Every single metabolic function in your body is governed by enzymes!
Anyone who has any understanding of health has got to be taking enzyme supplements with every single meal they eat. Unfortunately, most people think of enzymes (if they think of them at all) as necessary only if they have some kind of digestive problem. And, yes, it's true that people suffering from digestive problems, hiatal hernias, ulcers, and the like, have benefited greatly from using enzyme supplements. But if that's all you think enzymes are for, you've missed the point. Enzymes are the closest thing to what can be described as a "life force."
What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are complex molecules, vital catalysts that are needed for every chemical reaction in the body.
There are three main groups of enzymes: metabolic, digestive, and food enzymes. Metabolic enzymes cause various chemical reactions within the cells, such as the rebuilding of organs, bones, connective tissue and energy production. Digestive enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract to break down food so the nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The digestive enzymes, which our own bodies produce, include pepsin, trypsin, lipase, and cellulase to help with the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber in the foods we eat. Food enzymes are found in any kind of natural unprocessed food and are there to aid the digestion or breakdown of that food. For example, if you bite into an apple and let it sit for a while, it will turn brown and soft. The enzyme 'amylase' is causing the apple to digest itself.
Health Depends on Enzymes
Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in living organisms. In fact, they are required for every single chemical action that takes place in your body. All of your cells, organs, bones, muscles, and tissues are run by enzymes.
Your digestive system, immune system, blood stream, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas, as well as your ability to see, think, feel, and breathe, all depend on enzymes. All of the minerals and vitamins you eat and all of the hormones your body produces need enzymes in order to work properly. Your stamina, your energy level, your ability to utilize vitamins and minerals, your immune system -- all governed by enzymes.
Chronic Fatigue, Allergies, Constipation, Arthritis, Obesity, Diabetes, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cancer, Hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia. Whatever the problem, enzymes are always part of the solution!!
Our Digestive System
The purpose of our digestive tract is to extract and absorb the essential nutrients contained in our food. Consuming cooked foods can cause our body to take enzymes from the liver, pancreas, and other organs to use in the digestion process. Over time, this can cause these organs to be stressed which can weaken our immune system and slow down our metabolism.
When we consume enzyme-deficient food, the food sits in the upper portion of the stomach putrefying instead of being predigested (due to a lack of enzymes). The body reacts by increasing the white blood cell count as the immune system begins to treat the undigested food as a foreign substance. The body further stresses itself to produce extra digestive enzymes to digest this putrefying material, reducing its ability to produce metabolic enzymes for cellular activity (i.e., helping to rebuild organs, bones, connective tissue, and energy production) thus weakening our immune system. If stomach acids are not able to complete their work before the food moves into the small intestine, the food particles can reach the lymph and enter the blood system undigested!
This putrefied material coats the small and large intestines, reducing the absorption of nutrients and hindering the expulsion of toxins through the intestinal wall. Bacteria and viruses feed and multiply, causing the body to become susceptible to infection, fatigue, and degenerative disease.
The Death of Enzymes
Processing and cooking destroy enzymes in food. (Man is the only animal that cooks his food.) In fact, any sustained heat of approximately 118 - 129 degrees, destroys virtually all enzymes. This means that, for most of us, the food entering our stomachs is severely enzyme deficient. (Actually, there are some enzymes present from our saliva. The amount, however, is minuscule since we only chew our food about 25% as much as is required.) The result is that most of our meals enter our stomachs woefully devoid of enzymes.
Enzymes naturally occur in all raw and fresh foods and they support the body during the digestive process. Most modern techniques of food preparation or preservation (cooking, barbecuing, microwave, pasteurization, irradiation, canning, etc.) all destroy necessary digestive enzymes. Take for example a steak grilled on a charcoal barbecue. You will find as many enzyme-destroying and cancer-producing substances as in several hundred cigarettes. There are also substances in our food, drugs, cleaning products, toothpaste, tanning products, drinks, etc., that destroy the enzymes in our body. These are called "enzyme inhibitors". Here is a small list:
|The less digestion that takes place before food reaches the small intestine the greater the stress placed on the endocrine systems. Recent studies have shown that virtually 100% of all Americans have an enlarged pancreas by the time they're 40. Is it any wonder that diabetes is so rampant in the United States?|
- heavy metals (mercury in amalgams, cadmium in seafood, aluminum in antacids)
- food additives (food coloring, preservatives, and sapidity or taste-enhancing agents)
- pesticides (atrazin, round-up, DDT)
- soil depletion
- prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs (aspirin, Tylenol, cocaine)
- solvents (methanol, ethanol, propenol, formic acid, ethylene glycol, benzene, butanol)
- free radicals (the body produces free radicals during leucocytosis or raised white blood cell count)
- second-hand smoke
This means that we have to pull from our body's own source of digestive and metabolic enzymes to break down that food. It's not that we can't produce more, but it's a struggle for the body to keep up when we are continually consuming cooked, processed, and radiated foods. When we draw from our metabolic enzymes, which help to rebuild organs, bones, connective tissue, and energy production, we are weakening our immune system. Our bodies are busy trying to digest the enzyme-dead foods instead of fighting off illnesses and disease.
As time goes on, you slowly begin to lose your surplus of self-created enzymes. You become less able to eat the spicy foods you love, and less able to recover as quickly from the aches and pains of weekend sports or even daily living, not to mention the reduced stamina and risk of chronic disease.
Moreover, with all the years of eating cooked and difficult-to-digest foods, the body becomes more and more acidic, therefore slowing down the activity of enzymes, because enzymes react negatively to variations of pH levels and to accumulated mutagenic substances.
Stress, accidents, and disease also affect the quantity of enzymes produced and unfortunately also their quality. All of these factors as a whole accelerate the aging process. Who occasionally does not suffer from bad indigestion, gas, bad breath, migraines, constipation, skin problems, fatigue, allergies, sugar cravings, lack of concentration, etc.?
By the same token, we think that the wide range of vitamins, minerals, green foods, hormones and drugs will put us back on the right track. But that's like beating a dead horse with a stick. This will only result in adding more stress to our body, because not only does our body need enzymes for proper absorption, but also to eliminate the excess!
Supplement Your Enzyme-Depleted Body
The question for you, then, is: how could you not be insisting that everyone you know and love use enzymes every time they eat. How could you not be using them every time you eat?
This is a no brainer. In addition to a longer, healthier, and more vital life, you will also experience a number of short term benefits. These include:
- A significant reduction in indigestion and heartburn problems resulting from too much acid in the stomach.
- Since complex carbohydrates are now being substantially digested before they enter the intestinal tract, you should experience relief from gas and bloating. (Some people may actually notice an increase in activity for several days as their digestive systems come alive.)
- Look for improved digestion of dairy products caused by lactose intolerance.
- Diminished food allergies due to more complete protein digestion.
- Greatly reduced flatulence due to more complete carbohydrate digestion.
- Since the digestion of enzyme deficient food is an extremely energy consuming task, within a few days of enzyme supplementation you should notice an increase in energy levels.
- Relief from hiatal hernias.
Relief from ulcers. Digestive enzymes help with ulcers in two ways.
- They help digest so much of your meal during the 40-60 minutes of predigestion that your body requires less acid in the actual digestion phase. This means that taking digestive enzymes will help lower the levels of acid in your stomach. (Those who suffer from chronic low levels of acid need not worry. Digestive enzymes supplements help here too by breaking down so much food in the predigestion phase that less acid is actually required. And over time, decreased demand results in increased reserve capability.)
- Protease will begin breaking down the protective coating of the H. Pylori bacteria responsible for so many ulcers. In other words, it will actually begin to digest it. This is the primary reason digestive enzyme supplements are so helpful for those who have ulcers.
At a minimum, you must use a good enzyme supplement with each and every meal you eat -- particularly any meal that contains either processed or cooked food.
But Wait......There's Even More
Pancreatic enzymes are part of a substance called pancreatin (or pancreas juice) produced in the pancreas. This complex includes the enzymes protease, amylase, and lipase and is released both into the intestines and the bloodstream.
In the intestines, pancreatin works to help digest the proteins, carbohydrates, and starches of our meals. Supplementation with digestive enzymes along with a meal helps share the workload of your body's own pancreatic enzymes and can aid in digestion. But what happens if you take enzymes between meals?
As mentioned earlier, pancreatic enzymes are not only released into the small intestine, but also directly into the bloodstream. Why?
Protein molecules that are only partially digested in the small intestine are absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the immune system treats them as invaders provoking an immune reaction. Antibodies couple with these foreign protein invaders to form circulating immune complexes (CIC's). Now, in a healthy person, these CIC's may be neutralized in the lymphatic system. But if the immune system is in any way compromised, CIC's accumulate in the blood, where they initiate an "allergic" reaction. As the number of CIC's builds, the kidneys max out and can no longer excrete all of the CIC's, so they begin to accumulate in the body's soft tissues, causing inflammation.
It is here that the pancreatic enzymes in our bloodstream come into play. Pancreatic enzymes are able to break down CIC's so that they can pass through the kidneys for excretion.
What does that mean for us? Well, if enzymes are taken between meals, the body doesn't need the enzymes for digesting food, so they make their way directly into the bloodstream to aid in the elimination of CIC's.
But it gets even better. Because of their ability to digest foreign proteins, pancreatic enzymes (both those produced in the body and those absorbed into the bloodstream from taking supplemental digestive enzymes) work to clear out infecting organisms such as viruses, scar tissue, and the products of inflammation.
There is a fun experiment you can perform (that will work with any good digestive enzyme formula) and that will actually let you see the benefit of enzyme supplementation in just a few minutes.
- Make two bowls of instant oatmeal.
- Crush (or mix) a couple of digestive enzyme capsules into just one of the bowls of oatmeal.
- Wait 45 minutes.
Now check. If the formula you are using is any good, there should be a pronounced difference in the two bowls. The untreated bowl should be as expected: congealed, lumpy, stick to your ribs consistency. The bowl with the enzymes will look quite different. It will be “digested” and have the consistency of watery gruel. Which oatmeal would you rather have work through your body: the one that's stuck to the bowl like cement, or the enzyme bowl that's predigested? Which oatmeal do you think is less stressful to digest?
We've often said, "You are what you eat." That is actually not a completely true statement. The real statement is this: "You are what you eat; what you assimilate; and what you eliminate."
Enzymes at a meal will save you much discomfort. If you're going to eat it....make sure you "digest" it....or your food will turn on you. Prevention is the key. Digestive enzymes are efficient and essential workers for restoring normal digestion, a strong immune system, and vital energy.
And don't forget....a couple of times (or more often) a week at night before bed, take your enzyme supplement on an empty stomach.
The Wolfe Clinic carries a variety of digestive enzymes for varied lifestyles, health conditions, and eating habits:
- Maximizer Digestive Enzymes- for those with heavy digestion, constipation, fatigue, high cholesterol, weight problems, glycemic problems, arthritis, acidosis, bad circulation, etc.
- Quadra-Zyme Plus - especially good for people suffering from allergies and for athletes, who need to produce more enzymes than most people.
- Gamma-Zyme - a special formulation without protease, for people who have a more sensitive GI tract that gets easily irritated (ulcers, colitis, gastritis, etc.)
If you were to take only one thing to supplement your diet, it is believed that due to the prevalence of cooked and processed foods, enzymes may be the single most important support for your health and well-being.
Wishing you the best in health,
The Wolfe Clinic