- in Nutrition
Most people recognize the importance of vitamins and minerals in their diet.
But few realize the role that enzymes play, and how necessary it is that we get enough of them.
Enzymes are obtained from food, and also produced by the body. All of our tissues, bones, muscles, organs, and cells are run by enzymes.
The primary role of enzymes is to maintain the body’s metabolic process by facilitating chemical reactions, given ideal temperatures, oxygen levels, and pH.
Enzymes speed up every biochemical reaction in our bodies, making a reaction sometimes many millions of times faster than otherwise possible.
To put it simply, enzymes help our metabolism, producing energy from the foods we eat. But they rely on other elements such as nutrients from that food to complete their task.
Enzymes have even been identified a key player in your body’s fight against cancer.
What Are the Different Types of Enzymes?
Scientists have identified over three thousand active enzymes at work in our bodies at one time.
Digestive enzymes help break down the food we eat, while proteolytic enzymes help clean the blood and tissue by helping to break down proteins into amino acids in the bloodstream and soft tissues.
Enzymes are used in all stages of digestion to obtain nutrients from our food. Unique enzymes bind to a specific mineral, protein, or other nutrient, and is responsible for only one biochemical reaction.
For example, the lactase enzyme cannot bind with other types of sugar, protein or anything else. It can only bind with lactose sugar from dairy products..
But most of the tens of thousands of different enzymes in the body have nothing to do with digestion.
The production of one cell, comprised of over one hundred thousand different chemicals, over thirteen hundred enzymes.
DNA molecules are able to work with cells because of the presence of enzymes.
Proteolytic enzymes protect us from free radical damage and the resulting oxidative stress, work to boost the lymphatic system and repair and rebuild the cardiovascular system.
Three of the most powerful of these antioxidant enzymes are Superoxide Dismutase (SoD), Catalase, and Glutathione.
These antioxidants are so much more powerful than any direct antioxidant (plant based or supplemental) that we can ingest, because where a direct antioxidant is used up after neutralizing one free radical, for each of the enzyme antioxidants produced by our bodies, they neutralize millions of free radicals every second.
But our enzymes get used up.
Why Don’t We Have Enough Enzymes?
Age and high stress reduces the ability to manufacture these enzymes, depleting our supply of proteolytic enzymes.
Enzymes are intact in raw foods, but are lost during freezing, and cooking. They are destroyed by heat, at temperatures above 118°F, and some are even destroyed during juicing (this depends somewhat on the type of juicer one uses).
So with age, stress, and a greater portion of our food being cooked, our supply is increasingly depleted.
One way to encourage your body to get back to peak health is to begin juicing, getting a super concentrated amount of the best live enzymes from raw vegetables.
Enzymes and Digestion
The importance of proper digestion cannot be stressed enough. Every part of the process works in conjunction, and must be perfectly synchronized with every other digestive function.
When we are deficient of a particular enzyme, vitamin or mineral, the result is an imbalance which leads to disease.
Digestive problems is a sign that you are also likely not able to rebuild cells, and is a precursor to an array of health disorders.
The obvious symptoms of poor digestion are belches, excessive gas, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, feeling tired after eating or an allergic reaction to a particular food.
The Role of Digestive Plant Enzymes:
Proteases: breaks down protein
Lipases: breaks down fats
Amylase: breaks down carbohydrates/starch
Cellulases: breaks down fiber
Lactases: breaks down milk sugar
Maltases: breaks down malt sugar
Sucrases: breaks down sucrose (refines dugar)
A Nobel Prize nominee in physics, Dr. Peter Rothchile, M.D., states that “Evidence of the effectiveness of enzymes taken orally is beginning to overcome skeptics.
Many of these studies show enzymes when taken orally, demonstrate benefits against circulating immune complexes, rheumatic disorders, and acute immune diseases.”
Enzyme supplements may become necessary as we age, and when we eat food that has been cooked, frozen, or processed in any way. Enzymes are also important for the treatment of obesity.
While digestive enzymes (listed above) are beneficial taken with each meal, others are proteases enzymes, useful for enhancing the immune system on a systemic basis. These are normally taken between meals, or upon rising or going to bed at night.
Two of the proteolytic enzymes are bromelain and papain. Bromelain are comprised of two similar enzymes, extracted from pineapple stems. Papain enzymes are from the unripened papaya fruit.
It is very important however, that enzyme supplementation for both digestion and systemic support originate from pharmaceutical grade plant enzymes. These are in a more purified and stable form than many packaged nutritional enzymes which may contain fillers and contaminants, especially lower priced ones.
Many will vary in strength, ingredients and the amount of fillers they contain.
Although some indicate that we cannot utilize orally taken enzymes, many studies have countered this point (I have yet to come back but will, to insert my references of research).
Here are a few good reads on enzymes if you’d like to learn more.
A man diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer used them to live more than two more decades cancer free. His name was Dr. Kelly, and he wrote a book, which is now out of print but still available on Amazon.
Note that the next book is one written to continue the research started by Dr. Kelly who wrote the book above: