It seems that western medicine still does not know a lot about pancreatitis. In the 50s and 60s there were only about 3 enzymes known to be secreted from the pancreas. Today, there are over 3,000 known enzymes that the pancreas secretes. Most of these enzymes are very specific as to what they do. Even though everyone has pretty much the same enzymes being secreted, they are in varied and finite amounts. What one person has in abundance in the way of enzymes another person may not have as many. Of course, enzymes play a very important role in digestion. Pancreatic enzymes are considered catabolic. Meaning they break foods down to small components for proper assimilation of the nutrients into the body. People lacking the proper enzymes for digestion will have digestion problems including gas, bloatedness, acid indigestion, reflux and GERD. Perhaps even difficulty with elimination habits.
Some people have a very adequate amount of pancreatic enzymes secreted to digest foods and some don't. The pancreas is also sensitive to a lot of outside influences. Too much alcohol and even smoking can cause pancreatic issues for some. The pancreas is called upon throughout the day to assist in the digestion of foods that are especially enzyme dead. All foods that have reached a temperature of 120 degrees when cooking lack all enzymes. Freezing kills all enzymes and certainly all foods that have been canned, boxed or packaged are depleted of enzymes. The pancreas is tenacious because we can continually call upon it often when eating enzymes dead foods and it will continue to secrete enzymes for digestion. When pancreatic enzymes start to wane or are depleted, health issues arise.
One of the reasons that raw foods are recommended to individuals, they are enzyme live and don't depend on the pancreas for their digestive processes. The pancreas can "take a breather" so to speak and replenish/restore itself when enzyme live foods are eaten. Depending on genetics and what foods a person eats can determine how the pancreas is going to function and be viable. Taking digestive enzymes with meals that are enzyme depleted help to take the load off the pancreas.
The irritation or inflammation that can occur in the pancreas from not eating properly or ingesting the wrong things can lead to pancreatitis. If the pancreatitis continues over a long period of time without correction, pancreatic cancer can occur.