Enzymes & Enzyme Therapy
Enzymes are highly specialized protein molecules which act as catalysts, enhancing the rate of specific chemical reactions in the body. Enzyme activity is truly holistic; most enzymes act together as co-enzymes, or as co-factors with vitamins, minerals and trace minerals for optimum body efficiency. Enzymes exist in all living things. They possess biological as well as chemical properties, and are involved with every single function of the body. Without them we could not breathe, digest food, or even move a muscle.
There are three categories of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, which run the body processes, repair damage, decay, and heal disease; our own digestive enzymes, which assimilate carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the body, and most importantly, raw food enzymes, which start food digestion and aid the body’s digestive enzymes so they don’t have to carry the whole load. Within these categories, there are over 1,000 different kinds of acid, alkaline or neutral enzymes that are quite specific in their functions, acting only on a specific substance, or a group of chemically related substances. Yet enzyme activity and integration is so marvelously efficient that it works in milliseconds, with one hundred percent productivity. In fact, digestive enzymes in human beings are stronger than any of the body’s other enzymes, and more concentrated than any other enzyme combination found in nature. A very good thing, since our processed, overcooked, nutrient-poor diets demand a great deal of enzymatic work!
Here are three interesting facts about food zymes:
- All food whether plant or animal, has its own enzymes that served it in life. When eaten, these become the property of the eater, are now its food enzymes, and begin immediately to work for the eater ’s digestive benefit.
- All animal organisms have the proteolytic enzyme Cathepsin, which comes into play after death, and becomes the prime factor for autolysis. In other words, the food helps in its own breakdown for the good of the eater.
- Only enzymes found in whole, unprocessed foods give the body the vital. force it needs to work properly, to replace cells, and to rebuild in healing. Humans cannot independently assimilate food; the body must also have the help of the food itself.
Enzyme Therapy has recently evolved from the ability of science to isolate metabolic enzymes. Many naturopaths and chiropractors now use enzyme-containing medicines to clean wounds, dissolve blood clots (Streptokinase), and control allergic reactions. Certain diseases, such as cancer, leukemia, anemia, and heart disease can even be diagnosed by measuring the amount of various enzymes in the blood and body fluids. Proteolytic enzymes are being used successfully as anti-inflammatory agents for sports injuries, respiratory problems, degenerative diseases, and healing from surgery. Anti-oxidant co-enzymes, such as Glutathione Peroxidase, and Superoxide Dismutase, (SOD), an anti-oxidant enzyme that works with Catalase, scavenge and neutralize cell damaging free radicals by turning them into stable oxygen and H2O2, and then into oxygen and water. There is even an enzyme, Cathepsin, which is stored in our systems for our death, to break down cells and tissue for the body’s return to the earth’s organic matrix.
The most significant function of enzymes for most of us is the food assimilation process. Digestion is the enzymatic process of mechanically breaking down food, and then chemically converting it for absorption by the body. Digestive enzymes are found mainly in pancreatic juices, the saliva and the small intestine. Digestive action begins in the mouth when the saliva enzymes Ptyalin and Maltase act on starch and maltose conversion. In the stomach, gastric juices secrete the enzymes pepsin, lipase and rennin to start the breakdown of proteins, fats (including cholesterol), and milk products. In the small intestine, pancreatic juices secrete the enzymes Trypsin, Steapsin, and Amylopsin to further the digestion of fats, proteins and starches. Several other small intestinal enzymes complete the final process. The remaining five percent of the original meal then proceeds to the colon where water and electrolyte salts are extracted, and enzymes stimulate colonies of bacteria to feed on the waste. This final stage is where many nutritional deficiencies are manifested as colon and bowel problems. If these bacteria are not activated, unabsorbed food waste will not be decayed for elimination, and auto-intoxication results.
Note: Besides enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile activity are essential parts of good digestion. HCL sterilizes and acidifies foods in the stomach, working with pepsin and water to make chyme. The chyme is then neutralized by highly alkaline juices from the pancreas and the intestine, and by bile from the liver and gall bladder. Bile also works with lipase to emulsify fats and convert them to beneficial fatty acids.
The Most Important Enzymes for Digestion
Digestive enzymes are categorized by the function they perform, plus the ending “ase”’ i.e. lactase breaks down milk sugar into glucose and galactose.
- Amylase-digests starches.
- Bromelain-a proteolytic, anti-inflammatory food enzyme from pineapple. Aids digestion of fats
- Catalase-works with SOD to reduce free radical production
- Cellulase-digests cellulose, the fibrous component of most vegetable matter.
- Chymotrypsin-helps convert chyme (see above)
- Diastase-a potent vegetable starch digestant.
- Lactase-digests lactose, or milk sugar, (almost 65% of humans are deficient).
- Lipase-digests fats.
- Mycozyme-a single-celled plant enzyme for digestion of starches.
- Pancreatin-a broad spectrum, proteolytic digestive aid, derived from secretions of animal pancreas; important in degenerative disease research.
- Papain and Chymopapain-proteolytic food enzymes from unripe papaya; a vegetable pepsin for digestion of proteins. These help to loosen necrotic undigested and encrusted waste material from the intestinal walls.)
- Pepsin-a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins into peptides. Can digest 3500 times its own weight in proteins.
- Protease-digests proteins.
- Rennin-helps digest cow’s milk products.
- Serrapeptase-five times more potent than chymotrypsin for breaking down proteins and, when used systemically, reduces inflamation and fibrotic tissue. This interesting enzyme is made by the silk worm for one reason, to eat a hole in the pulpa so the larva can escape and have a life. Non toxic in any amount. Highly recommended. 20 mg per day.
- Trypsin-a proteolytic enzyme.
- Natural sources of enzymes are bananas, mangos, sprouts, unripe papayas, avocados and pineapples.
Some final words about maximizing your own enzyme production:
Enzymes are extremely sensitive to heat. Even low degrees of heat can destroy food enzymes and greatly reduce digestive ability. Fresh, raw foods not only require much less digestive work from the body, they can provide many more of their own enzymes to work with yours. Have at least one fresh salad every day.
Many nutrient deficiencies result from the body’s inability to absorb them, not from the lack of the nutrients themselves. While science had not been able to manufacture enzymes synthetically, many have been isolated in pure crystalline form and can be used by man to support enzyme deficiencies. Supplemental digestive enzymes and acids help insure assimilation, and maximize utilization of core nutrients for health and healing. If you can’t make them, take them.
About Co-enzyme Q10: A vital enzyme catalyst in the creation of cellular energy. Found in rice bran, wheat germ, beans, nuts, fish and eggs, it is synthesized in the liver. The body’s ability to assimilate food source CoQ10 declines with age. Supplementation has a long history of effectiveness in boosting immunity, increasing cardiac strength (it pools oxygen around the heart), reversing high blood pressure, promoting natural weight loss, inhibiting aging and over coming periodontal disease.