact on our immune system or is our immune system incredible impact on serotonin and so many regulatory processes in our body where if the microbiome is out of balance, we’re out of balance. And the reason we need enzymes in the microbiome is because something called biofilm can collect in the microbiome, think of it as like the tartar on your teeth, but it’s in the gut. And when that happens, it’s taking up space in the microbiome, meaning good bacteria can’t set up shop, they can’t proliferate. And we have a perfect area for bad bacteria to grow. And that is called dysbiosis. When there’s a prevalence of bad bacteria over good bacteria, the cool thing is enzymes, whether they be our own enzymes, or supplemental enzymes can come in and help to break down that biofilm, or that undigested food material so that good bacteria has a better opportunity to grow and proliferate our own microfiber Flora can start to take over.

So we all know the effects that that has with the immune system, serotonin regulation nervous system. But what we don’t know is that our own microflora, and probiotics, when they go through their lifecycle when they die, what do they create? Enzymes. So it’s very interesting little lifecycle that set up in our lower gut of we need enzymes to help to keep the microbe by home clean. Like we all clean our house on the regularly it’s about daily upkeep. It’s not about going through once a month and cleaning your house, it’s about what do you do on the daily. And those enzymes have to create an environment where the microflora can really survive and take over and create a positive environment.

So enzymes and probiotics work together hand in hand, and you want that microbiome to be in great shape, because that is where we start to set up the elimination process as well. And we all know without healthy detoxification, we aren’t going to be healthy. We’ve all done enough cleanses and different kinds of detoxes to know the importance and the benefit of regular elimination. So enzymes are very cool, because there’s not much else that available to people that not only helps nutrient absorption, but also enhances normal detoxification pathways, does it quickly and helps us some of the most common complaints, gas, bloating, constipation, occasional heartburn, enzymes do all that in one pill. They’re fantastic. They’re so fun to work with.

Steve Lankford 

They’re amazing. And I’ve often told people and I hope I’m right when I tell them this. And if you’re not making enough of your own enzymes, the only way to get them is to take some supplementally. And fortunately, we have those wonderful enzymes now available to us many different types of formulations. So people can really fine tune what it is that they’re looking for. Well, this topic of food intolerance, I got to bring us back to that because this whole whole topic of enzymes is so interesting, and so important. How can somebody determine if they have a food intolerance or an allergy is this something they can determine by this journaling and this observation, or are there other things that they can look to that can give them more insight,

Julia Craven 

the journaling is a great way to identify intolerances or even sensitivities. But when we start to think about allergies, we really want to go to a professional, a medical professional, preferably good gastroenterologist to help us through this process of actually getting the testing to know exactly what’s going on. Because I’m going to use individuals with celiacs as an example, even the smallest bit of gluten can be very troublesome for these individuals. I’m super lucky, I just had a bad sensitivity, guess what that was totally healable. I just had to heal my gut, eliminate the food for sure that heal my gut and help to take the enzymes to move those gluten proteins through my digestive system and then not keep putting them in my digestive system.

But it’s different. It’s a formal allergy is different. And that is an immune response. And it’s far more serious and takes a lot more diligence, honestly, because you really don’t want to consume that food at any time. And you do want the testing to know for sure that’s what’s going on. Because many times people are spending years and years and years down this diagnostic path. They don’t know what’s going on. And then they get their result from food allergy testing. They put those actions into place, get that food out of their diets, and all of a sudden, like life has changed. And I would never want anyone to delay getting proper food allergy testing if they feel like doing a couple of weeks of food journaling two or three weeks isn’t starting to show them some serious answers.

Steve Lankford 

Well, then It’s an important distinction. And again, if we want to make the point, and we’re not against doctors and medical care, and all of that, that’s not the point of this discussion is to really fine tune those tools that we have. And so food intolerances and sensitivities, it sounds like this is something that people can explore safely on their own. And always advise your medical care what it is you’re doing and making sure that you’re all on the same page. But this is where this conversation can really help those people. And if they have the more serious problems, yes, nutrition can help them there, too. But that’s for a different discussion. So what do people do when they discover these intolerances? Is it as simple as Oh, I’ll take an enzyme and I’ll cut down on my consumption of those foods. Is that a simple solution?

Julia Craven 

Well, it works on a spectrum. So I’m going to use ice cream as an example. Because it’s something that people have a really hard time giving up. You tell someone Hey, maybe you want to think about eliminating dairy? And they say, No, don’t take my ice cream. I know that feeling. So there are those people that will eat a dairy food and they’ll be like, ah, kind of gassy. feel bloated pants don’t quite button, right? That’s just an intolerance. That’s just I don’t have quite enough of the enzyme. Is it ideal that they’ve stopped eating that food? Yeah, it is. But it’s more of a think of it as a minor inconvenience. enzymes work beautifully there, because they can help to fill that enzyme deficiency, to use a term that many of us know they can help to fill that lack of enzymes and allow you a little bit more food freedom.

 Then there’s the person who eats the ice cream, and it’s, I have severe cramping, I feel it for a day, I have diarrhea, I’m so bloated for so long, I get brain fog, I get a headache, that is more along the lines of a sensitivity. Now, enzymes can be super helpful there as well, because they’re gonna break down those materials in the dairy, whether it be the dairy sugar or the dairy protein, they’re going to help to break those down. But the reality is that there’s probably a little bit more going on, and there’s a reaction happening in the gut. So ideally, when we’re to the point of more of a sensitivity, we want to eliminate the food, we want to give the gut a chance to heal.

This goes back to the principles of every healing modality that there ever has been. And it’s resting in the gut. Now, a lot of it happens via fasting. This is why people fast is to help to rest the gut, but simply eliminating the food to the best of our abilities. I know cross contamination is a whole new thing to learn about when you’re going down this path. But eliminating the food to the best of our abilities is truly the answer.

However, because the gut is in a reactionary state, we still want to support with digestive enzymes for all foods to be broken down better, because it’s not just about that one food, it’s about that the digestion in general is compromised somewhere along the way. It could be that you’re not digesting all your foods very well. So that’s the difference between an intolerance the I’m still going to eat the ice cream, I might be a little gassy, too, I’m going to eat the ice cream, I know I’m going to be in pain. I know this is not going to be great. But I really want the ice cream, I might pay for it for three days.

Steve Lankford 

Well, people do have to make these choices. And that is the process of this journey of discovery that they’re on. You mentioned, brain fog. And that’s something that we definitely want to touch upon. You said you have a personal experience with this. We are starting to hear about people having brain fog as long term issues that they’re facing. What is brain fog? Do we have any ideas as to why we experience it? And perhaps most importantly, is what’s the role of enzymes in helping us with this issue?

Julia Craven 

Well, I started learning about the gut brain connection via the connection with digestion and autism and other kinds of things on the spectrum. And this gut brain connection and in 2007 2008, we were just really starting to talk about this. And through my own experience with how it felt for me, is if I was to eat a really natural healthy sandwich, say I had some Ezekiel toast with some avocado and some Himalayan salt, and very, on the surface very, very healthy. But for me, it made me feel like I had just drank a whole container of Nyquil. Like I could not function I was out of it spaced out many times needed to take a nap. So I really it’s like I could not focus on the world in front of me it was more than tired. It was like I could not focus.

So through learning about what happens with children who have autism and and the multitude of sensitivities that they have I learned about something called morphic compounds. So gluten, casein and soy are the big three for morphic compounds, gluteal morphic compounds, casien morphic compounds and soy morphic compounds. What these morphic compounds do is they bind to the same receptor sites in the brain as morphine. So you feel like you really are mentally disabled in a certain way.

So for children on the spectrum, this can look very, very different than it might look for me, for children on the spectrum, it can look like all that brain fog stuff, it could also look like rage, aggression, lots and lots of different things for people really, in the more neurotypical spectrum, it can just look like I can’t focus, maybe I think I have a learning disability. I feel sleepy all the time. What’s wrong with my energy. So what’s happening is that those morphic compounds are binding the same receptor site in the brain there, because of the leaky gut, able to get into the bloodstream go across the blood brain barrier, and cause these neurological reactions. And the more and more research that’s occurring, there’s actually more connection with more serious neurological issues than just brain fog, serious depression, schizophrenia, and gluten intolerance connection is enormous. The more we know, as we move forward, the more we’re seeing that this is a very serious thing with brain function.

Steve Lankford 

It sounds so interesting, I’ve never heard of that connection with these receptor sites. So that’s a new bit of knowledge for me. Well, are we to suggest then, through this discussion, that we might be able to mitigate that effect. One, I think, by eliminating the foods would certainly do that. But the role of enzymes in perhaps aiding the digestive process, also aiding the potential for leaky gut, that if we can do those things, we are improving the way these things happen before they actually get into the bloodstream. And that’s then likely to give us the best results do I understand that’s kind of the where we’re headed here is healing digestion, and improving enzyme activity. Therefore, reducing the amount of these morphic compounds that are in the bloodstream, and eventually finding their way to the brain is that anywhere close to a good understanding?

Julia Craven 

That’s exactly it, we want to take them out of our diet as much as we can. And because there’s damage there, we still need to support the digestion of all kinds of foods, not just those foods, but our entire everything in our meal, because it has been compromised clearly. But once we rest the digestive system, we get those compounds out, that are causing us so much problems, we begin to get enzymes floating in regularly so that it’s breaking down all these different kinds of food substrates, which can be a problem for people, like I said, oftentimes it starts out is like, I think I have gluten intolerance, oh my gosh, it’s casein to oh my goodness, it’s soy, oh my goodness, I can’t even eat anything.

And for me, I found out that I was also had blood sugar dysregulation. And so I had to really start watching carbs. And interesting lot of people figure this out through going on a keto diet, as they figure out that they have various food intolerances, but they didn’t know where they’re just because they went keto and that stuff was eliminated, we want to heal the gut.

There are other things besides enzymes that are really, really helpful things that help to improve the mucosal layer of the gut. Aloe vera juice is one of them. We’ve known that for a really long time, glutamine is amazing for helping to rebuild gut tissue as is DGL, slippery elm, all of these things can help to really nourish that gut tissue so that it can start to regenerate on its own, and keep food where it’s supposed to be, which is in the intestinal tract not leaking into our bloodstream.

Steve Lankford 

Well, it’s important for people to get this kind of overview of what may be important factors because I’ve often suggested to people that you don’t want to treat your disease, what you want to do is nourish specific systems in the body. So if you have a need for enzymes, if you have a need for these other compounds that you mentioned, this is part of the process to understand for each individual that they have these options, and their process of discovery can lead them to these things that can actually help their body to heal. One thing I often wondered is, if a person doesn’t make enough of their own enzymes, I suggested you have to take them. I’ve never really understood whether people will start making their own enzymes more abundantly or is this sort of a chronic long term situation where if you’re out of enzymes, you need to think about this As a long term strategy, any suggestions or wisdom on that topic,

Julia Craven 

I never like to think that anything is chronic, I think that everything is healable. However, there’s something called pancreatic insufficiency. And that is when our pancreas truly is not creating enough of our own enzymes. And in that case, people really could be taking enzymes for the rest of their lives. Also folks who have had their gallbladder is removed. A lot of times, even though the pancreas is still creating enzymes, because the gallbladder isn’t there. They’re not utilizing those enzymes, enzymes aren’t delivered as well. Many of those folks have a lipase deficiency. They say they’re the people who say I just I can’t break down fats. They’re the people that no matter what kind of fish oil, high quality they take, they’re still going to burp it up. And we have at least 700,000 people a year getting their gallbladders out. I mean, it’s epidemic. And so so many people can’t even break down healthy fats. That’s a situation where taking extra lipase enzymes would be really, really helpful to folks.

But I do want to say there’s also the situation where we’re under a lot of stress. Now, when we’re allowed to stress what happens, our digestion starts to shut down. When we go into fight or flight, our digestion is not working optimally. And how many people are working in low grade fight or flight all the time now, like every day, we’re in low grade stress.

And then there’s medications. Medications can also inhibit or tamp down enzyme secretions, a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, does that really well. Way too well, and that would be a situation where the medication is actually the reason. So there’s lots of different reasons that this can happen. But if it truly is a weakness in your own enzyme production, it is not at all harmful to integrate enzymes into your daily life. I do want to say enzyme rich foods to like, go for those juices. And those fermented foods and things like that, that have their own naturally occurring enzymes doesn’t always have to come from a pill.

Steve Lankford 

Well, yes, food is foundational. So certainly choose good foods, understand which ones are problematic for you and target either the elimination or the some type of program process in order to discover and what’s your issue and what you can do about it certainly is good advice. Are there any warnings or contra indications? If somebody wants to try some Enzymedica enzymes, and they wonder, Is this safe for me? Are there any people who maybe should be careful about using enzymes?

Julia Craven 

I love this question. Because enzymes are so incredibly safe to work with. Like I mentioned earlier, many of the substances that we work with specifically herbs, but some other fat soluble nutrients, actually will collect in the body, they will the liver can’t metabolize all of them enzymes, that is not the case. Like I said, if an enzyme is not used, which would be rare, it would just break down into its amino acid componentry easily eliminated by the body. So when you take digestive enzymes with food, those enzymes are really going to be working on the food and breaking down the food.

There’s something called an LD 50. It’s called lethal dose 50, which is what’s the dose at which some substance is going to be lethal, and there is no LD 50 For enzymes. What I will say is that sometimes if a person is coming from a standard American diet, and all of a sudden they decide to take enormous doses of digestive enzymes way off what the label would say, what they might notice is some detoxification, as in some diarrhea, maybe some gas and cramps. So if that happens, it’s actually kind of a good thing may not be super comfortable, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s not the enzyme, it’s actually just things getting cleaned out.

The other warning that there’s that if someone has a lot of ulceration, so say there’s a history of chronic active ulcers, we would want to stay away from too high potency enzymes, and we just want to take lower potency enzymes and make sure to take them with food.

But the only real enzyme contraindication has nothing to do with digestion, it would be if you were to take certain kinds of proteases that are called fibrinolytic, or break down fibrin. And you were to take those on an empty stomach, which means they would be working in the bloodstream. What those do is is break down fibrin in your bloodstream, and they act as a really healthy natural blood thinner. So if you were on a medication that was a blood thinner medication, you would want to work with your practitioner to monitor your fibrin levels and make sure that you weren’t getting too much fibrinolytic activity, it is the only form of contrary indication that we work with with enzymes, and it’s a very easy one to navigate around.

Steve Lankford 

And again, it’s important if you’re under medical care for a particular condition if you’re using a particular medication, learn about the medication learn about your condition and why you’re using it and work with your health care practitioner. This is the way you can ordinated your best result. Well, Julia, gosh, the time has gone by so fast. It’s been a pleasure having this interview time with you. As always, I like to give my guests the last word. Is there anything that we didn’t cover today that you want to make sure our listeners hear,

Julia Craven 

I just want to make sure that our listeners hear that if you are struggling with the inability to concentrate, brain fog, or maybe it’s another symptomology, that you just can’t nail down. Maybe it’s rashes, maybe it’s joint pain. And you think that there’s a food connection, just go down that path be your personal detective, because when it comes to what you consume, and how it affects your body, you do have the power to make those changes. And enzymes can be a huge helper along the way, it is completely possible to heal the digestive system with the right kind of diet and the right kind of supplementation.

Steve Lankford 

Well, I can attest to the value of enzymes. We’ve used them in my family. My wife uses them every day. And they have been such a benefit to us, either on an ongoing basis or even on an occasional basis. Enzymes are one of those things that are unlike any other supplements that people might take. They’re a class unto themselves. So this has been a good introduction to both the enzymes and this issue of food intolerances. So Julie, I want to thank you once again for being my guest. It was most interesting.

Julia Craven 

 Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Steve Lankford 


Julia Craven 

Bye bye

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