Enzymes and You

Prior to his retirement in 1970, Dr. Edward Howell, a well known food enzyme researcher, said why he believed, “Enzymes may be the key factor in preventing chronic disease and extending the human lifespan. Enzymes are substances which make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction in that occurs in our body. Without enzymes, no activity at all would take place. Neither vitamins, minerals, nor hormones can do any work — without enzymes.” In 1946, Dr. Howell wrote the book, “The Status of Food Enzymes in Digestion and Metabolism.” His most recent book is entitled, “Enzyme Diet.”

Most people today don’t realize it, but enzymes are a vital element in maintaining good health. Enzymes are responsible for every reaction in the human body. Without enzymes, we simply die. When enzyme production by the pancreas is insufficient, we can also have many, many health problems.

At this point you might be asking, “If our pancreas produces enzymes, why do we need to be concerned about getting them in our diet?” The answer is, our body has a limited ability to produce quality enzymes. Every time our pancreas is called on to produce enzymes, we are “using up” that ability to produce a good copy of the enzyme. Nature designed our systems to work with the enzyme content in foods provided in the natural world. When we eat raw food, it goes to the upper portion of our stomach where it is held, it is primarily here where digestion occurs. We have all been led to believe that the “acids” in our stomach digest the foods. This is just not correct! It is the enzymes within the foods that are responsible for digesting the food.

Once food has been acted upon by the enzymes, the material drops down into the lower portion of the stomach where additional enzymes go to work. The hydrochloric acid within the stomach does one primary thing. It lowers the pH of the stomach contents so other enzymes can go to work on different material. The point is this, when there are no enzymes within the food we eat, we set up an unhealthy series of events.

Whatever food is properly broken down from the enzymes supplied by the pancreas is absorbed as nutrients. The remainder of what we eat simply goes through the process of rotting. This process gives off gas, harmful waste products and damages the good bacterial culture within the colon.

The pancreas, being forced to produce massive amounts of enzymes, usually 2-3 times a day, way more than it was ever intended to do, gradually loose its ability to produce enzymes. With this, the entire metabolic system is slowly affected along with it, thus the aging process, the degenerative changes with the breakdown in our immune systems. Just imagine, if you will, let us say there has been 40 to 60 years of this taking place in our bodies. Thus making each and every meal we eat without enzymes causing a strain on the immune system just through the fact that our white blood cells contain enzymes that are used to digest and destroy foreign invaders and dead material our bodies try to get rid of. When our food is enzyme deficient, this causes much strain upon the immune system.

Another aspect to this is the continuous depletion of metabolic enzymes within the body. Enzymes within the blood stream and throughout the body that help clean the system, by breaking down fats, and other harmful materials. Think about it, what might happen if these enzymes are not there, and you go 40 or 60 years with the effects of accumulated fats within the system, and the damaging waste products which build up in the system would cause? Is there any wonder that heart disease is a major killer in this country? There’s only one enzyme that can break down fats within the body, and that is lipase. Without lipase, you don’t digest fat, you store it. This alone can result in weight gain and heart disease.

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Good health or bad health isn’t something that suddenly just happens. Whether we experience good health or bad health is a result of our life style and our daily habits which produce the end results. You simply can’t abuse the system like that for so many years and not expect there to be a significant damage in the process.

So what is the answer? It is most important that one change their lifestyle, which can improve this situation. The simple facts are this, if you eat foods that have been processed or cooked above 118 degrees, you can rest assured that there are “no enzymes” within that food. You also can’t expect to eat a full course meal of cooked foods, and then just eat a “raw” salad, expecting the enzymes within the salad to “digest” your entire meal. In almost every case, foods contain enough enzymes to “self digest, and no more.

The other choice is to ignore this basic truth and do nothing. The results for this kind of decision making are being experienced today by millions of people all over the country. The United States has the best medical system on the planet, yet we Americans have the worst health of any modern nation on earth. Doesn’t that tell you that there is something wrong? The choice really is yours to make!

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Digest Your Food With Raw Enzymes

Most raw food, like our bodies, is very perishable. When raw foods are exposed to temperatures above 116 degrees, they start to rapidly break down, just as our bodies would if we had a fever that high. One of the constituents of foods which can break down are enzymes. Enzymes help us digest our food. Enzymes are proteins though, and they have a very specific 3-dimensional structure in space. Once they are heated much above 118 degrees, this structure can change.

Once enzymes are exposed to heat, they are no longer able to provide the function for which they were designed. Cooked foods contribute to chronic illness, because their enzyme content is damaged and thus requires us to make our own enzymes to process the food. The digestion of cooked food uses valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest your food. Digestion of cooked food demands much more energy than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in 1/2 to 1/3 of the time it takes for cooked food.

Eating enzyme-dead foods places a burden on your pancreas and other organs and overworks them, which eventually exhausts these organs. Many people gradually impair their pancreas and progressively lose the ability to digest their food after a lifetime of ingesting processed foods.

Lack of digestive enzymes can be a factor in food allergies. Symptoms of digestive enzymes depletion are bloating, belching, gas, bowel disorders, abdominal cramping, heartburn and food allergies.

Digestive enzymes are proteins specially tailored to break down foods into nutrients that your body can then readily digest. The human body produces some 22 different digestive enzymes. Many more are found in the fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and other foods.

When you eat a meal, digestive enzymes that are released from your salivary glands, stomach, and small intestine immediately get to work to speed up the digestive process. Each enzyme acts on a specific type of food.

Bromelain
Derived from the stems of pineapple, it is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. This natural digestive enzyme may also be helpful as a diet aid. Pineapples have had a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America.

DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root)
A natural antacid, where the glycirrhizinic acid component of the root has been removed. DGL may stimulate our bodies defense mechanisms resulting in improved quality of mucous, lengthening of intestinal cell life and enhanced microcirculation in the gastrointestinal lining.

Papaya
A tropical fruit containing active enzymes that help improve digestive and metabolic functions. Derived from the fruit, inner bark and stems, Papaya Enzymes contain a high concentration of papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that quickly metabolizes the protein in foods.

Enzymes – Classification And Function

Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in most of the biochemical process that occurs in the body. Catalyst is a substance that accelerates a chemical reaction, but it is not consumed or changed in the process. The level of functioning of enzymes in the body depends on the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals. There are many enzymes which cannot perform without incorporating a single molecule of a trace mineral like copper, iron or zinc. Enzymes first came to the attention of biochemists in the 1930’s. Initially some 80 enzymes were identified. Now the figure has increased to 5,000.

Enzymes can be widely classified into three major categories.

· Metabolic enzymes – They play a role in breathing, talking, moving, thinking, behavior and maintenance of the immune system. A subset of metabolic enzymes operates to neutralize poisons and carcinogens like pollutants, DDT and tobacco smoke. They change these into less toxic forms that the body can easily eliminate.

· Digestive enzymes – Mostly manufactured by pancreas, they are 22 in number. They are secreted by glands in the duodenum. Hey help to break down the bulk of partially digested food leaving the stomach.

· Food enzymes – They are present in raw food. They initiate the digestive process in the mouth and upper stomach. They include proteases for digesting protein, lipases for digesting fats and amylases for digesting carbohydrates.

Raw food is very important in the diet. The enzymes in raw food initiate the process of digestion, thus reducing the body’s requirement to produce digestive enzymes. All the enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and a dry-heat temperature of about 150 degrees. The built-in mechanism in the body determines whether the food we consume contains its enzyme contents. When we consume cooked food, an enzyme-poor diet, we use up huge amount of our enzyme potential in the outpouring of secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result may be a shortened life-span, illness and lowered resistance to stress.

Enzymes are capable of processing millions of molecules every second. They are very specific and react with one or only a few types of molecules. Naming of enzymes is easier than other compounds. The naming depends on what the enzyme reacts with and how it reacts. Lactase is the enzyme that reacts with lactose.

While all enzymes have a biological function, some of them are used commercially for other purposes. Enzymes are used as biological detergents. They are used in the baking industry, in baby foods, brewing industry, fruit juices, dairy industry, starch industry, rubber industry, paper industry and photographic industry.

Enzymes – Great Workers In Human Body

Enzymes are the workers in the human body that make everything function by enabling chemical reactions. All the living cells in body contain enzymes but they are hard to visualize, since they are not tangible things. Enzymes are one of the most important things in human body that do everything ranging from helping us to breathe to digestion to living life. So most chemical reactions in the body would occur too slowly without the effects of enzymes.

An enzyme is a protein that catalyzes, or speeds up a chemical reaction. Enzymes help in digestion of food. The digestive enzymes in our human bodies break down food into tiny particles that get easily accumulated by the body into the blood stream. These are the compounds that our human body uses for fuel, repair and growth. Food is filled with enzymes called “food enzymes” that help in the digestion of food. When we cook our food we unconsciously destroy those enzymes.

How do pancreas work?

Our body, in general, can manufacture enzymes called “digestive enzymes” in our pancreas. When we eat a diet that is filled with mostly cooked and processed foods, devoid of all enzymes, then pancreas starts working hard on it and thus manufactures the enzymes that the body needs to digest the food. So pancreas overworks and the body starts spending much more energy and resources on digestion instead of spending on important things like boosting an immune system, fighting diseases and repairing body parts.

Types of enzymes

However you should try to heal the overworking capacity in pancreas by filling it with an abundance of enzymes. Foods rich in enzymes include raw materials, vegetables, seeds and nuts, as well as marinated and fermented foods. After you complete overloading your pancreas with enzyme supplementation you can check with your health care provider whether you need more medication to improve on your enzyme building system.

Food enzymes not only help in digestion procedure but they also help in cleansing the body, breaking down allergens and environmental products that can potentially prove to be harmful. So we should always have a diet that contains a range of fresh enzyme filled foods, to make our bodies stay disease free.

Capacity of enzymes

For most enzymes to operate in the body, the optimal temperature is 37 degree Celsius or 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the human enzymes have a maximal activity at pH around 7.2, which is the pH of most body fluids. However, there are exceptions such as, pepsin. However, this enzyme is most effective in the highly acidic conditions of the stomach, pH 2. The pancreatic enzymes work optimally in the alkaline conditions of pH 8.5 of the small intestine.

Enzymes have a plethora of responsibilities in the body, digestion, metabolism of carbohydrates, and much more. With all the right ingredients of enzymes, the body can remain fit and healthy.

Characteristics of Enzymes

The word enzyme comes from the Greek ‘ensymo’. Here ‘en’ means ‘at’ or ‘in’ and ‘simo’ means ‘leaven’ or ‘yeast’. The enzymes are biological catalysts. These are by and large proteins. There are also some RNAs that have catalytic activity. These are referred to as RNA enzymes or ribozymes. The enzymes bind temporarily to one or more of the reactants in a reaction and lower the amount of activation energy needed. In this way they speed up the reaction. The enzymes may speed up reactions by a factor of many millions.

If it were not for the enzymes then most of the chemical reactions in biological cells would occur too slowly. The products obtained from such reaction would also have been different. In this respect the enzymes are essential for sustenance of life. Again, a malfunctioning of a single enzyme can lead to a severe disease. Such malfunctioning may stem from mutation, overproduction, underproduction or deletion of the enzyme.

Changes in pH and temperature affect the activity of enzymes to a large extent. Every enzyme works at its optimum level at a certain temperature and pH. At temperature and pH levels above and below that point the activity of the enzyme decreases.

Other molecules can affect the activity of enzymes. There are certain naturally occurring or synthetically prepared molecules that decrease or even completely abolishing enzyme activity. These are called inhibitors. There are also activators, which increase activities of enzymes.

Apart from the use of enzymes for their biological role they are also commercially used for other purposes. There are many cleaners used in the household, which use enzymes to speed up chemical reactions. Breakings down of proteins or removing starch stains in clothes are facilitated by the use of enzymes. There are more than 5,000 known enzymes. The names of the enzymes characteristically include the suffix ‘ase’ added to the name of the substrate.

The enzymes are found in all tissues and fluids of the body. The intracellular enzymes catalyze the reactions of metabolic pathways, the plasma membrane enzymes regulates catalysis within cells in response to extra cellular signals while the enzymes of the circulatory system regulate the clotting of blood.