Have you thought about your pancreas today? You may have carefully studied your face, felt the beat of your heart, and heard the rumblings of your stomach, but most people give little consideration to the pancreas. It sits near the bottom of the stomach and the duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine, unobtrusively performing its functions when healthy. But if it were suddenly injured or impaired—boy, would you know it! The pancreas produces enzymes to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates, plus it secretes homones such as insulin that specifically affect carbohydrate metabolism. Therefore, the pancreas is either directly or indirectly connected to all other systems of the body, and it is in your best interest to take very good care of it. So what does that include?
Protect and Prevent
Provide your body with key nutrients to ease excess stress on the pancreas and also to offer antioxidant support as a defense against rogue molecules. Below are 6 supplements that are highly beneficial to the health of your pancreas:
- Chromium picolinate—This mineral helps maintain stable blood sugar levels so the pancreas doesn’t have to work overtime secreting insulin to move sugar out of the blood into cells.
- Calcium & Magnesium—They work hand in hand to promote the health of all glands. Be sure to get 1000 mg of calcium per day in food or supplemental form and 400 mg of magnesium.
- Pancreatin—By occasionally using a pancreatin supplement that supplies protease, amylase and lipase before a meal, you actually provide a break for the pancreas. It’s kind of like giving it the night off.
- Vitamin B Complex—The entire complex helps relieve stress on the pancreas, and vitamins B-3 and B-5 in particular are important for fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Vitamin C—Free radical scavenger; best to use a buffered form of vitamin C.
- Lecithin—A fat emulsifier that aids in digestion.
Alcohol & Tobacco
When it comes to the health of the pancreas, studies reveal that alcohol and tobacco are Public Enemy #1. If you are concerned about your pancreas, avoid the use of alcohol entirely. Even though red wine does offer antioxidant benefits, you can obtain the same healthy compounds from pomegranate juice with no risk whatsoever to your pancreas. And stay as far away as possible from tobacco—even second-hand smoke!